I have been looking forward to this book for a while, ever since I spotted its cover doing the rounds on twitter, here are my thoughts on The Court of Miracles.
Les Misérables meets Six of Crows in this page-turning adventure as a young thief finds herself going head to head with leaders of Paris’s criminal underground in the wake of the French Revolution.
In the violent urban jungle of an alternate 1828 Paris, the French Revolution has failed and the city is divided between merciless royalty and nine underworld criminal guilds, known as the Court of Miracles. Eponine (Nina) Thénardier is a talented cat burglar and member of the Thieves Guild. Nina’s life is midnight robberies, avoiding her father’s fists, and watching over her naïve adopted sister, Cosette (Ettie). When Ettie attracts the eye of the Tiger–the ruthless lord of the Guild of Flesh–Nina is caught in a desperate race to keep the younger girl safe. Her vow takes her from the city’s dark underbelly to the glittering court of Louis XVII. And it also forces Nina to make a terrible choice–protect Ettie and set off a brutal war between the guilds, or forever lose her sister to the Tiger.
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This was the type of book I really needed after finding myself in somewhat of a reading slump again, something that I could completely lose myself in, I had been excited about this book for a while and I was thankfully not disappointed.
I absolutely love it when an author can take an existing story and then create something entirely unique from it and I think that Kester Grant has done a fantastic job of borrowing from Les Mis whilst giving a fresh and exciting new story. I haven’t actually read Les Mis before, I’ve only seen the film and that was quite some time ago, and whilst knowing its inspiration added to the atmosphere of the setting and helped with aspects of the world building I enjoyed that it wasn’t strictly a retelling.
There is a lot that happens in this book and whilst that did keep me gripped to the story, it did mean that I maybe wasn’t as immersed with the characters motivation the way I would have liked to have been. I think in the beginning there maybe could have been a little more on the development between Nina and Ettie to really solidify Nina’s actions and give them a slightly higher stake from the outset, I feel I would have been more engaged with them from that start had that happened. I did get there eventually, especially toward the end where the suspense starts to build as Nina’s plans are put into motion but I can’t help but think I could have been even more captivated by this story.
The court and its different factions and array of characters were fascinating, I love the almost family like quality set against the tension of knowing that there is limited trust between all its members and that people can be deceived at any time. It was also interesting to see how that compared to St Juste and his student revolutionaries and the royalty and nobility, it made it more compelling that Nina had ties to a mix of people and that I was never sure how that was going to affect her end goal.
I enjoyed the fact that Nina was cunning and at times an underestimated asset, that she knows how to play the game and forges connections from unlikely places always with a mind to her own cause. I am of course also drawn to Montparnasse and his mix of mysteriousness and ruthlessness, I am looking forward to finding out more about him in the next book.
The Court of Miracles is a brilliant story with immersive writing and characters that I am eager to know more about and I am fascinated to see where the author leads off from this book for the next as there are a lot of exciting avenues the story could take.
If you live in the US and this sounds like your kind of book then you will want to enter the giveaway to win…
Kester Grant is a British-Mauritian writer of color. She was born in London, grew up between the UK, Democratic Republic of Congo, and the tropical island paradise of Mauritius. As a wanton nomad she and her husband are unsure which country they currently reside in but they can generally be found surrounded by their fiendish pack of cats and dogs.