My rating: 3 out of 5 stars
Genre: YA Fantasy Retelling
Publisher: Knopf Children’s
Published: June 2nd, 2020
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. – synopsis from Goodreads
I was so excited when I first learned about The Court of Miracles by Kester Grant, I know I say this a lot but it’s true. I love Les Misérables and couldn’t wait to get my hands on this book and see the story of my favourite character Éponine.
I have to say that this was a weird one for me. Don’t get me wrong I enjoyed The Court of Miracles but it took me a little while to understand where the story was going. I am not sure if it was my mood though. I think part of it was that the backstory and the history of the guilds were very dense. There is a lot of information and I felt it took quite some time to set up. It pulled me a bit away from the story. I do enjoy it when there is a lot of information that makes the worldbuilding very rich but felt that in this case, it was a bit too much description and not enough action in some spots.
That being said The Court of Miracles was a very creative play on the Les Mis story. I wouldn’t call it a retelling per sei but more a reimagining of it. It pulled a lot of elements from the classic like names and some events while adding a lot of layers to it too. And as mentioned it centers around my favourite character Éponine or in this case Nina. She was such a strong and intelligent character. Fully developed and very relatable. Nina can seem to be a lamb in a pack of wolves but don’t underestimate her. She always stays one step ahead of everyone.
It is not the first time that we see gangs or in this case guilds in YA fantasy. Think of books like Six of Crows, Ace of Shades and Gilded Wolves. I do feel that though it is not the most uncommon thing in YA, the way it was portrayed here was original and very true to Les Misérables. For me the different guilds felt as though they could’ve been in Victor Hugo’s masterpiece and felt fitting to 1828 Paris.
I must say that Kester Grant is such a skilled writer. I really loved the pictures she painted even if at times I could’ve done with a little less description. Though I will say that I really like her incorporation of the city of Paris that felt close to being a character rather than just where it takes place.
If you enjoy books like Ace of Shade or Six of Crows or if you just like kickass lady bosses chances are you will enjoy The Court of Miracles. I can’t wait to see where this story goes next.
Thank you to Knopf Children’s, Netgalley and Fantastic Flying Book Club for providing an eArc in exchange for an honest review.
Some of these are a bit cliché as they are from Les Mis but all through my read of this book I kept singing Do You Hear the People Sing.
You can listen to the playlist HERE
Do you Hear the People Sing from Les Misérables
Master of the House from Les Misérables
One Day More from Les Misérables
Gnossienne: No. 1 from Erik Satie
Danse Macabre in G Minor, Op.40 from Camille Saint-Saëns
Piano Concerto No. 2 in C Minor, Op.18: 1. Moderato from Sergei Rachmaninoff
Les Sans-Papier from Notre-Dame de Paris
La Cour des Miracles from Notre-Dame de Paris
Les Portes de Paris from Notre-Dame de Paris
The Bells of Notre Dame from The Hunchback of Notre-Dame
God Help the Outcasts from The Hunchback of Notre-Dame
“It is a time of famine, a time of hungering want that threatens to eat you from the inside out, leaving you good only to wait for the coming of death. And Death the Endless always comes.”
“To be a girl in this city is to be weak. It is to call evil things down upon you. And the City is not kind to weak things. She sends Death the Endless to winnow the frail from the strong. You know this.”
“Be useful, be smart, and stay one step ahead of everyone. Be brave even when you’re afraid. Remember that everyone is afraid.”
“Sometimes we must pay a terrible price to protect the things we love.”
“After all, I am a mere whisper of a girl, more shadow than flesh.”
“Justice is a fire that rages through your bones. The Law hangs upon your heart like a burden”
About the author
You can follow Kester through the links below:
Prize: Win a copy of THE COURT OF MIRACLES by Kester Grant (US Only
Starts: June 2nd, 2020
Ends: June 16th, 2020