REVIEW: The Court of Miracles
Hi everyone! Today I’m bringing you my ARC review for The Court of Miracles. I received an ARC through Netgalley in exchange for an honest review.
The Court of Miracles
by Kester Grant
Series: A Court of Miracles #1
Release date: June 2nd 2020
Genre: Young Adult, Fantasy, Historical Fiction, Retelling
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.
Content Warnings: slavery, revolution, discrimination, prostitution, human trafficking, drugged use, poisoning, whipping, and torture
Going into this book I didn’t really know much about Les Misérables other than it’s incredibly long and a lot of people die, plus a few names. That made me a little nervous going into this, but I after reading this I don’t think it’s required to have read (or watched) Les Mis. However, it definitely made me want to watch the movie which did help me understand what was different and what was the same between this retelling and the original.
I’m not normally the kind of reviewer to point out writing styles mainly because I truly don’t notice most of the time, but in this case I certainly noticed how BEAUTIFULLY written this is! I was hooked immediately and couldn’t stop reading!
I know that the synopsis says this is Les Mis meets Six of Crows, and while this is truly a retelling of Les Mis I don’t totally agree with the Six of Crows part. Normally when you think of Six of Crows, you think found family with deep connections and a heist. There is certainly a found family aspect in The Court of Miracles, but those relationships felt very surface level. There was also sort of the opposite of a heist, because Nina is trying to keep Ettie away from someone who wants to steal her.
I do really wish that there was more development of the characters other than Ettie and Nina, because you don’t really get a sense of who they really are and they all seem like brilliant characters! I think part of the reason I felt like there was no development between the characters was because of the time jumps, which were hard enough to read because they could be 3+ years but it doesn’t really let you know how far ahead you are moving. There was clearly time where these characters were together, but it didn’t always translate in the scenes we saw.
There are three love interests (yes, three) but I hesitate to really call them love interests. Nina doesn’t seem to be interested in any of them for most of the book, it’s more acknowledging that she finds them attractive and it’s never acted upon. There was one particular love interest that I found wanting her to be with, despite not really knowing much about him as a character on his own.
Despite these unclear time jumps, the pacing was fast and the story was interesting and I was completely engaged every time I picked this book up. I didn’t even notice until I finished that despite this being listed as a fantasy book, there was no magic at all! That just shows you how fascinating this setting and plot really is. I also found myself wanting to know more about the different guilds and how they operate and I was so relieved when I found that there would be a sequel because I just want more of this world and to dive deeper into who the characters are!
I definitely see myself picking up the next book, and I think that if the few cons I had are worked on in the next book (I think this was a debut novel, but I’m not 100% sure) this could definitely be added to my favorites list.