The Court of Miracles (A Court of Miracles #1) by Kester Grant
Published June 4th 2020 by Harper Voyager
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.
I didn’t expect to write this review, but I was honestly so surprised by The Court of Miracles that I felt like I needed to talk about in a full-length review so here we are.
I first saw The Court of Miracles a few months back around the time it was being released. I was instantly sucked in by the gorgeous cover—in fact I fell for it a couple of times and probably read through the synopsis on Goodreads like five separate times. After that it kind of got shelved away as one of those books I’d probably not read but would keep on my Goodreads TBR anyway.
It popped up on my library’s eBook service, and I was like ‘what the hell, let’s do it’. I picked it up on a lazy Sunday afternoon when I definitely should’ve been writing an essay and was instantly sucked in.
I’ve been having a bit of a resurgence of interest in this sort of French Revolution and the years after period lately. I studied it in high school and then just didn’t really read anything about it for eight years and now suddenly I’m interested again. I don’t know what that’s about, but I’m loving it. Of course, this is an alternate history slash fantasy take on the period. And honestly, can we please have more of that in 2021? I’d be more than happy to see more fantasy worlds with more historical elements.
Along with the time period, this also borrows characters from Les Misérables. Some that are repurposed and given very different stories, others that aren’t. I’ve never read the original Les Mis, but I do love the musical. So I admit I was a little excited to see Enjolras show up as one of the key characters. And yes, that is totally due to the huge crush I had on Aaron Tveit after the movie was released. (If you didn’t have a crush on Aaron Tveit in this movie then we can’t be friends. Sorry, those are the rules!) But aside from that, the characters were mostly interesting to me. This is only the first book in this series, so there were a couple that I think I’ll really love once they get a little more time to develop in future books.
There were a couple of things that kind of turned me off the book a little. Firstly, I didn’t love the writing style. It’s easy to read, fast paced and enjoyable but it’s not knock your socks off gorgeous. On one hand, that makes me sad but on the other, this story is really more held together by the plot and characters than anything. Secondly, Nina has her Mary Sue moments. For one, she’s very good at what she does and doesn’t really mess anything up, despite still being quite young. Like girl, you’re a teenager, make some stupid mistakes! The big one though is she has no less than three love interests who all seem to really like her almost immediately after meeting her. Maybe it’s just me but doesn’t that sound tiring to you? But also, I could never choose between the three of them because I love them all. Honestly, Kester Grant if you don’t pull a Cassandra Clare and make her date all of them, I’ll be disappointed.
So there it is, The Court of Miracles. Maybe my biggest surprise of the year?