The Court of Miracles
By Kester Grant
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. (Courtesy of goodreads.com)
Adult Point of View
I received an ARC from NetGalley for my honest opinion.
The world of The Court of Miracles sucked me in. I loved the historical/alternate historical details and references to Les Mis and the allegorical stories and quotes at the beginning of each section. There is a beautiful lyrical quality to this novel in addition to gritty realism. Even without an ounce of magic, I was spellbound.
Nina – the black cat – lives in a complex world but very understandable. The lines are drawn between the Wretched and Those Who Walk in the Day. Further boundaries are set within the Court of Miracles with each Wretched beholden to their trade master. For example, the Guild of Thieves or the Guild of Assassins.
Nina’s motivation is well-grounded for every one of her actions, and she never does anything out of character. Key lines float back into the story, reminding us of what she’s trying to accomplish and why. The people she loves are never forgotten. I also loved how this is a story of loyalty, family, and sisters. It doesn’t hinge on romance. That doesn’t mean there aren’t men interested in the little cat. She is fascinating, so no one can blame them for being intrigued. Her focus on her goals is the driving force in the plotting.
Ettie was the epitome of innocence. Evil conspired to ruin her at every turn, not willing to allow her to remain sweet and kind. She looked for love in the worst of circumstances and was completely loyal to Nina. Ettie retains a sense of innocence even when her world changes dramatically.
The scope of this story is epic, drawing the reader into Nina’s world completely. This is one of the best novels I’ve read in recent years. Not that these two books are exactly similar, but I’m reminded of the breadth and stunning world-building in Morgenstern’s first novel, The Night Circus, because of the literary quality. I was also surprised by one of the twists, which doesn’t happen very often.
The Court of Miracles is compelling, utilizing classic themes of revenge and justice. This book is written for people who love literature.
I definitely recommend this book! It’s on my list of favorites.
5 out of 5 stars
If you loved The Court of Miracles, try The Night Circus by Erin Morganstern, Incarceron by Catherine Fisher, and The Sisters of the Winter Wood by Rena Rossner.