I received this book for free from the Publisher in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.The Court of Miracles by Kester Grant
Published by Harper Voyager on June 4, 2020
Genres: Historical Fiction, Fantasy, Young Adult, Retellings, Cultural - France
Format: ARC, eBook
Source: NetGalley, Publisher
Buy on Amazon
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.
Thanks to Netgalley and Harper Voyager for an ARC of The Court Of Miracles.
A retelling you say? A mash-up between The Jungle Book and Les Misérables? That was an instant moment of hell yes, I am reading that! The Court Of Miracles is the first book in what is anticipated to be a three-book series and boy if the other two can deliver on what Book 1 has done then Kester Grant is on to a winner. This Young Adult Fantasy brought everything to the table and more. Espionage. Political intrigue. Double crossing. The story flew through me much like an elegant swan preparing for flight. It was smooth and with purpose.
We are instantly thrown into the action with our main protagonist being pulled away from her sister. Nina’s sister is more than that… a best friend, a mother and a best friend. There’s confusion and panic but Nina is put into the care of a trusted friend. Just what is happening to her sister? Instantly these questions scramble for supremacy within your brain. A story that makes you itch for answers, makes you yearn for the smallest nugget of information, something that will allow you to connect the dots.
I don’t have that many negative points to state about The Court Of Miracles, but I did feel at points that scenes didn’t flow as elegantly as perhaps they should have. I would have enjoyed more descriptive sections of text of the world that Kester Grant had built. Sometimes it had a feeling of being a little on the abrupt side.
Something that this story did exceedingly well is character development. Nina is the kind of strong, independent female that just lights my fire. She kicks ass and takes names and doesn’t live by the standards that are expected from her from others. She progresses from a lost girl to the black cat of the Guild Of Thieves. She makes a mistake, but she isn’t shy at admitting it and trying to make amends for it, no matter the personal cost. She carries her guilt upon her like a lead weight and it is this that makes her utterly human. She’s human and she has her faults, but she is loyal to a fault. Ettie calls to her maternal side – the need to protect and nurture her is never far from her mind. She refuses to allow the powerful and corrupt men of the court to attempt to own her. Ettie and Nina – you can’t have one without the other.
The biggest driving force In The Court Of Miracles is of course The Court. The political intrigue and the French history gives us a multi-layered background the motivations and actions of the lords and ladies of the court. The individual guilds from Assassins to letters had the reader hungering for more from each of them. I’d probably would have liked to see more of drag out from the scenario with one bad guy, would have enjoyed a cliff-hanger in regard to this. Everyone enjoys a truly devious bad guy!
ABOUT KESTER GRANT
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.