Thank you NetGalley and Knopf Books for Young Readers for this ARC. All thoughts and opinions are mine.
Synopsis: 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. (Amazon)
Publication Date: June 2, 2020
Genre: Fantasy / YA
Rating: 5 stars
***BEWARE POSSIBLE SPOILERS***
Yes, this, right here! This book is what I crave in fiction: a story full of characters that are neck-deep in troubles, that are wonderfully flawed, that are sometimes absolutely terrible in their actions yet own them, characters that bring down others so that they can get to their ultimate goal and are unapologetic about it.
What an incredible treasure it was to read The Court of Miracles, and what an intriguing world Kester Grant has brought to life in the mirrored like of Les Misérables.
I don't have too many points to nitpick about this novel. Yes, sometimes scenes segue into others a little abruptly, and I do want more background on a handful of characters—Montparnasse being highest on my list of these; I believe I love him. But these are small in the grand scheme of things.
Nina's character has joined the ranks of my favorites. The progression of who she turns into is fascinating, as is the determination that she has to go through with her ultimate goal. She is not shy to use those around her so that she can accomplish what she needs, but there's that grain of guilt in her, regardless, that keeps her human and growing. And at her side, Ettie is a darling. She has such a sweet heart despite the dreariness in which she has grown, despite the fact that she was essentially abandoned and left in the hands of someone who would've sold her for a profit. The two are a driving force in the novel.
The introduction of the Guilds of the Miracle Court is not something that hasn't been done before, but the way that they work is still imaginative enough that they become a great fixture to the plot--
Now these are the of
the Miracle Court,...
the Wretched that keep
them may prosper,
but the Wretched that
break them must die.
They're central as the story moves forward, and their laws and symbolism are one of the biggest causes behind Nina's actions. I can't wait to know the other Guilds in more detail down the line, but those of the Assassins and Beggars hold a dear place in my heart already.
It was a treat to see some favorites of the classic this tale takes inspiration from in Jean Valjean, Thénardier and Enjolras, despite the displeasing nature of at least one of those (looking at you, Thénardier). And I was almost sorry to see the fate that befalls the Tiger, considering how fantastic the caliber of “wicked” an antagonist such as he withholds.
The Court of Miracles is full to bursting with tragedy, it never fails in its dark and dire undertones, and there is no apology to the reality of how down-trodden the lives are of the souls in this story. But despite it all, they still find something to fight for and to live for, and that's what makes it so precious: that hope.
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