Today I am reviewing the wonderful The Court of Miracles by Kester Grant. Many thanks to Kester, and to HarperCollins for my copy of the book, which I received via NetGalley.
A diverse fantasy reimagining of Les Misérables and The Jungle Book.
In the dark days following a failed French Revolution, in the violent jungle of an alternate 1828 Paris, young cat-burglar Eponine (Nina) Thenardier goes head to head with merciless royalty, and the lords of the city’s criminal underworld to save the life of her adopted sister Cosette (Ettie).
Her vow will take her from the city’s dark underbelly, through a dawning revolution, to the very heart of the glittering court of Louis XVII, where she must make an impossible choice between guild, blood, betrayal and war.
When I saw that this book was being compared to Six of Crows, Caraval and Les Miserables, I knew that I had to read it. That said, I wasn’t expecting a reimagining of Les Miserables, and was delighted to find that this is, essentially, what The Court of Miracles is. Although the book remains on my shelf judging me for my failure to read it I have seen the musical of Les Miserables so many times that it was easy for me to picture Nina Thenardier and her Paris. I have always loved Eponine, much preferring her to pampered Cosette (once they were older) and so this book appealed to me even more. I adored reading about characters that were at once familiar and strange when seen through fresh eyes, and I particularly loved Nina’s first meeting with drunk Grantaire and Enjrolas St Juste.
The Guilds put me in mind partly of the gangs of Ketterdam and partly of the guilds of Ankh-Morpork, and it was easy to see where the comparison to Leigh Bardugo’s Six of Crows duology had come from. If you are a fan of the Grishaverse, then I am sure you will love The Court of Miracles.
There is a sense of magic in the air throughout the book, without there actually being any in evidence. At the same time, Kester Grant creates an almost palpable feeling of threat or danger constantly hiding in the shadows or just around the corner. Nina’s Paris is a Paris hidden from view from so many, an invisible underclass of society, and Kester Grant brings this to life beautifully.
Seeing so many familiar faces reimagined and meeting new ones (to me at least) made me determined to finally read the original Les Miserables and get to know Victor Hugo’s characters properly.
Occasionally, I will read a book on my Kindle that is so wonderful that I have to treat myself to the hard copy too, and with it’s stunning cover, The Court of Miracles was just too lovely to resist and now has pride of place on the shelves I reserve for particularly special books.