I finished this book nearly a month ago (an e-ARC that I got from Netgalley, so thank you to Harper Voyager!) but have been so ill lately that I struggled to finish writing this review (or any review… in case you’ve noticed my short, involuntary hiatus). But I finally got round to finishing the review today, after being gifted a gorgeous physical copy for my birthday yesterday, and I’m so excited to share my thoughts on this book.
The Court of Miracles is a Les Misérables retelling, kind-of, that draws the Revolution into a whole new, underground world of criminals and thieves.
It cleverly throws Eponine (now Nina) and Cosette (Ettie) into a whole new context, giving them their own secret lives and fascinating plots that make you forget that you ever thought you knew characters with these names before (a feat, when you’re in love with Les Mis). We follow them on a gripping and terrifying journey as Nina navigates the criminal underworld in search of ways to save her sister from the evil Guild Lord that has snatched her.
You do not have to have watched Les Misérables to appreciate this book, but I found the parallels to be well-done and incredibly entertaining. The two plots diverge greatly and some of the characters are barely recognizable (Javert’s new character in this book is art), so I truly think any fantasy or historical fiction lover would appreciate this book. It is a fast-paced story that paints a brutal picture of Revolutionary France, with a strong-willed, incredibly powerful protagonist to tell it, and an artfully invented underworld that sucks you in completely.
On the topic of characters, every single one was completely fascinating. Nina is strong from the beginning, but the confidence, capability and cunning that she develops throughout make her one of the toughest protagonists I’ve read for a while. Ettie was sweet and instantly likeable, developing alongside Nina in a way that it’s implied the world forces them to be. And the boys in this book all had their own charms: St Juste, with his indignation and dedication, was my particular favourite, but Montparnasse with his obvious soft spot for Nina despite his villainous role in the Court, and the Dauphin, who only became more fascinating with every meeting, were both equally interesting to read as well. I could go on about all of the Guild Lords, and villains, and even Those-Who-Walk-By-Day, but I would strongly encourage you to discover them yourselves.
The story is incredibly fast-paced, and I found it really impressive that Nina could do so many insanely dangerous things in this book, but have them all seem so believable and doable for her character. I loved slowly developing an understanding of the workings of the Court and absolutely need more about this world and these characters as soon as possible.
In case it’s not clear, I adored this book. Five stars is not enough for the masterful writing and completely engrossing world that Kester Grant has created, and I would encourage anyone looking for some escapism to get absorbed in this book. I cannot wait to see what Kester Grant writes next, and will waiting desperately for next year, and book two.