Is there a classic that you will read re-tellings of, but haven’t read the original? That’s me with Les Misérables and probably The Count of Monte Cristo. When I saw this tag line, “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” I was hooked! Keep reading my review of The Court of Miracles to find out what I loved about this re-imagination.
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.
(Disclaimer: I received this book from Netgalley. This has not impacted my review which is unbiased and honest.)
The Court of Miracles is a glittering world full of corruption, broken promises, and hidden violence. Described in stunning detail, the combination of gorgeous writing and a detailed world makes The Court of Miracles come alive. There are myths and stories, fragments of bedtime stories that keep hope alive. My love for The Court of Miracles comes down to this atmospheric world simmering with tension and barely contained order and the characters who never let themselves break.
The Court of Miracles heavily examines the concept of justice and corruption. In a world with laws, representatives, and kingdoms, who will uphold order? There are not only classes of people, those who are in the Court, but all framed under an umbrella of the monarchy. We all knows that no justice system is perfect. What course of action do we have if the world does not uphold the laws? Grant explores this theme in a variety of ways, not only in the promises we make to each other, but the responsibilities the Guilds have to its members, and the Kings and Queens to their people.
When the system of the world, the laws of the people, are broken, but upheld, who has the power to change them? We can let fear stop us from acting, from standing up for justice, from punishing wrongs.
In a world that both uses love as a weakness and an inescapable bond, Nina is driven by her loyalty. She is determined and passionate. Her character growth is fabulous to behold as she witnesses people playing by the rules and getting hurt, of those who stand by and do nothing, and who sacrifice others for their own gains. I am a sucker for heroines who are driven by family and Nina is clever and unafraid to betray people to protect them. Everything is a long term con for Nina who sees the world in terms of whether we will live to fight another day.
On the other hand, I also loved Ettie who may be naive at the beginning, but who is so fiery and fierce. She’s everything I think of when I think of a younger sister – so desperate to be taken seriously. I am so intrigued to see how her character develops in the sequel, especially considering her journey throughout The Court of Miracles.
At the heart of this glimmering shadowy setting is a story about sacrifice and love. What will we do for the people we love, who will we sacrifice and what acts will we commit? The world of The Court of Miracles is one full of blood and promise. Do we take responsibility for the monsters we unleash into the world? How can we keep the people who deny guilt and shun responsibility accountable? Nina is motivated by protecting the ones she love, but also by a sense of revenge and justice. The Court of Miracles is action packed, with atmospheric world building, and wonderful characters.