THE COURT OF MIRACLES
SERIES: The Court of Miracles #1
REPRESENTATION: French-Algerian MC, Black side characters
GENRES/ SUBJECTS: YA Fantasy Retelling
I’m not sure how I really expected a book pitched as combining Les Miserables and The Jungle Book to work, but incredibly — somehow — Kester Grant has really made it work.
The two plots and both casts of characters blend together perfectly to create a new world that is rich and vibrant. I loved the different factions of the Court and that the animal names were worked into peoples titles so smoothly. I never doubt who Nina, Ettie etc was in relation to the original books, but it never overwhelmed or distracted from this new story either.
The plot was quick and exciting, but for me the characters were the real stars.
The Court of Miracles is listed as book one of a trilogy and in all honesty, I don’t really see how that’s going to work. I don’t think it needs it. Everything wraps up well, and I’d be happy to consider this as a (sadly uncommon) standalone heist. I didn’t expect the story to work either though so I’ll be happy to be corrected when the sequels come out. If you don’t usually read series, don’t let that put you off this one.
When I mentioned finishing this one on Twitter, I said that I really struggled with rating it due to something it did/didn’t do with rep. I’ve tried my best to give a star rating that reflects the other aspects of the story, but I couldn’t in good conscience not mention this.
It might be spoilery.
The Court of Miracles features many characters from Les Miserables, albeit some with slightly different names. All of the characters retain their original gender however, except one. Javert is now a woman. And the reason soon becomes clear: her motivation for hunting Valjean down is now also influenced by some past romantic betrayal or rejection. And I understand the motivation change! Javert’s type of obsession with Valjean (like obsession in Moby Dick or The Count of Monte Christo) is common in classics but one that doesn’t necessarily work for a modern reader. However… Leaving Javert as a man would have created some LGBTQ rep in two classics (Les Mis and Jungle Book) which otherwise lack it entirely. And it would be closer to the original, so you can’t complain about shoe-horning in unnecessary queer characters. Since Javert is the ONLY gender change, and since The Court of Miracles has no other LGBTQ characters (from the classics or new creations) it really stood out and felt incredibly awkward, and I can see this feeling like hurtful erasure to some people in the community.
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.
A copy of this was provided free of charge from the publisher in return for an honest review.