Review: The Court of Miracles by Kester Grant

Review: The Court of Miracles by Kester GrantThe Court of Miracles on June 2, 2020
Genres: Fantasy, Young Adult
Pages: 464
Format: Hardcover
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Goodreads
three-half-stars

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.

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 am ashamed to say that I did it again: I judged a book by its cover. I may as well lean into it now; I am apparently a cover-judger. But, I mean, just look at the cover of this book. Isn’t it gorgeous? The cover creates so much intrigue. The opposing images which convey that things are not quite as they seem. The glittering gold. Liberty, Equality, Treachery – an intriguing play on France’s national motto. I mean I was already excited about this book from the moment I heard about it, but the cover just made me want it that much more.

I don’t want to say that I was disappointed in this book, because that is not the right word. Perhaps the most accurate thing to say is that I expected so much more from this book. It is not a bad book by any means, it is just not a great one.

Rating Breakdown
Characters
three-stars
Atmosphere
four-stars
Writing
four-half-stars
Plot
four-stars
Intrigue
three-half-stars
Logic/Relationships
three-stars
Enjoyability
four-stars
Overall: three-half-stars

I was drawn to read this book for a number of reasons. First, it is described as “Les Misérables meets Six of Crows,” which was enough to capture my attention. I love Les Misérables. I have not yet read Six of Crows (I know, I know), but I have heard so many wonderful things about it. Second, this book takes place during Revolutionary France, which is a fascinating time period. And it set in Paris, which is my favourite city. Third, the court system in this book sounded absolutely fascinating. There were enough reasons that I immediately put this book at the top of my TBR pile, and used a precious day off work to read it.

Now I can’t speak for the Six of Crows comparison because I haven’t read it, but The Court of Miracles is essentially Les Misérables fan fiction. The majority of the characters are drawn directly from Les Mis, names unchanged. The personalities have not been altered much either. It almost feels like you would need to read or see Les Mis first in order to understand the motivations behind some of the characters. It honestly just feels a bit cheeky.

The storyline in The Court of Miracles is so fast-paced that it was actually a bit overwhelming. I am all for fast-paced stories, but this was a bit much. I wish that the author had slowed down a bit to explain what was happening behind the scenes a bit more. For instance, the court system, which was one of the things that drew me to this book, was never really explained in depth. We get to see some of the courts, but not all of them. We get to see how the courts interact in times of tension to an extent, but the main character’s story very much remained the focus. I feel that a lot more could have been done with this. There were some bizarre time jumps, which could have been a perfect opportunity to slow down and explain things a bit more.

You may be wondering what I liked about this book, since most of my thoughts thus far have perhaps been a bit negative. First of all, I loved the main character Nina (Eponine). She is a bad ass woman who knows what she wants, and won’t let anything get in her way. We need more strong and determined women in books, especially books that are aimed at teenage readers. I am all for this. However, one aspect that I did not love was that a lot of what Nina accomplished seemed to come a bit too easy to her. Her tasks were not simple by any means, but in the face of a daunting task she immediately sprung into action. It was not entirely clear where her ideas came from. One moment she would think a task was impossible, and the next she suddenly had the perfect idea. I was honestly left a bit baffled.

Heres, the thing: The Court of Miracles is not a bad book by any means. It is just not a great one either. The potential was there though, and I feel that it could have been great with a bit of tweaking. Despite my criticisms, I am eager to see what happens in the next book of the trilogy, which says something. Often the first book in a series is not the greatest, so hopefully the next book be a bit stronger. If you enjoy fantasy, then I wouldn’t avoid this book. I just perhaps wouldn’t immediately put it at the top of your TBR pile either.

Thank you for taking the time to read my review. If you wouldn’t mind signing this petition, I would appreciate it.

xx Claudia

three-half-stars
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