A fast paced fantasy re-telling of Les Mis, filled with wit, danger, and betrayal.
The Court of Miracles, by Kester Grant is a unique retelling of the popular Les Mis that incorporates fantasy and is filled with danger and betrayal. Now this is a mini review because this book is far too easy to spoil and I really don’t want to do that because I hate spoilers!! Also as a disclaimer, I love the Les Miserables musical and have yet to read the book (Please don’t hate me!) but I really loved seeing the characters that I know in this book it was so interesting and fun.
Kester Grant did an excellent job with this book, it has a lot going on but doesn’t feel like a heavy read at all and this is significantly due to the writing style. The style is simple and direct, with some beautiful character descriptions, it is incredibly easy to read and avoids ‘info-dumps’ very cleverly. The structure of the book allows us to learn a lot about the world, and specifically The Court, organically instead of all at once, which is incredibly helpful due to the Court being made up of multiple ‘Guilds’. A few scenes/settings lacked detail for me personally but as a whole this style worked very well in conjunction with the story.
The pacing is decent, but I felt it dragged slightly in the middle, however the last 1/4 of the book really picks up again and makes you want to continue reading. There are also a few time jumps in the story, which means a lot is covered – this is fantastic as we see some long term effects of prior events. However, a couple of the time jumps were slightly confusing as they took me a few sentences to pick up the jump.
I also really enjoyed the perspective, which is that of Nina – our main character. Nina is clever, headstrong and smart, she has clear goals and is a capable person. I quite liked her character and as the story goes on she develops well. The only thing that was a little annoying was the numerous ‘romances’ it got a little irritating after a while. Having lost her sister to a cruel Guild master, Nina joins the Thieves Guild for protection and to bide her own time so she can save her. I loved the sisterly bonds that are formed throughout this story and found it to be a fantastic element running throughout, familial bonds are crucial be it by blood or by loyalty within your guild. The idea of family that underpins this story is unique and effective – I love the familial loyalty that exists within the guilds but also those created between individual characters, Nina and Ettie are a prime example – though initially Nina has other plans, the two become as close as sisters and this bond becomes unbreakable.
My favourite thing about this story had to be the Guilds themselves. The Court Of Miracles is made up of several guilds run by their respective masters and each Guild has their own internal hierarchy. We get the most insight into the Guild of Thieves because that is the one Nina belongs to, but we also get information on several others most notably The Guild Of Flesh as this one is at the heart of the conflict Nina is involved in. There are a lot more guilds but I think it is better you learn about them yourself because the introductions are all fantastic!
The complexity of the Guilds is brilliant yet understandable and they are all unique and dynamic. The Guilds factor in to some of the more serious themes that are dealt with in this book including class conflict, oppression and abuse of the lower classes, and exploitation in the form of sex trafficking – while I will not go into too much detail due to spoilers this is a significant theme that is tackled throughout the story.
The characters are crucial to this story and are incredibly dynamic as well as flawed – they are realistic, emotional, raw and determined and each character stand out in their own right. I really enjoyed reading about each of the characters, their motivations and ambitions, each one is complex and captivating.
Overall, the story was very interesting and each take on the well known characters was unique and compelling. The world created was dynamic and strong, the Court and Guilds were intriguing and effective and the relationships built between characters aided the story well allowing for effective shocks and twists throughout the story. Finally, the themes are dealt with well and are prominent having significant effects on the characters and the plot.
I would recommend this to fantasy lovers who enjoy deep themes and complex and flawed characters!
*Thankyou To #Netgalley, HarperCollins UK/HarperVoyager for my eARC in exchange for an honest review! *