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.
I received an ARC of this book in exchange for an honest review
My Rating: 2.5 Stars
Alright, so I would like to begin this review by discussing the things that I liked about this book. For a debut novel, the prose was impressive. I really enjoyed the overall flow of Kester Grant’s writing, and the way that she was able to set a scene in my mind without over-describing things. The main character, Nina, was stunningly fierce and I loved her relationship with Ettie. The world the story was set in is wonderfully dark and I was beyond intrigued by the Court of Miracles and all of the different guilds. This novel has a badass heroine, and an incredibly gothic feel that I got sucked into immediately.
Unfortunately, there were a few things that kept this from being entirely enjoyable for me. I personally don’t need romance in all of my books. I enjoy a book with little or no romance, and have grown to only enjoy a love story that actually adds to the plot. Somehow, this book both lacked real romance, and had enough romantic interests that the plot sort of hinged on them. Let me explain: there are apparently three men in love with Nina – an assassin, a prince and a revolutionary. Without the feelings these three men had for Nina, with little to no prompting or reciprocity on her end, (with one exception) the entire plot would have fallen apart. Hell, even with these “romantic entanglements” I was surprised by the lengths some of these men went to for Nina. I just wish that the author had selected one romantic interest and developed Nina’s bonds with the other characters in a different manner.
The other struggle I had with this book was the lack of world building. We are introduced to this amazing world of thieves, murderers and criminals, but are given little real insight into their world. There are occasionally glimpses into the seedy underbelly of Paris, but given how enmeshed in it Nina is, I was honestly surprised by how little of it we saw. This book seemed to race along to the climax, never slowing down to focus on world building and I feel that the plot suffered a bit as a result. Speaking of rushing the plot, there were time hops that threw me completely off balance. At one point, we skipped ahead two years and it took me way too long to figure out how far in the future we were and what the hell had happened in the meantime. I could do the math, I’m sure, but at this point I’m not even sure how old our MC is because I’m pretty sure I just straight up missed the lengths of a few time jumps.
Additionally, as a result of these time hops, I felt that Nina’s character development suffered. She went from being a dependent and emotional young girl, to a ruthless thief in the blink of an eye and I felt deprived of her growth.
I think that I will give the second book in this series a chance when it comes out because I enjoyed Nina as a character and despite the difficulties I had, I did read the entirety of The Court of Miracles in one sitting. That being said, I don’t think that I’ll rush out to buy it on release day, sadly.