The Court of Miracles
Nina is the heroine in this young adult novel set in a reimagined Paris where the French Revolution has failed and the city inhabitants are living in a time of famine, suffering, and desperation. The royals and aristocracy rule the city by day, but at night, the streets are governed by a group of criminals who are organized into nine guilds and adhere to their own set of laws. The lords of these guilds and their wretched followers make up the Court of Miracles.
When Nina’s father sells her sister Azelma into the slavery of Lord Kaplan, Master of the Guild of Flesh, Nina, a talented thief, escapes to the safety of the Guild of Thieves but vows to save her sister. Nina’s quest for vengeance takes her through the sewers in the city’s underbelly, over the rooftops of houses, and straight into the royal palace itself. Along the way readers meet a variety of intriguing characters, including assassins who have spent their lives mastering the art of poison, ghosts who live in bone-lined caves below the city, and a prince who is as lonely as he is handsome.
This is a story about family, loyalty, and laws. It is a story about the incredible bond of sisterhood. And most of all, it is a story about having the courage to do the right thing no matter the cost. There are a few times the narration skips large amounts of time, which left me feeling that I was missing some pieces of the tale but not enough to disrupt my interest. And although the story is a loose retelling of Les Misérables, it doesn’t lack originality. It delivers plenty of adventure, action, and even the buds of romance. Kester Grant has delivered an enchanting debut novel; I look forward to seeing what comes next.