Another Challenge 2020 read here and this time it’s the new release of 2020!
Now you’ll all remember my last review was Les Misérables right? Well this is a different take on it! Welcome to The Court of Miracles.
“Now these are the laws of the Miracle Court,
As old and as true as the sky;
The Wretched that keep them may prosper,
But the Wretched that break them must die.”
Enter an alternate Paris from the one we find in Les Misérables. The year is 1828, a violent and turbulent time.
“How Fear Came”1823
The French Revolution has failed, leaving a city divided.
“When a leader of the Pack has missed his kill, he is called the Dead Wolf as long as he lives, which is not long.”1829
The Royals, merciless and fearful of the poor, fearful of another uprising. The poor, now ‘criminals’, have formed nine underworld guilds, the Court of Miracles:
- The Guild of Chance – Where Fortune Favours the Rogue
- The Guild of Assassins – Where Sleep is Eternal
- The Guild of Beggars – The Legion of Ghosts
- The Guild of Mergenaries – Does The Mad Dog Bite?
- The Guild of Smugglers – Mother Seine, Brother Rat.
- The Guild of Letters – In Ink Is Truth
- The Guild of Thieves – Take What You Will
- The Guild of Flesh – Flesh in Chains
- The Guild of Dreamers – Dreamers of the Dream
Eponine Thénardiers is known as Nina. She is a talented cat burglar and is the main character is this tale. She is a member of the Thieves Guild. Her life revolves around midnight burglaries, avoiding the fists belonging to her father and watching over her fathers ward and adopted sister, Cosette (Ettie) who is naïve as they come.
“I am the Black Cat; this is my hunting,
I am the Black Cat; this is my hunting.”
But this isn’t the beginning of her tale. No Eponine has lost more than most. Her father sold her older sister to the Guild of Flesh, to their feared leader known as the Tiger. Now she must keep her promise, to do everything she can to get her sister back.
“I make this oath in iron; and in bone.
I will destroy him, and then they will all be free.”
But getting one sister back, may come at a price. When Ettie attracts the attention of the Tiger, Nina gets entangled in a race to keep her sister away from the Tigers grasp whilst trying to locate the Tigers lair and rescue her sister from his clutches.
“Sometimes we must pay a terrible price to protect the things we love.”
Now if you haven’t read/watched Les Misérables but are intending too then I would strongly advise you to stop reading now because…
“Blind are the distracted.”
There are definitely similarities between this alternate retelling and the original. We meet some of the same characters but in a different light. Eponine is still a thief but is kinder to Cosette, Cosette begins naïve like in Les Mis but then grows into her character – I definitely prefer this version, we get to see more of Azelma – in Les Mis we are briefly told of her but otherwise no further mention, the Thénardiers are still dodgy innkeepers. Valjean is still a criminal hunted by Javert, who is a red haired woman with a fiery temper, Gavroche plays a central role and Enjolras is still a revolutionary with a sad tale to tell – he is the last surviving member of his family; the rest were hunted down and hung.
Additional twists in characters include: Eponine freeing Valjean and Eponine sending Cosette to live with Valjean where it is safe with the nuns and gardeners, similar to when Valjean takes Cosette to a convent in Petit-Picpus.
If you look very closely, you can see where Kester Grant has used Les Mis information in her story. My favourite of these is where she describes Javert going after Valjean:
“She springs into action, leaping into the crowd after him like a suicide into the Seine.”
For this how how Javert died in Les Mis…committing suicide by jumping into the Seine.
This book is beautiful from cover to cover and every page in between. I genuinely couldn’t put this book down and as this is part of a trilogy, I can’t wait to see what the next instalments have in store for us. but we’ll have to wait until 2022 for that.
We get taken on a journey of desperation and determination, love and heartbreak, torture and reward and going on around it all, is the war between the royals and the poor.
You can find this book on Amazon
I am in the progress of compiling opinions on who you think the hero of Les Mis is and who you think the villain is? If you want to take part (please say yes) then comment below your opinions! Thank you in advance!
Until next time,