1828 and the citizens of Paris still mourn in the wake of their failed revolution. Among them, in the dark alleys and crumbling cathedrals of the city, the most wretched have gathered into guilds of thieves, assassins – and worse. Together they are known as The Court of Miracles.
Eponine has lost more than most. When her father, Thénardier, sells her sister to the Guild of Flesh she makes a promise to do anything she can to get her sister back, even if that means joining the Court of Miracles, the very people keeping her sister a slave. Eponine becomes perhaps the greatest thief the Court has ever known, finding a place among them and gaining another sister, Cosette. But she has never forgotten the promise she made, and if she’s to have any hope of saving one sister, she will have to betray the other.
Set in the wake of the French Revolution this is the first book I’ve read inspired by this time period and I really enjoyed it. It’s had many mixed reviews but I’m so glad I wasn’t influenced by any of these reviews before making up my own mind. I thought the book was well written and compelling and a refreshing change from my usual genre. Whilst there’s no getting away from some of the comparisons to Les Misérables, the reader needs to bear in mind this is a ‘reimagining’ of said story and I thought it was brilliantly executed.
The storyline follows Eponine (Nina), also referred to as the Black Cat of the Guild of Thieves, who finds herself going head to head with the leaders of Paris’ criminal underworld in order to save her sisters.
The story is fast-paced and action-packed and I couldn’t stop turning the pages as I followed Nina on her thrilling adventures. You cannot at any point guess where the plot is going and there are some clever little twists in the story.
The author has done an amazing job of world building and, although quite complex, I never felt at all overwhelmed by it. I absolutely adored this world, the whole set up of The Miracle Court with its nine different guilds, the vast constellation of characters, the Parisian setting and the tense atmosphere created. The author skilfully sets the scene with detailed and descriptive writing, from the sumptuous Palace of the Tuileries, to the dark and grim underworld. The reader is completely drawn in and instantly feels a part of the story.
The characters are beautifully and richly described, their personalities and traits really shine and I loved them all. The author has a way of making you adore even the grimmest and unpleasant of characters. Nina is an amazing lead character, she is fearless, loyal and will fight to the death, she will do anything to help her sisters. I loved her sweet bond with Cosette (Ettie) and this introduced some tender and humorous moments into the story.
Usually, I like to see the romance in the forefront of a novel, but there are so many other things going on in the storyline that I didn’t even miss it. There are little hints of romance sprinkled throughout the book, however very much in the background and the author keeps us guessing as to which of the three potential love interests Nina will fall for. Nina, on the other hand, is far too intent on fighting for survival to be thinking about romantic interludes, although I do hope the love interest is explored in more detail in future novels.
The book is long, but it didn’t feel it, with perfect pacing and the action and tension maintained throughout, it positively whizzed by. This is a completely absorbing story and I was rooting for all of the characters throughout, but what I also loved was the setting, it is a really beautifully created and I have never read anything quite like it.
Thank you to Harper Voyager, via Netgalley, for a copy of this book to review in exchange for an honest opinion.
✿ 𝓚𝓪𝓻𝓮𝓷 ✿