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June 3, 2020

The Court of Miracles by Kester Grant ~ a Review

by MK French

In a world where the French Revolution failed, 1828 Paris is ruled by the royalty and the Court of Miracles, heads of nine underworld guilds. Nina is part of the Thieves Guild, and is adept at stealing and avoiding her father. She has to protect her adopted younger sister Ettie, especially after Ettie attracts the attention of the Tiger, the leader of the Flesh Guild. Saving Ettie might set off a war between all of the guilds, but the alternative is to lose her to the Tiger.
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The Court of Miracles by Kester Grant
June 2020; Knopf Books; 978-1524772857
audio, ebook, print (416 pages); YA alternate history
The Court of Miracles
is a mix of Les Miserables and Six of Crows, with sumptuous descriptions of the locations. Nina is introduced to the Thieves Guild after her father sells off her sister to slavery, and we get an introduction to the history of guild life in this alternate Paris. We also see how much she loves her sister, and why at first she would think about offering up Ettie to the Tiger in exchange for her sister. Ettie isn't a good thief, is emotional, and impossible to disguise as a boy. She's innocent despite the way Paris is, and relies on Nina for everything. Therein lies the conflict. 

The Tiger is a fearsome man to all the courts, not just in how he wrested power from the former Lady, but in how he controls and recruits those under his control. Much of Nina's life revolves around escaping his notice, then trying to thwart him, then try to kill him. She makes alliances with important members of other Courts, and even wins the favor of the Dauphin. Nina is relentless in trying to take care of her adoptive sister and help those without protection, an admirable trait. I was drawn into her story and the struggles she had, as well as the casual opulence of the royal court not far from the Wretched who starved beyond their gates.

The novel has amazing details, and shows exactly how far ambition, sacrifice, and love can go, even in corrupt and fearful courts. It's only reckless and relentless strength of will that can get things accomplished,  though it doesn't always look the way you expect. The ending is hopeful and complete, with a few dangling threads that could be wonderful hooks for a sequel. 

Buy The Court of Miracles at Amazon

Born and raised in New York City, M.K. French started writing stories when very young, dreaming of different worlds and places to visit. She always had an interest in folklore, fairy tales, and the macabre, which has definitely influenced her work. She currently lives in the Midwest with her husband, three young children, and a golden retriever. 

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