Yeah. I said it. I think that The Court of Miracles by Kester Grant just might be better than Les Misérables, of which it is a feminist reimagining. There are so many twists of the original story that are exciting and give the story a freshness to it without detracting from Hugo’s masterpiece. Plus, there are some sly nods to key aspects of the original, as well as the musical, which are more than a little amusing when spotted.
First and foremost, The Court of Miracles is a female-strong story. Ms. Grant gives the tragic figure of Eponine a makeover, not only by making her the heroine but also by making her strong, clever, and fearless; in fact, she accomplishes things no one else is able to accomplish. Ms. Grant also makes Cosette more than a pretty face by giving her a backbone. Javert is now a woman. There is no love interest. Valjean’s identity will surprise you. Plus, Ms. Grant includes the stealing of the bread, the silver candlesticks, and a little fall of rain – just not in any way you would expect.
Better yet, there is a fascinating criminal world hierarchy at the heart of The Court of Miracles that oddly makes sense. You see such things in other novels about criminal activity and its need to organize in order to avoid mass arrests and disruption by the police, but here we get the history, the exact organization, the rules and regulations of the hierarchy, and the reasons for all of it. The details are outstanding and add to the richness of the story.
I would love to describe The Court of Miracles as a romp but while I found the entire story highly entertaining, it is not nearly light-hearted enough to be able to call it a romp. Make no mistake, the story is dark and violent, involving mature themes and may require trigger warnings in very sensitive readers. However, with its clever nods to Hugo’s story, the great characters, and its well-written storyline, I cannot recommend it highly enough as an escapist summer read.