Published by Knopf Children's
on June 2, 2020
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In the violent urban jungle of an alternate 1828 Paris, the French Revolution has failed and the city is divided between merciless royalty and nine underworld criminal guilds, known as the Court of Miracles. Eponine (Nina) Thénardier is a talented cat burglar and member of the Thieves Guild. Nina's life is midnight robberies, avoiding her father's fists, and watching over her naïve adopted sister, Cosette (Ettie).
When Ettie attracts the eye of the Tiger--the ruthless lord of the Guild of Flesh--Nina is caught in a desperate race to keep the younger girl safe. Her vow takes her from the city's dark underbelly to the glittering court of Louis XVII. And it also forces Nina to make a terrible choice--protect Ettie and set off a brutal war between the guilds, or forever lose her sister to the Tiger.
Les Misérables meets Six of Crows in this page-turning adventure as a young thief finds herself going head to head with leaders of Paris's criminal underground in the wake of the French Revolution.
On whim, I requested this title from Netgalley because I love Les Miserables (I’m one of those theater/choir kids) and because it sounded kind of incredible. Who doesn’t love a dark reimagining of Les Mis paired with a seedy underbelly of warring factions scrambling for power. And at the heart of everything is Nina (Eponine) who is just trying to save her sister.
I’m now madly obsessed with this series and can’t wait for the sequel. Seriously. I need it. NOW. I’ve been pestering Kit Grant on Twitter for info about what’s to come in book two and all she’ll say is that it’s OMINOUS.
*I received a copy of this book from Netgalley in exchange for an honest review.
🗡️ At the front and center of everything is our main character, Nina, and I honestly loved her. I loved her resilience and her desperation. I loved her mind and her strength. Like, I JUST LOVE HER A LOT OKAY? I saw a few people mention that it seems like she’s one of those characters that can just… do everything and is good at everything and I get that, I do. But also, she IS a highly skilled thief and part of her character that works for me is that she never gives up. Of course she’s gonna get through it because the alternative is worse than death for her. And she takes her fair share o f beatings too so it’s not like she comes out of everything miraculously unscathed. But homegirl is fierce and has a lot of fight in her and I just was always rooting for her.
🗡️ Nina takes in and protects a stray who ends up being like a sister to her named Ettie and Ettie is pure sunshine and sweetness and I loved her. I, too, would kill and die for her. Her innocence is a nice contrast to the darker parts of the story and her hope buoys the plot a lot of the time. She is a ray of light in the darkness and she also provides some stellar comedic relief. You’ll seriously want to protect her from everything by the end of the book. She will be your sweet summer child and NO ONE CAN TOUCH HER.
🗡️ There are a lot of characters in this book (and series). From all the different guilds and their leaders and members, it’s a lot. There are also multiple love interests and you really really really have no idea which way it’s gonna go. But I do have a favorite and he slinks around in the shadows and protects from afar and makes fiery declarations you really didn’t see coming. BUT THERE ARE SO MANY GOOD LOVE INTERESTS IN THIS AND IT’S AWESOME. Also, there are many villains– some bigger than others, but it’s definitely a trust no one book and the layers and complexities of these characters are all so good. You believe them. You understand them. You hate them. All of it is just rendered very well, especially for such a large cast of secondary characters.
🗡️ I cannot get over how Les Mis plays out in the background of a much darker, twisty, thrilling underground city plot. Like it was just so damn cool. Watching Nina navigate the factions of the secret underground left me holding my breath so many times. And all of these factions are vicious and cunning and trying to stay ahead of them and choose alliances to save the ones she cares about was a sight to effing behold. I was constantly surprised, constantly in awe, and constantly terrified.
🗡️ There were strong elements of found family here, but also, the idea of family overall is explored and questioned. I genuinely enjoyed the emphasis on the fact that sometimes family is the people you choose and the people who choose you, even when it’s complicated. And the family dynamics in this book are straight up wild and complicated. Anyone and everyone can be betrayed if necessary. And the idea that you should question the people who are invested in you and maybe ask yourself why and what they’re valuing in the end.
🗡️ The romances are barely there yet in this first book and just hinted at so far, which I like. They all have a bud that could bloom into something. I rarely read a series that presents three equal love interests in a way where you just can’t tell which direction it’s gonna go. But I’d warn you not to get too attached because Grant has said that no one is safe and if you’ve seen Les Mis…well, you know how that goes.
🗡️ TRIGGER WARNINGS: sex trafficking, blood, violence, sexual abuse, drug usage
🗡️ The writing definitely matches the pacing of the novel. The sentences don’t meander. They make quick work of the action and I appreciated the no-nonsense feel for the more intense scenes because I never felt like I had to skim over unnecessary detail.
🗡️ The dialogue here is a high point for me. Character interactions were meaningful, intense, funny, heartbreaking and fraught with all the right kinds of tension.
🗡️ You’re gonna want the second book immediately. Alas, we have to wait. You know what I did? As soon as I finished, I started reading it again. This is the type of book I can see myself re-reading a lot, especially to pick up on things I may have missed.
this is the book you’re looking for if:
- You like fast paced action.
- You enjoyed Six of Crows or other high stakes heist novels but wished it had less POVs.
- You are a fan of the love triangle, princes, rebels, and/or assassins.
- You’re a sucker for found family tropes.
this is not the book you’re looking for if:
- You want a quieter book.
- You don’t like hyper-competent main characters.
- You’re not into underground criminal activities (*note the trigger warnings under the plot section).
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