5.13 Resolving Some Questions of Municipal Policing | Great grief is a terrible divine illumination that transfigures the wretched. At that point Fantine had become beautiful again. At certain moments she paused and tenderly kissed the hem of the policeman’s coat. She would have softened a heart of granite, but the heart of a man without feeling cannot be softened.
[ There are exactly 365 chapters in Les Misérables. This is a chronicle of my attempt to finally read them all. Fingers crossed … ]
Post+ asking the general tumblr population for financial donations has the same vibe as Thenardier setting up his tavern to attract criminals and drunks and then setting the prices extortionately high
#why are you booing? I’m right #part of what makes the Brick so funny to me is the prices Thenardier sets for everything #like we don’t really have an intuitive sense of old french money #so we go ‘meh seems reasonable’ but googling any kind of modern value for a sou or franc makes it clear he does Not know how business works #like at all #also I’m watching the dallas production of Les mis #and I think I may love it and I think it’s actually my preferred staging cause we see the character bits the musical normally can’t fit in #like Marius being clearly dressed better than anyone else #or Cosette being dressed really conservatively and in an old-fashioned way that is also kinda childish #exactly the same as the brick #or Thenardier deliberately showing off his brand #although javert undoing his coat for stars is a strange choice as is him not immodestly arresting Thenardier cause of the brand #but I absolutely adore the staging and I think when I meet Les Amis I shall scream #post+#Les Misérables
I Read The Court of Miracles And Now I Am Going To Scream!
The Court of Miracles is a young adult historical fantasy Les Mis and Jungle Book retelling that was published in June 2020. It’s set in the criminal underworld of an alternate revolutionary France and follows Eponine ‘Nina’ Thénardier of the Thieves Guild as she works with the other criminal guilds of the Court of Miracles to take down their common enemy - Lord Kaplan of the Guild of Flesh. A longer summary of the book can be found on Goodreads!
I started reading this book at the beginning of the year, stopped in the middle to finish my dissertation, then finally finished it the other day to present you with a very long and slightly incoherent review! My review does contain spoilers and a lot of rambling you have been warned 😌💞
Just to get this out of the way first, I did genuinely enjoy reading COM. I thought it was a really fun book and I think if I’d read it when I was 14 it would’ve probably been one of my absolute favourite books! There’s animal symbolism and imagery everywhere, political drama, an awesome criminal underworld and a cast of really fun main characters! Sure it’s kinda dumb sometimes in a ya fantasy kind of way but that’s part of the fun!
I am however reviewing this book on my Les Mis blog because it’s also a les mis and jungle book retelling, so the les mis aspect is going to be the main focus of this review. I think court of miracles is a good book (or well bad in a good way ;3), but a bad les Mis retelling.
The way Kester Grant veiws Les Mis has the same energy as a 2013 Enjonine shipper? She thinks Cosette is a boring bland character, she identifies with Eponine in a not-like-other-girls kind of way, Enjolras is reduced exclusively to his revolutionary enthusiasm and she hates Marius because he loves his girlfriend, he’s a little bit pathetic and he doesn’t care about the revolution as much as Enjolras does. (I’m getting all of this information from an interview she did with scifinow btw) She’s clearly read the brick but the way she views the characters feels like she’s looked at mainstream musical interpretations of them, shook them through a sieve then taken the remaining one character trait and built her les mis-based characters around said single character trait.
The COM characters themselves are more than just one single character trait they all have their own personalities and character arcs! But because of this they also end up being nothing like their les mis counterparts. To make things even more complicated, the main characters Nina (Eponine) and Ettie (Cosette) are also Bagheera and Mowgli respectively. Even Thenardier is also Tabaqui! I think the only characters who are solely based on les mis characters are St. Juste (Enjolras - yeah I know I’ll get to it ^^’), Grantaire, Montparnasse, Javert and Valjean.
Despite my criticisms I actually think COM is a really good ya jungle book retelling! In my opinion the strongest parts of the book were the parts that were inspired by the jungle book! The worldbuilding itself was super fun and engaging and the idea of the guilds was something that was inspired by the jungle book too. The main storyline of the book, and the strongest and most engaging one, was also part of the jungle book retelling! And Lord Kaplan (Shere Khan) was one of my favourite characters and one of the most interesting to read about! At some points it even felt like the Les Mis inspired plotlines took away from the story. The Les Mis inspiration mostly just appeared in the names of a few characters and the setting being Some Point In Fictional Revolutionary France, but even the French nobility were part of the jungle book side of the retelling as the bandar-log.
I think the last kind of general thing I could put here is that the story is broken up into sections with pretty big time skips in between, and I think this was meant to be similar to the way the jungle book is written but it did make the story a little bit hard to follow at the beginning ^^’
COM is clearly Kester writing something very self indulgent for herself - and this isn’t a criticism you go girl write that borderline self insert enjonine jungle book au! It’s just a comment about how it reads to me ^^’
Okay I’m gonna get more into the les mis side of COM now bc that’s obviously what people following me want to read about most and what I want to talk about most too 😌
Aside from perhaps Montparnasse and Thenardier, all of the Les Mis characters were so out of character that some of them didn’t even bare surface resemblance to the characters they were based on. I am. Having some Especially Strong Feelings about Javert in this book But I’m gonna start by sharing some thoughts about the amis!
Okay first I have to just. His name is Enjolras St. Juste. He gets referred to as St. Juste the entire book. St. Juste. The man’s a dumbass your honour I rest my case 😌 He’s clearly supposed to be Enjolras, but he feels more like Enjolras from a 2010s canon era enjonine fanfic that someone wasn’t really taking too seriously and present day modern au fanon Enjolras got smushed together then got handed some cue cards with some facts about canon Enjolras on them. He’s an obnoxious revolutionary student who wears a red coat and lives eats and breathes The CauseTM 😤 St. Juste is actually a pretty fun character and I did genuinely enjoy all the scenes with him in! But as the story progresses he ultimately starts to feel more and more out of place and his RevolutionaryTM side story begins to feel like it’s more for The Les Mis Aesthetic than being properly integrated into the story. There’s a plot to overthrow the government but it gets called off at the last minute because it turns out it was a trap laid by the royal family. There are barricades but all the barricade fighting happens off screen and St. Juste and his friends are never really involved in it. He has a will they won’t they kind of thing with Nina so I really wasn’t kidding about the enjonine thing either :’3 He survives to the end of the book though and apparently this is supposed to be a trilogy so I really hope he gets to be his own character a little bit more instead of just providing the Les Mis Revolutionary Aesthetic because as much as he’s kind of sheltered and obnoxious and dumb as a brick I liked him! He’s a terrible Enjolras but a really enjoyable character!
This one’s going in my St. Juste cringe compilation though lads
Okay moving onto Grantaire! Literally the only similarity between Les Mis Grantaire and COM Grantaire is that he’s an alcoholic. But he’s a fun alcoholic y’know! Liver failure but make it charming! It’s romantic and he’s less of a bummer now! See what I said about it reading like bad fanfic sometimes :’3 COM Grantaire is St. Juste’s Vice President and is also Fully On Board With The Cause 😤 even though he sometimes gets on St. Juste’s nerves by being drunk or teasing him 🤪 Can you tell I’m not a fan? :’3
The only other named ami is Feuilly, but the character is more like Combeferre and Jolly combined. A background character is also referred to by the name Jolly in one scene.
I don’t think I really have much to say about Nina and Ettie. I really like Nina!! She’s a lil bit edgy and a lil bit not like other girls in a transgender kind of way and she really loves her sisters and I’d like to giver her a hug 😌 I love Ettie too and I really enjoyed reading about both of them! They’re not Eponine and Cosette but they also weren’t supposed to be just Eponine and Cosette in the first place and I can see where the different les mis and jungle book inspirations are in their characters so I’m more forgiving of the fact that they’re pretty different to their les mis counterparts. They also get to be their own people more than St. Juste does and I think that was good for their characters too! As always Montparnasse is my sweet baby murder boy and I love him and I’m team ninaparnasse out of Nina’s three very handsome and talented love interests who drink respect women juice hashtag young adult fantasy 😌 I also really liked Thenardier!! He’s just the same asshole but he gets quite a few scenes and some awesome animal imagery so I was totally on board with that!
Okay. Now it’s time to talk about Valjean and Javert :’3
Jean Valjean, also known as Monsieur Madeleine and le Maire, is a member of the Guild of Letters. For the most part I really love his character!! The guild of letters specialises in record keeping, extortion, forgery, etc. and Valjean is infamous among the criminal underworld for how good he is at disappearing into different roles whenever necessary. We first meet him when Nina helps him escape from prison and he shows up at different points in the story to help Nina and Ettie out in order to repay the debt he owes her. I love him and I would maybe give him a little kiss 👉👈 One thing that bothered me a lot though was the absolute lack of positive relationship Ettie and Valjean had. They’re not even just indifferent to each other - at one point in the story, Ettie spends two literal years living with Valjean in order to hide from Lord Kaplan and they both actively dislike each other. Ettie even thinks she’s been kidnapped and spends a full two years trying to escape because no one ever bothered to explain anything to her and it’s just?? The coldest possible take on a Valjean Cosette relationship?? He’s not some random man who kidnapped her he’s her dad and they love each other how could you do them both so dirty like this!! Two years and they just hated living with each other and didn’t talk to each other at all!!
This take also bothers me a lot?? Like I know Valjean isn’t Actually a predator in COM but I don’t like the implication that their relationship Could be like that being in any kind of Les Mis adaptation or retelling! It annoyed me a lot when the same implication was put in beebmis and it annoys me a lot here. Valjean and Cosette’s story is one about radical love and healing and I don’t think we need any grimdark predatory Valjean content anywhere at all! Don’t slander my Valjean like that >:// If I just pretend that scene didn’t happen though Valjean’s a really great character and I did enjoy most of the scenes with him in 😌
Mm Javert though...... Kester Grant where are you I just want to talk 🙂 Javert is a white woman with red hair and blue eyes. Okay, fine, you can genderbend Javert if you want I don’t really care, but what I absolutely Do care about is that Javert’s one (1) character trait is that she’s Valjean’s bitter heterosexual ex who’s obsessed with capturing him because he broke her heart. Genderbending Javert just to make her boring and heterosexual is a hatecrime specifically against my gay ass you could’ve at least let them be gay!! I don’t care if you genderbend both of them or leave them both as men gay people can have boring petty character arcs too!! Why is Javert the one who always gets genderbent so they can be het too?? If you have to make them het at least give me a buff lady Valjean I can simp for sometimes :/
I still can’t get over this Kester Grant girlbossed Javert :’3 Miss Javert isn’t like other girls she’s an obsessive misogynist uwu
This is just genuinely embarrassing for me to read how could you do this to me :’3
Anyway Miss Javert would call me the f and t slurs gaslight gatekeep girlboss 💞 /j
Hsvsnsvsv bullying aside, I really did enjoy reading COM. Sure it works by ya logic and Nina has three love interests and awesome thief powers and people just kind of shake off gunshot wounds sometimes but it’s fun! This dumb book managed to pull me out of months long reading slumps twice and it’s one of the most enjoyable things I’ve read in ages! Don’t read COM if you want a good Les Mis retelling because that’s not what it is, but as long as you know what you’re getting into and you don’t take it too seriously then it’s a super fun read that you can both laugh and scream frustratedly at 😌
The barricade fell. The National Guard shots the leader, but not the man beside him.Anyways, it seems that it takes a little more than a few bullets to kill Enjolras.
Or how I like to call it: Jean Valjean best father ever.
I love eddington pretending like he read les miserables to justify trying to be sisko's nemesis when he clearly only watched the musical. Then he says it's nothing personal and then sends sisko a copy of the book and gives him a cliffnotes version that's just plain wrong
he's trying to be the big bad but he's failing at it
#but also. being forgotten about as soon as he is not in sisko's line of sight is very much the dynamic valjean and javert have in the book #maybe he was right in a way
not even gonna lie I’m really enjoying every javert scene in bbc les mis so far 😭 thematically he’s a mess that completely misses the point of the original character, but from an entertainment perspective he’s gold
it’s like a mixture of mann’s diva protagonist complex and rush’s aggressive dedication to being as stupid as possible at all times and I’m enjoying it immensely