Little Thieves by Margaret Owen
Genre: YA fantasy
Pub Date: 19th October 2021
[TW: Body horror, blood, violence, past attempted sexual assault, past emotional and physical abuse, animal sacrifice, death, body shaming, underage drinking, forced betrothal]
Once upon a time, there was a horrible girl…
Vanja Schmidt knows that no gift is freely given, not even a mother’s love–and she’s on the hook for one hell of a debt. Vanja, the adopted goddaughter of Death and Fortune, was Princess Gisele’s dutiful servant up until a year ago. That was when Vanja’s otherworldly mothers demanded a terrible price for their care, and Vanja decided to steal her future back… by stealing Gisele’s life for herself.
The real Gisele is left a penniless nobody while Vanja uses an enchanted string of pearls to take her place. Now, Vanja leads a lonely but lucrative double life as princess and jewel thief, charming nobility while emptying their coffers to fund her great escape. Then, one heist away from freedom, Vanja crosses the wrong god and is cursed to an untimely end: turning into jewels, stone by stone, for her greed.
Vanja has just two weeks to figure out how to break her curse and make her getaway. And with a feral guardian half-god, Gisele’s sinister fiancé, and an overeager junior detective on Vanja’s tail, she’ll have to pull the biggest grift yet to save her own life.
Margaret Owen, author of The Merciful Crow series, crafts a delightfully irreverent retelling of “The Goose Girl” about stolen lives, thorny truths, and the wicked girls at the heart of both.
Thank you to Hodder & Stoughton for providing me with an ARC of the book in exchange for an honest review!
Once the servant of the princess Gisele, disgruntled maid Vanja has spent the last year living under Gisele’s stolen identity. By day she’s charming the nobility as the glamorous princess; by night, she’s ransacking their coffers as the notorious Penny Phantom. Then a victim’s patron deity curses her to turn into jewels on the same night Gisele’s sinister fiancé assigns an overeager junior detective to capture the thief. With just two weeks to break the deadly curse, Vanja finds saving herself may take her biggest grift yet.
Writing & Plot:
The writing was a bit confusing in the first few chapters but I found myself understanding the story better as I read the book! The plot was phenomenal. It was detailed and everything was done for a reason, I loved every aspect of the book. It’s a retelling, the “protagonist” is- well let’s just say she’s not a hero, and the side characters were actually pretty amazing. The world building was very descriptive and I really really love that in a book. This book had German roots so it was fun to see the character’s add a few words in German here and there.
Ok so the character’s were probably one of my favourite parts in the book!! The story does revolve Vanja, but Ragne, Gisele, Joniza and Emric are just are significant. At some point I wanted to punch each of them but the developments in their characters was so magnificent. All the character’s became better people, and tried to think about something else other than their own selfish needs. The friendship between Ragne and Vanja was very unconventional but it was one of the things I loved the most. Emric and Vanja are the most awkward nerds I have ever seen AND I LOVED IT. I loved the enemies to lovers part obviously, but I also loved how much time it took for them to finally come to a mutual understanding and not kill or arrest each other. While there are a range of identities present in the main cast, Vanja, our narrator and “protagonist” is demisexual and I loved how the author explored her identity throughout the book.
In conclusion everyone needs to read this book or I will combust because, I will now be giving you a list of reasons to read it- Ao3 tags version </3
fairytale retelling, royalty, villain pov, the goose girl, con artists, witches, alternate europe, curses, feels, enemies to friends to lovers, mutual pining, slow burn, unstoppable gremlin meets immovable nerd, phantom thief vs boy detective, everyone needs a hug, childhood trauma, morally gray characters, it’s my wedding and I’ll scam if I want to.
I don’t think I need to explain more : D
Thats it I hope you liked the review </3
Sending incoherent screams about how fairytale retellings are superior,