Book Review: LITTLE THIEVES by Margaret Owen

Title in white on blue and red graphic of three people
Genre: Fantasy
Age Range: YA
Star Rating: 5 stars
Series: yes - first book

Synopsis:

Book cover for LITTLE THIEVES: title in black on white cartouche on navy with gold leaves and three figures (red and lighter blue)

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 fianc√©, and an overeager junior detective on Vanja’s tail, she’ll have to pull the biggest grift yet to save her own life.

Synopsis taken from Goodreads. Add to your shelves here.


Review:

After a spate of pretty disappointing books to start the year, this was absolutely the book I needed to kick that trend in the teeth and get me excited about picking up books again.

LITTLE THIEVES is such a fun, irreverent book, full of scheming girls and an adorable geeky boy. It’s just so much fun – devious plots and heists and characters tricking each other. It was just a rollick of a book, bouncing for situation to situation with a tongue-in-cheek narrator. The voice is brilliant and pulls you in. It’s also interspersed with apparent fairy tales that go dark – and then the fourth wall is broken (a lot.)

It’s a retelling of the Goose Girl, but this time it doesn’t follow the poor, deposed princess, Rather the maid who steals the princess’ life is the lead, and it is so much fun to see this new take on it. It completely flips your expectations of the story on its head, and has so many clever nods to the fairy tale. For example, I squealed once Falada came up. I mean seriously, is there a cleverer way to hint at his role in the original than that?

Both Vanja and the Junior detective (Emeric) are demi-sexual and I loved getting that representation. All the confused feelings, all the awkward, blurting discussions about attraction (or lack thereof without knowing the person.) It made their slow burn so yay for me (and I was actually invested in it because of it.)

It is romance with all the acknowledgement that, for them, slow burn via a deep understanding of the other person before romantic attraction was the only way. Plus all the panic of “oh heck what am I feeling and how do I deal with this?” That’s the romance I like in books, where the biggest emotional drama is the “I literally don’t know what to do with these feelings” rather than the external relationship drama of things not going well on an interpersonal level. For me it’s all about the intrapersonal confusion.

A sequel has been announced and it’s now very high up my priority list.


Read my reviews of other books by Margaret Owen:

The Merciful Crow:

2 thoughts on “Book Review: LITTLE THIEVES by Margaret Owen

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