by Margaret Owen
Little Thieves by Margaret Owen
Genre: Young Adult Fantasy
Publishing Date: October 19, 2021
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.
Little Thieves is retelling of the story The Goose Girl, however, until now, I had never heard of this story. The story itself felt gritty and harsh in the best way possible. The hard stuff was not always glossed over or “prettied up” with flowery words or disguised with distracting descriptions, and when it was it was told like an old fashioned fairy tale which only added to the appeal for me. The pacing of the story was nice albeit sometimes a little slower than I tend to like, however, I think it was perfect for the story that was being told. Every little detail helped pull each thread of the story closer and closer together until a fairytale retelling masterpiece was woven.
Vanja, our main character, is the antihero of antiheroes and yet you can’t help but love her. She is out for herself, and makes no apologies. As the story progresses, you get to see under this hard shell of anger, mistrust, and hurt where there is a soft center just begging to be loved and accepted.
Than we have our favorite JUNIOR Prefect, Emeric. Emeric is just this loveable and seemingly prudish man who is investigating things that could lead to Vanja’s downfall. The perpetual thorn in Vanja’s side whom she has tried to get rid of on multiple occasions. Yet when circumstances force them to work together, Vanja sees a different side of Emeric that both frustrates and intrigues her. They must work together to stop the evil surrounding them, and has them questioning their real feelings toward each other.
I adored this story. From the main characters to the quirky side characters this book was such a well-rounded fascinating tale. It is emotional and disturbing with strange twists, crazy curses, and dark dark humor. I could not ask for more.
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.
About the Author:
Born and raised at the end of the Oregon Trail, Margaret Owen first encountered an author in the wild in fourth grade. Roughly twenty seconds later, she decided she too would be an author, the first of many well-thought-out life decisions.
The career plan shifted frequently as Margaret spent her childhood haunting the halls of Powell’s Books. After earning her degree in Japanese, her love of espresso called her north to Seattle, where she worked in everything from thrift stores to presidential campaigns. The common thread between every job can be summed up as: lessons were learned.
Fortunately, it turned out that fourth-grade Margaret was onto something. She now spends her days wrestling disgruntled characters onto the page, and negotiating a long-term hostage situation with her two monstrous cats. (There is surprisingly little difference between the two.) In her free time, she enjoys exploring ill-advised travel destinations, and raising money for social justice nonprofits through her illustrations.