Published by Henry Holt & Company on 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.
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.
Little Thieves is the first book in the young adult fantasy series of the same name by author Margaret Owen. Little Thieves is a Goose Girl re-telling, but I am going to be perfectly honest with you- I was not familiar with the tale of the Goose Girl and I still loved Little Thieves. In fact, I loved it so much that I might check out the story of Goose Girl now. Little Thieves is a fascinating story that does not feel like a regurgitation of the same ole tale. I loved how unique this book felt. I quite enjoyed all of the characters, and the narration style with some flash back- fable style tales woven throughout to define and separate the parts of the story. If you are a fan of morally grey characters, then I think Little Thieves is a book that you will fall in love with.
In Little Thieves, we meet our main character Vanja, who is abandoned by her mother and turned over to the gods of Fortune and Death. Because of this upbringing, Vanja can see her “mother’s” hands at work in her every day life, and she uses this sight to her advantage. But Vanja desperately wants to be independent and free from servitude, so when she sees an opportunity to because the princess she is a lady maid to, she seizes it. Vanja then takes over Princess Giselle’s life with a pair of enchanted pearls, and uses her royal identity as a way to rob the rich right from under their nose. Throw in a horrible betrothed, a secret plot, a curse and some meddling detectives and you have a really interesting tale that I could not put down.
There is also a hint of romance, nothing too big, but I did really enjoy the romance that was woven throughout. I also fell in love with the whole cast of characters. They were all really compelling, and well developed. I think a surprising favorite of mine was Ragne. When Vanja steals a token to a god from one of the nobles, she angers said god and receives a curse. The curse is to give her the riches that she wants, by literally turning her into jewels. Throughout the story, Vanja keeps growing Rubies and Pearls on her body unless she can figure out a way to break her curse. I loved Ragne so much! Like Margaret Owen’s other novels, she manages to create a vast world with several different plots and a large cast of characters effortlessly. I love her writing style and world building because it is so transportive. If you are a fan of longer character driven stories featuring morally grey main (or villain) main characters, I think Little Thieves is a book you should have on your TBR. I really loved it!