little thieves – margaret owen | blog tour + arc review

Little Thieves by Margaret Owen


Standalone
Expected publication: October 19th 2021 by Henry Holt & Company
Age Range: Young Adult
Genre: Fantasy

Rating:

Rating: 5 out of 5.

Synopsis:

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.

Goodreads | Amazon | Barnes and NobleBook Depository | Indigo | IndieBound

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Thank you to TBR and Beyond Tour for choosing me as one of the participants in the #LittleThieves tour. I received an ARC in exchange for an honest review. If you’re interested in the other tour stops, check out the schedule!

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Adopted goddaughter of Death and Fortune, Vanja Schmidt is determined to change her life around. As the 13th daughter of the 13th daughter, her birth reeked of bad luck and so Vanja’s birth mother left her behind. Right from the beginning, Vanja’s known as the villain. With an enchanted pearl necklace, the loyal maid stole Princess Gisele’s life away. Swapping places, the princess is left homeless, without money, and utterly betrayed while Vanja finally lives a life in which she wouldn’t be scapegoated, scolded, and helpless.

This Goose Girl retelling captured my entire heart without warning and without hesitation. I couldn’t stop reading about Vanja’s story simply because it was compelling. Margaret Owen’s writing is beautiful and lyrical. Every page was a delight to read. I loved the way the author slipped humorous dialogues into the situation that I found endearing.

Vanja was an interesting character to read. There’s always something new about her to discover. Though her actions aren’t good, I felt that she had good reasons. Tired of being constantly tossed aside when necessary and without any support, Vanja did what she did: Attain a better future.

This is how you win the game, you know. Show them what they want to see, let them think they can win, let them follow the cards. Keep their eyes where you want them.

Vanja plays multiple characters in her story: Princess Gisele, Greta the maid, Vanja Schmidt, and the Pfennigeist. In order to not end up in servitude to either of her godmothers, Vanja resorted to becoming a jewel thief to pay for her escape. Things took a turn when Vanja’s greed landed her right in the hands of a Low God. Cursed to pay for her deeds, Vanja will slowly turn into jewels. Deadline: the full moon.

Stealing from the rich, the Pfennigeist made a name for herself that attracted the attention of the law enforcers. Unfortunately, or fortunately, for Vanja, an overeager junior prefect is hot on her tails trying to solve the crime. Soon enough, she realizes that the case is not what it seems. Greater forces are manipulating the political sphere and the danger all of them might be in.

Back to the junior prefect, Emeric is always trying to gather evidence and prove that his theory is right. As a detective, Emeric has a strict sense of right and wrong, but that slowly changes when he communicated more with Vanja and realized she isn’t all that bad. The development of their feelings was gradual. I just wanted to smoosh them together but it does create lots of moments of pining and yearning.

No matter how many cards I lay between myself and the rest of the world, no matter how many lies I tell, how many lives I steal, it will never be enough. I will never escape the ghost in the mirror.

In this adventure, Vanja learns to trust once again. Ragne, daughter of a Low God and a human, became Vanja’s best supporter throughout the book. Though half-human, Ragne had spent most of her life with her godly mother so she has no actual concept of the mortal side. When she asked Vanja questions about human behaviors and actions, it gets pretty funny, especially the one where she asked about kissing. Since she’s a shapeshifter, Ragne often helped to transport information as an owl and fight off monsters as a bear or a lion. In that one scene, my heart soared for Vanja when Ragne defended the former. Their friendship is beautiful and sweet.

Concluding this gushy review, I’m absolutely in love. Vanja’s past tugged on my heartstrings. While I don’t condone her actions, I could understand why she stole Gisele’s identity. She started to open up to people that she initially didn’t want to trust or love anymore. I’m incredibly hooked on the lore of the Low Gods and the prefecture’s ways of summoning gods for trials. I’ll be a happy girl if Margaret Owen announces more books following this standalone! Can’t wait for her next book.

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author information

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