Publication: 19th October 2021 – Hodder & Stoughton
Once upon a time, there was a horrible girl . . .
Vanja Schmidt knows that no gift is freely given, not even a mother’s love. The adopted goddaughter of Death and Fortune, Vanja has long made her own way in the world as the dutiful servant of Princess Gisele. Until a year ago, when her otherworldly mothers demanded payment for their care, and Vanja decided to steal her future back . . . by stealing Gisele’s life.
With the help of an enchanted string of pearls, Vanja transformed into her former mistress and took her place, leaving the real Gisele a penniless nobody. Now, Vanja leads a lonely but lucrative double life as princess and jewel thief, charming the nobility while emptying their coffers to fund her great escape. Until, one heist away from freedom, Vanja crosses the wrong god and is cursed to turn into jewels, stone by stone.
With a feral guardian half-god, Gisele’s sinister fiancé, and an overeager junior detective on her tail, Vanja has just two weeks to pull off her biggest grift yet, or she risks losing more than her freedom – she could lose her life.
In this delightfully irreverent retelling of ‘The Goose Girl’, Margaret Own crafts an unputdownable tale about stolen lives, thorny truths, and the wicked girls at the heart of both.
I can definitely list Little Thieves among my favorite books of the year. I found it very difficult to put it down thanks to its fantastic cast of characters, the engaging story full of twists and surprises, and the author’s addictive writing style.
Little Thieves is the story of a young woman. Vanja Schmidt is an incredible anti-heroine. She was abandoned by her mother when she was only four years old, adopted by two goddesses who tried to force her to choose between one of them, who wanted her to become their servant, who sent her to work for a family who bullied and abused her. And finally, abandoned by the friend who she considered like a sister, Vanja decided it was time to think about herself by stealing her friend’s life. She was selfish, she did bad things, and yet I couldn’t help but really like her from the very beginning, and not only for her witty and smart-ass attitude, but because I felt for her and her desire for freedom.
Under her guise as Princess Gisele who is about to marry one of the most important men in the kingdom, Vanja is stealing from the rich and wealthy, until, one night, she steals a gift from a goddess who curses her. The only way to break the curse and not turn into a living jewel is to give back everything she stole, but it’s not easy when Junior Prefect Emeric Conrad is constantly on her heels investigating the thefts, her detestable “fiancé” is a villain who is planning something bad, and she is constantly watched over by Ragne, the goddess’s shapeshifter daughter. Will Vanja be able to redeem herself and save the kingdom?
I adored the characters created by the author (except the villain, of course). Vanja, Emeric, Gisele, and Ragne create an assorted, entertaining, and thick group of allies who get together to stop the villain. The characters are engaging and intriguing and I loved how each one of them develops throughout the story.
The plot is addictive, thrilling, and immersive. There is romance, friendship, and redemption with a brilliant world-building and a fantastic ending that promises more to come and I can’t wait for it!
A huge thank you to Hodder & Stoughton and NetGalley for providing me with a proof of the novel.
Margaret Owen was born and raised at the end of the Oregon Trail, and now lives and writes in Seattle while negotiating a long-term hostage situation with her two monstrous cats. In her free time, she enjoys exploring ill-advised travel destinations, drawing a lot of nonsense, and raising money for social justice nonprofits.