Thank you to Hodder & Stoughton and Netgalley for the review copy in exchange for an honest review. This does not change my opinion in anyway.
Book: Little Thieves (Little Thieves 1) by Margaret Owen
Release Date: October 19th 2021
Tags: Young Adult | Fantasy | Goose Girl Retelling | Gods | Thieves | Fairytales
Trigger/Content Warnings: Poisoning | Whipping | Attempted Rape Off Page | Physical Abuse | Emotional Abuse
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 a loose Goose Girl retelling that takes the elements of the maid taking the noble’s face and life. But where the real story follows the life of the stolen here we follow the life of the one that does the taking. And steps very far away from the one dimensional take of it all.
While the synopsis and this book start with that there once was a horrible girl, there is absolutely nothing horrible about Vanja in my eyes. She is just trying to survive in a world that does not protect her at all. Being given away as a small child to two gods who leave her at the steps of a household where she is abused throughout her childhood, there has been no real security for her. And if she wants anything she has to do it all herself. Eat or get Eaten. So she takes Giselle’s life as her own and tries to steal as much money as she can so she can dissapear before her so called fiancee returns. Unfortunately her fiancee returns too soon with a detective dipping his toe in the thefts.
Little Thieves is greatly crafted plot wise. While it is a bit on the long side, that sits in the conclusion that gets somewhat dragged out and then sped through too fast, before that there are so many twists and turns that worked so well to keep your attention going. I read this 500+ page book in a day.
And it helps that I cared about the characters. Like I said, I never saw Vanja as a horrible person but as someone who needs to do whatever she can to surive. Ragna, the shapeshifting daughter of a god, was a great asset to Vanja to show that kindness is something that does exist, for her too. Not everything comes with a price. Our lovely detective keeps offseting Vanja with his smarts which is not something she is used to. And then adding in characters from her past like Gisele and a friend maid from previous years, it tugs at your heart strings it does.
The only downside for me was the ending. I felt like the build up to the wrap up was a bit too long and then there was the actual ending where I felt we fast forwarded to. It just jolted me out a bit.