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Aug 5, 2021

Little Thieves by Margaret Owen

Thursday, August 05, 2021

Hodder & Stoughton, October 2021
egalley via Netgalley

Once upon a time, there was a horrible girl...
A scrappy maid must outsmart both palace nobles and Low Gods in a new YA fantasy by Margaret Owen, author of the Merciful Crow series.

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.

Author Margaret Owen already has a following due to her successful Merciful Crow series and I was very intrigued by the synopsis of Little Thieves coming out this fall. I loved the energy of the characters and oh how flawed they are! The only thing that Vanja needs is survival.. but still that takes skill, money, time. She has skill at stealing money and a specific identity (Gisele's) but she is not in a fantastic situation even though she technically is to marry a prince.

There are so many fun elements in this story such as fairy tale (Grimm's!) vibes, godmothers, orphans, magic, palace guardian goblins, rags vs. riches, wicked rulers, nerdy love interests, I could go on..but I absolutely love the antihero plot. 

While the writing style was witty and flowed well with interesting storytelling chapter openings, there were hiccups for me with the Germanic words. They were heavily used and it was a bit maddening for me trying to work out the context of the foreign word. The other noticeable thing is that I felt like I was rushed to the ending and boom it's done. I wonder if I just wanted to live in the world of Vanja and Gisele for a while longer.

My favorite supporting character was Ragne (probably because she shape shifted into a cat) and I was rooting for her side story to work out. She was a sweet thing who could have been a pain in Vanja's life but instead she helped her out of many situations. 

Because there were so many different things going on that I may have missed, I am putting this book on a very high pedestal that has potential for a re-read. While this is a stand-alone I would like to read more about this set of diverse characters. Little Thieves is a thrilling adventure and now I am going to have to read some of the other books by Margaret Owen.