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LITTLE THIEVES by Margaret Owen

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.

Title : Little Thieves
Author : Margaret Owen
Format : eBook (overdrive)
Page Count : 512
Genre : YA fantasy
Publisher : Henry Holt & Company
Release Date : October 19, 2021

Reviewer : Hollis
Rating : ★ ★ ★ ★ ★

Hollis’ 5 star review

This is a rating that I talked myself into rounding up (initially it was a 4.5) instead of my usual sad panda mope about it being so close, or oh I wish I could round up but blah, etc etc. Because, y’all, Little Thieves? Was so so good. Also it’s December twenty-ninth, it’s been a long year (make that two), and I’ve barely given out any full ratings in what feels like a decade, so. YOLO.

Is there anyone in Minkja you haven’t robbed, swindled, or backstabbed?
I mean, in the grand scheme of things, isn’t funding the extravagance of the nobility through the blood of the commoners the real swindle?

I delayed reading this for a few reasons; mostly fear that Owen would end up a one-hit-series-wonder but also because I saw some mixed reviews which fed into that fear. But I should not have worried because once again I’ve been blown away by this author.

You’re just mad I tossed you in the river.”
I think it’s reasonable to take issue with you nearly drowning me.”
Sure, but you’re not mad because you nearly drowned. You’re mad because you went to all that trouble to set a trap and stage your big triumphant reveal and I still tossed you in the river.”

The synopsis basically tells you everything you need to know about this except the feels you will have while reading it; or the heartbreak and tragedy you’ll experience; or even the many many lines that will make you laugh out loud; and the sheer delight in everything about it all. Except, you know, the bad stuff you aren’t going to delight in, see aforementioned heartbreak and tragedy. Yes, naturally, I did cry. Maybe twice. Who is to say.

I see myself for what I am : a scared girl, alone in a cruel world, abandoned by family and friend, who would rather turn herself to bloodstained stone than let anyone get close enough to leave another scar. A girl who would rather die than serve anyone ever again. Even myself. And it is killing me.

On that note, the author does provide a lovely little passage with some content warnings at the beginning, so keep your eyes out for that if you need it.

I can’t say if you’re a good person or not. But the more I know of you, the more I understand that the world keeps making you choose between survival and martyrdom. No one should fault you for wanting to live.

But yeah, I have so little to say because this is one of those classic “I fucking loved it!” feelings that has left me pretty speechless. I have so many highlights, way more than can fit in this review, and the whole experience was just fantastic. The only thing I’m mad about is that the sequel (!!) isn’t coming out until 2023. Which, wow. Talk about a devastating blow. But if that’s the trade off for yet another banger? I will suffer bravely and with dignity. Cue sobs.

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