REPRESENTATION: M/F romance, F/F side romance
GENRES/ SUBJECTS: Fantasy Retelling (The Goose Girl)
I’ll admit, I requested LITTLE THIEVES based almost entirely on the gorgeous cover (and also a little because I remember Margaret Owen’s first duology getting a lot of love). Full points for me though, because it turned out to be a lot of things I really, really love.
LITTLE THIEVES is a really rich, developed standalone fantasy. I felt like we really got a lot of plot, worldbuilding and character development, to the level I’d expect from a duology, but bundled neatly into a single, well-rounded novel that was the perfect length for the story it was telling.
The plot itself is a (very) loose retelling of The Goose Girl but told from the POV of the ‘evil maid’ who steals the princess’s identity. Apart from THORN, I don’t think I’ve ever read a Goose Girl retelling, as it’s not one that particularly interests me, but Owen really made this work and picked just the right angle to make this a great story. If you don’t like retellings, I don’t think you’d even notice though, and could enjoy this as a completely original and unique tale.
What I adored about LITTLE THIEVES is that it doesn’t try to redeem the fairy tale’s ‘villain’ too much.
Obviously, Vanya does have good qualities (she’s a complex protagonist with plenty of strengths as well as weaknesses) but the story gives makes you understand her motives — WHY she’s done the things she has — rather than making it so she’s not the selfish, unrepentant thief that she is.
And I loved her for it.
You know I’m a sucker for a morally questionable protagonist and a potentially unlikeable female character, and Vanya just appealed to me perfectly. I loved the cat-and-mouse, push-and-pull relationship with the bookwormy, morally upright love interest, Conrad, and her awkward, evolving relationships with the ‘real’ Gisele and half-demon companion Ragne.
Gorgeous and smart and snarky, LITTLE THIEVES is a book I’ll definitely read again and again.
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.
A copy of this was provided free of charge from the publisher in return for an honest review.