I’ve been so excited for Little Thieves by Margaret Owen for quite some time now, so I was over the moon when Kate Keehan at Hodderscape sent me an ARC in exchange for an honest review.
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 fiance, 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.
Publication Date: 19th October
TW: death, violence, sexual assault, murder, addiction, child abandonment, addiction, whipping, physical & emotional abuse of a child, panic attacks, fat shaming
Little Thieves has just left me stunned. I was absolutely entranced by this phenomenal book, which I can already tell will be a huge favourite for fantasy fans looking for wit, bite and an entirely new concoction.
I don’t think I can rave about Owen’s gorgeous writing enough. It’s just so lush, entrancing and magical with hints of danger. I felt completely enraptured and caught up in this evocative and awe-inspiring world. This book was just exquisite in every single way. Owen’s writing is just delectably dark, tinged with notes of humour and hope that crafts this spectacular fairytale with nuance and incredible attention to detail. Owen’s structure is also so interesting, with tales within tales and acts titled with a new story. This makes it feel like this sprawling epic tale combining the past, present and future. The real and the supernatural intertwine in a way that feels like an undiscovered treasure in your hands and has that real fairytale magic to it.
Vanja is an endlessly complex and interesting protagonist who I absolutely loved. She’s spikey, ruthless, manipulative and determined to succeed and control her own fate. Her battle to control her own destiny is relatable and you can’t help but root for her to succeed. Vanja snuck her way into my life and stole my heart instantly. I liked how she wasn’t always conventionally likable, with some questionable behaviour and motivations. However, you get to see glimpses of the caring, passionate heart beneath the facade necessary for survival. You cannot pin her down into the hero-villain dichotomy and I loved that. Every character is more complex than their respective fairytale stereotypes, feeling three-dimensional and all too human.
This book single handedly reignited my love for fantasy and fairy tales. I loved the way Owen brought the feel of a new tale told through a classic style. She picks apart the original tale and carries its dark heart and essence into an entirely new and breath-taking story. In particular, the world building is so creative and immersive. I loved every little detail and the way they built to create this rich, intricate tapestry that captured every one of my senses. This is a world where gods and mortals interact. The mythology was endlessly fascinating and left me desperate for more stories to explore all those little threads. This mortal-deity dynamic is best explored in the relationship Death and Fortune have with Vanja. Owen really digs into this and the imbalance of power present in a way that feels so refreshing, but also brutal and surprising. Also, I loved how the tender threads of romance are also explored so well, but in a way that definitely compliments rather than overshadows the story.
Little Thieves is a gorgeous book that you’ll end up offering your heart too.