Little Thieves – Margaret Owen

You probably know by now that this is the kind of book that I’ll jump on without hesitation. Especially because the author has been teasing us with her own art of the main characters and Vanja basically looks exactly like me. Even more reason to hype the shit out of this book!

A character image of a red-haired girl with braids smirking, with descriptive text.
Margaret Owen’s character art of Vanja

Many thanks to Kate Keehan and Hodder for sending me an ARC of this wonderful fantasy novel. All opinions are my own.

RELEASE DATE: 05/10/2021


SUMMARY: 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. (from Hodder & Stoughton)

OPINIONS: This is delightful. Vanja made me crack up so much – she is such a fantastic character. One of my favourite scenes is early in the book where she has a conversation with another character over breakfast and uses her breakfast sausage to make him uncomfortable (the story is set in a pseudo-Germany, so the cuisine is very sausage based). Pleeease give me more magic thieves! The dynamics between her and Emric are wonderful, and it’s such a great enemies-to-something more relationship. I could read about them bickering forever. And while the main pairing is m/f, there is a sapphic side-relationship going on that I love.

Really, all of the characters are great. Gisele, the cheated princess isn’t just a boring pastiche but a fully formed character with her own dreams (and not even necessarily all that upset about no longer having to be princess), Death and Fortune, Vanja’s Godmothers, are deliciously wicked. And Ragne, the demon girl sent to keep an eye on her is the most adorable of them all in her chaotic glory. They’ve all got such fairy tale energy while being brilliant characters of their own.

The story is funny and compelling, and I really enjoyed my reading experience. The one thing that did grate on me a bit is the use of a not-quite-German – words that were spelled just that tiny bit different to how I expected them to be written. As a native German speaker, that kept throwing me off, even though I was aware that it was likely intentional (and I’ve since been told that this is actually something that was worked on between ARCs and finished copies). But to end this review on a positive note, Little Thieves has the most brilliant content warning note that I have ever seen. Margaret Owen manages to be considerate and compassionate in just a few words and I love it so much:

If you like fairytale remixes and feisty heroines as much as I do, you can add Little Thieves to your Goodreads here, and pre-order a copy via Bookshop here (affiliate link).

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