Little Thieves by Margaret Owen


Goodreads: Little Thieves
Series: Little Thieves #1
Age Category: Young Adult
Source: Purchased
Published: October 19, 2021

Official Summary

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.

Star Divider


Apparently I like Margaret Owen’s books so much that I have a tendency simply to never review them at all. I loved The Merciful Crow but never reviewed it, and I was going to give up on writing anything for Little Thieves, as well — except I put it on my list of best YA books I’ve read this year, which feels like it merits a full review. Owen’s books are complex, well-written, and unique, the kind of books I remember long after I’ve read them and that I immediately think of when I’m coming up with ideas for books I want to buy as gifts.

Little Thieves is a retelling of “The Goose Girl,” but from the perspective of the girl who steals the rightful princess’s identity. Owen’s talent is such that, while readers have to recognize that Vanja is technically wrong and has a lot of flaws that extend beyond “stealing someone’s identity and practically leaving her for dead,” they’ll also see Vanja’s point of view. In some ways, one wants to believe it makes sense that she does the things that she does, that they might be wrong but . . . are they extremely wrong?

There is, of course, also a lot of action in the book, and anyone who loves complex fantasy that mixes intrigue and magic with a badass skilled protagonist who gets things done that no one else can will find exactly what they want in Little Thieves. Add lushly descriptive writing, some family relationship drama, quotable philosophical bits, and a love interest both clever and a little awkward, and this feels like the perfect read.

If you love fantasy, any fantast (you don’t need to be a YA fan), this is definitely a book to look out for.

5 stars

8 thoughts on “Little Thieves by Margaret Owen

  1. Mary Drover says:

    This book was truly phenomenal. I ended up putting it on my top ten reads list well before I even started reading it because I just knew it would be amazing, but it rocketed right up to the number two spot on my list, and I should have known that, too, because damn. There was not a single thing in this book that I didn’t wholeheartedly love.


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