Welcome to my stop on the blog tour for Little Thieves by Margaret Owen hosted by TBR & Beyond Tours! This is one of my most anticipated releases of 2021 and, spoiler alert, it did not disappoint! A loose retelling of The Goose Girl, this is a young adult fantasy that blends the magic of a dark fairytale with the excitement of a heist novel. It’s atmospheric, it’s engaging, and it left me feeling like I immediately wanted to re-read it!
Before we get more into this post, though, we must do our thank-yous! Thank you so much to the team at TBR & Beyond Tours for giving me a spot on this one. Thank you to the publisher, Henry Holt & Company, and Netgalley for providing me a free e-ARC in exchange for my participation and an honest review. It is always appreciated and even more so when I ended up loving the book as much as I did! Also, seeming as this is a tour, there are of course quite a few incredible blogger/bookstgrammers that are involved. If you would like to see the schedule so see their awesome content, just click HERE.
Alright, now let’s kick off this tour post!
Top Five Reasons To Read Little Thieves
- Vanja is both a gremlin and an absolute treasure! Do you like your main characters to be smart, cunning, and with a flair for the sarcastic? You’re gonna love Vanja. She makes terrible choices and you find yourself caring about her so much that you just go along for the ride.
- This nails dark, wintery vibes. This is the perfect book to get you in the mood for the later part of the year. The atmosphere is top-notch! NO THOUGHTS, JUST VIBES! (But actually quite a lot of thoughts… we’ll get to that later)
- A dark fairytale at it’s finest. If you like dark fairytales, this is kind of a must-read. It hits that perfect feel of being told a bedtime story but one with a lot more blood and danger. If you’ve ever read German children’s fairytales from back in the day… you know what I mean.
- The LGBTQIA+ representation! This book is filled with it, in both subtle and not-so-subtle ways. I do love a story that casually weaves in LGBT characters because the fact that a woman has a wife should just be normal. Not some big to-do. But I also appreciate the more in-depth look at different communities that fall under the LGBTQIA+ banner.
- The mental health representation! I did not expect this book to make me sob BUT HERE WE ARE. More on that later, but this book does an incredible job of showing how past trauma can affect someone.
- Title: Little Thieves
- Author: Margaret Owen
- Publication date: October 19th, 2021
- Genre: Fantasy
- Age group: Young Adult
- Content/Trigger Warnings: Discussions of child abuse and neglect, abusive environments, trauma, sexual assault (past), blood, violence
“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.“
About the Author
Born and raised at the end of the Oregon Trail, Margaret Owen first encountered an author in the wild in fourth grade. Roughly twenty seconds later, she decided she too would be an author, the first of many well-thought-out life decisions.
The career plan shifted frequently as Margaret spent her childhood haunting the halls of Powell’s Books. After earning her degree in Japanese, her love of espresso called her north to Seattle, where she worked in everything from thrift stores to presidential campaigns. The common thread between every job can be summed up as: lessons were learned.
Fortunately, it turned out that fourth-grade Margaret was onto something. She now spends her days wrestling disgruntled characters onto the page, and negotiating a long-term hostage situation with her two monstrous cats. (There is surprisingly little difference between the two.) In her free time, she enjoys exploring ill-advised travel destinations, and raising money for social justice nonprofits through her illustrations.
15 Thoughts While Reading Little Thieves
#1. VANJA, NO
I had a lot of thoughts while reading Little Thieves but this is has to be chief among them 😂 Vanja is a lot of things. She’s smart as a whip, tough as nails, and sarcastic to a fault. But Vanja is also the victim of some pretty intense trauma. She has a lot of learning and un-learning to do and, sometimes, she doesn’t make the best choices. Watching her struggle with who she is and what she wants is heartbreaking at times because you, the reader, can see that she is not the complete gremlin that she presents to the world. She has the capacity to do great things, if she would just get out of her own way. I love her for her strengths, but I think I love her even more for her flaws.
#2. VANJA, YES
I promise all these thoughts won’t be about Vanja! But, when she pulls off a plan, she does it with FLAIR! I love her wit, I love her ability to think two steps ahead, and I love that she does it all in a way that makes it look flawless. The fact that we’re dropped right into one of her heist at the beginning of the story let’s you see how her mind works in the best of ways. And I do love when the underdog bites back.
#3. I love Emeric and he will MOST DEFINITELY be a problem.
I loved pretty much all the characters in this book (bar, ya know, the villains though I do appreciate how well-written they are!) but Emeric is definitely in the top two. He’s such a great foil for Vanja! He’s meticulous, kind, and just as cunning as she is. Which, ya know, she “hates”, but it makes for some wonderful tension. And even better jibes.
#4. Speaking of those jibes…
I was expecting a lot from this book. I was expecting the fairytale vibes. I was expecting the vivid setting. I was expecting the heart-pounding action. I was not expecting to laugh out loud quite so much! And the bits that were always guaranteed to have me cackling were whenever Vanja was describing Emeric. Some favorites:
“All in all, he gives the impression of a collection of billiard cues that unionized to solve crimes.”
“All that time I spent stressing over the looming threat of this day-old breadstick with a thirst for justice…”
“That’s a complete lie, but I’ll be a stone-cold corpse before I concede a point to a sentient fireplace poker with an undeservedly high opinion of itself.”
Just… literal gold 😂
#5. Something else I wasn’t expecting? All the tears.
I mentioned that this has representation of how past trauma can affect someone. And, oof, does it pack a punch. I was just calmly reading, having a great time, and suddenly I was sobbing. It’s just so well-written that you feel Vanja’s hurt, you feel her panic, and you just want to make it all better. I tear up at books quite often, but it’s rare when I actually shed a tear. This hit different, though, cause I had to get myself some tissues. It’s beautifully done and something else I hadn’t really been expecting. Not so much the representation, because Margaret Owen does mention it in her author’s note at the beginning. I wasn’t expecting to be touched by it so deeply and I think that’s a testament to the author’s skill with words.
#6. YES, TALKING ANIMALS, VANJA!
I’m, of course, talking about our resident shapeshifter, Ragne. Ragne is incredible and deserves the world! I loved her character and how protective she was of Vanja. I also loved the fact that she was… just so bad at pretending to be human at first. It’s so interesting watching her develop and grow as the story progresses.
#7. No thoughts, only vibes.
I have another quote for you.
“The torchlight is steady, unmoving, like the flame itself has frozen. And if I look carefully, I can see the crumbling ash of my fortune taking a turn for the worse. There’s no sound but my heartbeat rattling in my ears as the coach door slowly, quietly swings open. Nothing is there.”
I want these creepy vibes all the time, please and thank you! The whole book is filled with moments that just steep you in the atmosphere and I love it. It truly feels like reading a fairytale that warns of all the things that go bump in the night. And the wintery vibes are on point, as well! Grab yourself a blanket and a cup of cocoa because you’re gonna feel like you need something warm and snuggly while reading this.
#8. Seven tales are not enough, dangit
I loved the tales that are interspersed throughout this book! They set up the next few chapters in the best way and really dive home that fairytale feel. I know they eventually needed to come to an end, but I just wanted to keep going!
#9. Gods aren’t great at the whole parenting thing
And, yet, I was incredibly intrigued by the characters of Death and Fortune. You could kind of see how they want to help Vanja, but you can also see how much their “help” is hurting her. It’s interesting to see gods trying to figure out a human on that level. They don’t do a great job of it, but I did enjoy them! They were a fascinating addition to the story.
#10. There are SO MANY GODS
Actually, all the Low Gods were pretty fascinating. I loved that they were sprinkled throughout our world and our concepts, like Time and Truth. It was an incredible piece of world-building that drew me into the story even more.
#11. Speaking of world-building… this was A++
Margaret Owen has a way of crafting her worlds where you are pulled in so quickly, you don’t realize how fast you’ve fallen. I was so wrapped up in the world of Little Thieves and that’s 100% due to how well it was crafted. Even though a world with multiple gods could be confusing, it was explained in such an effortless way that I never felt lost. There’s a lot of border conflict and obscure law dropped into this that, even though it was a bit confusing, you were confused right along with the main characters, so it felt natural.
#12. And can we talk about all the descriptions of food???
This book made me miss German food so much 😩 My family and I lived in Germany for about four and a half years when I was younger and one of the major things I remember is the food. After moving back to the States, we never quite found a place that did it right. I’m still on the hunt and this book doesn’t help that longing!
#13. Can we also talk about the romance?
I love me a slow burn and this was perfection. PERFECTION! Especially considering our two lovebirds are both on the ace spectrum. It was… everything. And it also made me tear up a couple times. What? I’m a big softie 😭
#14. *slaps top of book* This baby can hold so much action!
This book drops you into the action and doesn’t let up until you turn the last page. It’s not always in-your-face fight scenes, though those are incredibly well done. At the beginning of the book, it’s just Vanja pulling off a particularly ingenious heist. But all the action, whether it’s intense fights or Vanja doing Vanja things, keeps you on the edge of your seat. You need to know what’s coming and that makes this such a quick read. For a book that’s over 500 pages, I was surprised how quickly it was over! That’s what happens when a book is so immersive, ya know?
#15. That ending…
Again. Perfection *chef’s kiss*
Final thoughts: This book is, to put it simply, incredible. You want expertly done world-building? Check! You want characters that make you laugh and cry, make you love them and want to strangle them? So many checks! You want dark, wintery vibes that make you want to curl up in blanket while you read? Check! This is the whole package all wrapped up in a fast-paced, edge of your seat story that will somehow leave you both satisfied and wanting more. I already knew I was a fan of Margaret Owen’s writing, but this has cemented the fact that I will read literally anything she writes! If you enjoy young adult fantasy that delves into some hard topics and leaves you feeling like you’ve just floated through the most luxurious fairytale, then I think you would love Little Thieves!