Cover Image: Little Thieves

Little Thieves

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Member Reviews

DNF @35% unrated

I feel like I should have loved this book, a dark tale (goose girl retelling apparently) with morally grey characters. But I didn't connect at all for the first 10% and so I put it down for a week and thought to pick it up in another frame of mind.

Fast forward to a week later and I pushed, pushed, pushed to read another 25% and feel nothing. I am a husk of unfeeling about this book (apart from the mild body horror which I hated). I can't gel with the MC despite her intelligence and slyness, the rest of the characters are unpleasant apart from the mouse/cat/raven/wolf.

I declare a throwing in of the towel and an admission that this is probably me not you.

Thanks to Hodder Books for the early review copy and gratitude despite my unusual dislike of their fantasy offerings.
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YOU’LL LOVE THIS IF YOU LOVE…

Morally grey characters
Magical elements
Gods/goddesses
Fate
Exploration of morality
Romance
LGBTQ+ Representation
Princesses and classical fairytale elements
MY THOUGHTS:

From the very first page I knew I was going to absolutely love the protagonist of this standalone. Vanja is a morally grey thief, adopted daughter of Fate and Death and former servant of the Princess Giselle (whose identity she has stolen). If that isn’t enough to know about her, she is also witty and slightly hilarious and also wickedly smart. I absolutely loved her character from the very beginning. She only got better as the story went on as she explored morality, guilt and grew so much.

I really enjoyed that the magic in this story was subtle and not the defining characteristic of the main characters in the story. Vanja, as the daughter of Fate and Death, has smaller abilities that allow her to use her parents’ powers to her own benefit, and she often does. At first because she wants something, and as the story progresses because she wants to help others. Other than that, the magic in this world is very much a give and take system. All magic has a cost which means it isn’t used to get characters out of dangerous situations without there being a consequence which I liked.

As well as Vanja I also really enjoyed the other characters in the story. We meet Giselle quite quickly into the story and she becomes quite a fixture in Vanja’s trials as she tries to break the curse that has been cast upon her. There’s also Ragne who is the daughter of the Goddess that curses Vanja and is trying to help her whilst also learning about what it means to be human. Emeric is also key to the story. A kind of magical investigator who is investigating the thefts that Vanja has been committing whilst masquerading as Giselle. I loved how these characters’ stories connected and intertwined and the relationships between each of these characters.

I won’t say much about Margrave Adalbrecht von Regenbach. He’s a despicable human being and one of the best antagonists I’ve read. I really enjoyed his part in the story.

There are so many little details in this story that weave together to create such a fantastical fairytale tapestry that consists of amazing characters and interweaving plots, but if I tell you much more I might as well just buy you the book!

WHY IT WAS A 4-STAR READ FOR ME:

Although at times the plot of this book was slow and took me a while to get through, I never felt the need to put this book down or to one side for a while. I did have to slog through some chapters, but I always loved Vanja’s character and all the little details and even the longer moments felt like they were really leading to somewhere. I think the story could have been a little more refined to be a bit more pacey, but it was still a really great fairytale retelling that kept all the best parts of the classic fairytale genre, whilst also crafting a true modern day fantasy fairytale.
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Although this was one of my most anticipated books this year I sadly couldn’t continue with it. I found there were too many plots going on that it made it hard to keep up and it became slightly confusing and hard to keep hold of the point.
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Thank you to the publisher for providing me with an e-arc in exchange for an honest review. 

This is one of the best retelling I've read recently. Vanja, a 16 year old has been impersonating the Princess Gisele for over an year now. She has it all figured out but her fortune quickly proves to be tricky thing. She has little time to decide whether she chooses to serve either of her Godmothers: Fortune or Death. To make matters worse, she is being hunted and her impersonation of the princess seems to be coming to an end. What she does to get out of this seemingly impossible situation and loveable characters makes this story very engaging. Vanja is one of my favourite anti-hero main characters. Her selfishness, fears, and desires are something so painfully real that I fell in love with her character. I was angry and sad on her behalf. The writing was easy to follow with an interesting world building. I read this book in one sitting. All the characters were well developed with Emeric and Ragne being my favourite. The romance was so cute but I did wish to see more angst but this story was not just about romance anyway. I feel the author did a marvelous job in weaving the story and keeps the reader entertained throughout it all. All in all, this is a fantasy that readers will surely enjoy. I highly recommend this.
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Thank you to netgalley & the publisher for allowing me early access to this book!

If I hadn’t already if known the author the synopsis alone would’ve convinced me to pick this book up!

A truly amazing take on a lesser known fairytale ‘the goose girl’ what a fabulously written book! 

Deceptive maids, princesses and let us not forget death! Who wouldn’t want to read!
I 100% recommend this book! I absolutely  loved it!
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This was a spell bounding thrilling read that hade hooked throughout! The plot was very intense and kepte reading. The characters were very well done especially of Vanja. She had many layers and depth which made her an interesting protagonist. The writing and prose were amazing! Overall this was an amazing read that I would definitely recommend!
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Thank you to Hodder & Stoughton for providing me eARC of this book via NetGalley 


Little Thieves is one of the best retellings I’ve read and certainly the best Goose Girl retelling! 

This book is so much fun. We follow Vanja, the former maid to Princess Gisele, who now is impersonating the princess herself. I absolutely love books with anti-hero main characters and Vanja did not disappoint. She is selfish, greedy and mean to almost everyone, but the circumstances she finds herself in force her to change, which for her is really difficult, but the author did really good job showing us how, bit by bit, she becomes the person she should be while not losing all her wicked ways in the process. It was really amazing. And the secondary characters were also very good written, I liked everything about Emeric, Ragna and even real Gisele. The romance was a slow burn and took quite a long time to develop, but all the scenes in the second part of the book between Vanja and Emeric were worth the long wait. They were so adorable together! 

I really enjoyed this book and definitely reccommend it to everyone. I did not much like this author’s other book, Merciful Crow, but I am so glad I gave this book a chance because this one is simply perfect! Can’t wait to see what the author writes next.
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From chapter one, I knew this was going to be a five star read. Margaret Owen crafts a witty, enchanting, and addictive tale, I never wanted it to end. Little Thieves is a fantastic and satisfying standalone, following an anti-hero seeking freedom and revenge. Owen takes various tropes readers know and love – heists, enemies to lovers, found family, enchantment and hidden heirs – and weaves them into an original tale.

I fell in love with the writing style. Vanja – the main character – would stop at various moments and address the reader, allowing us to gain insights into various plot points and characters. Each part began with a tale, creating an enchanting atmosphere.

Vanja was a perfectly written main character. She was flawed but loveable, readers know when she was in the wrong, and yet you cannot help but root for her. She is a good character who has been dealt bad cards, and in retaliation, robs the rich in order to save enough money to escape the clutches of her godmothers, Death and Fortune.

The supporting cast of characters only enhances Vanja and the world. Emeric, Ragne and Gisele, the characters are truly the highlight of this book. Emeric was a particular favourite of mine, and I cannot wait for you all to meet him.

I loved the magic system in this book, and all the various and terrifying mystical creatures. There are gods and cursed, and a shapeshifter, all clearly explained and fitting into the story perfectly, the plot flowed so well.

The character development felt so natural, there were no unrealistic jumps in through, it was a slow, rocky road that didn’t always go straight, and I loved the realism within this fictional world.

The romance as well was natural, balanced. If you liked the romance in Serpent & Dove, you’ll love this one too.

Little Thieves was outstanding, addictive, charming and unique. I absolutely loved this book, and by the end of chapter three, I was texting friends and telling them to pre-order it. This is a book I will think about for a long time and one that I now call one of my favourite books.
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★ I received an ARC by the publisher via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review ★

It did take me a little bit of time to get into the story, but once I'd finally sussed out what was going on I was easily engaged from then on. Vanja is the perfect antiheroine - she's so likeable and easy to connect with, despite being generally abrasive and untrusting with questionable morals. She comes across as inherently selfish at first, but as the book progresses you learn more about her childhood and what she's endured, and you can see her for what she truly is - a survivor. Giselle also has some fantastic character development, finally learning to stand up for herself and go for what she wants. There were some witty comments thrown in throughout that kept me chuckling, and all in all it was a thoroughly entertaining read. This is the first book by Margaret Owen I've read, and I'll be certain to pick up some of her others in the future!
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With its unique plot and fantastic characters, LITTLE THIEVES is hands down a 5-star read

LITTLE THIEVES is one of the best books I have read this year. The storyline is so unique, I don’t know how Owen came up with it, but it gripped me from the very first page. Both the world-building and storyline were fantastic, and the characters were very refreshing. This book is something new. I don’t think I have ever read a young adult book that’s quite like LITTLE THIEVES.

I’m obsessed by this cover. It’s absolutely stunning.

I think this book is amazing. I was very surprised by the plot of LITTLE THIEVES. I was a bit scared because I wasn’t all too sure this kind of plot was going to work for a young adult book, but oh how it did.

The characters in LITTLE THIEVES are each so unique. What I especially loved about them is the fact that they aren’t all ‘good people’ or what it is to be considered a good person. I’m a huge fan of the pairings in the book, they felt very natural and I do ship them all. I also especially loved the friendships in LITTLE THIEVES.

Margaret Owen is in my opinion underrated. I have read her first two books and I really liked them, but I feel like not a lot of people have read THE MERCIFUL CROW series. I absolutely love her writing style. It is so addictive. Vanja – our antiheroine – is a selfish character who only looks out for herself (because no one else looks out for her), and Owen knows how to write her in such a manner that you can’t help but love her. Vanja had a complicated childhood which makes her very sceptical of everyone and everything. But even though she made wrong choices in LITTLE THIEVES, I understood where they were coming from.

I like that LITTLE THIEVES is a standalone, but I’m also sad about it because I really want to see more of this world and these characters.

Would I recommend it?
Yes, a thousand times yes! Go preorder LITTLE THIEVES or go buy it once it comes out.

Review will be posted on my blog, Instagram and Goodreads on Monday 6th of September
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Little Thieves is a loose retelling of the Goose Girl, and whilst I do not know much about the original tale there’s definitely little snippets that are fairly accurate to it. There’s a talking horse head at one point, and the entire story feels fairytale-like at times due to Margaret Owen’s writing. 

The magic and fantasy lies closely with the inclusion of gods in the story. Fortune and Death are Vanja’s godmothers, and there’s a plethora of Small Gods that we hear about with some more that we encounter in the story. The Small Gods are both good and bad for the people in this world, and gods differ per culture. If Vanja could raise enough money to leave to another country, then she is potentially exempt from the deals she’s made with gods in hers. This distinction made the Gods and their system even more interesting.

One such god was Eiswald, the Lady of the Forest. Her inclusion brings about the start of the story and is what pushes Vanja into becoming not just the antagonist of Gisele’s story but the hero of her own. She also acts as a contrast from Vanja’s godmothers as she treats her own daughter, Ragne, much better than they did. 

Our main character Vanja is well rounded as the villain of the tale, whilst being the hero of the actual story. Her history is explored so we fully understand (and sympathise) with the actions she takes, and she’s written to be likeable due to her wit and humour. Despite the “evil servant” taking the place of the princess and being a high-profile thief, you do end up rooting for her to succeed. Her overall aim is to escape to another country to find happiness, and most of all freedom which you want her to gain. 

Then we have Gisele, the princess that Vanja stole from. Her story arc shows off the classism in this world, and the entitlement gained through her upbringing. As the story gets more high stakes, we see how Gisele has adapted to her new life, and whilst resentment is there she’s not unhappy that she doesn’t get to marry a prince and live “happily ever after”. Gisele also works as a tool to show motivation for Vanja’s actions, as well as a reminder for those actions. 

The relationships between characters are wonderfully written also, I appreciated the strength of female friendships which help Vanja overcome some of her bigger problems. Ragne is the daughter of Eiswald, the Lady of the Forest who places a curse on Vanja to turn to gemstones. As the story unfolds, Ragne learns more of what it means to be human and finds that she loves Vanja and other characters in the story.

Speaking of relationships, we can’t not talk about Junior Prefect Emeric Conrad. Being the one to investigate around Vanja, he becomes a vital part of the team once they realise how many other bad things are happening. He’s our introduction to the Prefects who are like magical law enforcement, and a bit more skilled than the local security at identifying threats. The overall goal of Prefects is to call the Little Gods down to judge criminals for their crimes. 

Then there’s Gisele’s betrothed, Margrave Adalbrecht von Regenbach. Adalbrecht is an awful human being, only amplified as the story goes on and we learn more about his actions. As with Vanja, he does get given backstory which tries to explain his behaviour, but as he’s a much less likable character it’s harder to emphasise with his actions. 

Adalbrecht brings some of the more horrible magic into the story. From the trippy hallucinogenic poison, Augur’s Tears to the nightmarish Nachtmahrs. The Augur’s Tears link closely with another low god, Truth, and the writing as it peels away the present so Vanja could see history (and horrors) of the rooms she were in were so engaging.

Some of the more fantastical magics were the necklace enchantment allowed Vanja to take Gisele’s place, Emeric’s magic that he learnt from the prefects and the small pieces of magic that the little Gods perform. Overall these little uses of magic help make this world more whimsical. 

As a whole I adored Little Thieves and would recommend it to any fantasy lover. It was a wonderful story with interesting characters, world building and magic systems. Perfect for anyone who’s read Margaret Owen‘s previous books like The Merciful Crow.
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Without revealing too much, this book is perfect for those who love dark fairytales and strong female protagonists. 

Vanja was an incredible main character to follow. The story is told from her first person perspective, which meant that you really get to know her as the protagonist. She was very stubborn and sometimes manipulative, and at the beginning is fairly self-centred and materialistic. But it meant that she went through some great character development, transitioning from a thief who has always had to survive on her own terms, to a caring young woman who looks after her friends and family. She was actually a really funny character at times, and there were some great interactions between her and the other characters. I also loved her relationship with another character, which was actually quite slow burn and really satisfying to see develop. The love interest was such a sweet guy, and it was great to see a more wholesome and intelligent character being the love interest.

The setting and plot worked well together, as the world had this dark magic vibe which I really loved. It had the atmosphere to me like a Grimm fairytale, especially with the the way that each part opened with a traditional-style story. The magic system was really interesting too, although I would have liked more exploration of this because one of the characters did have magical abilities. But as it wasn’t the main focus of the story, that didn’t affect my enjoyment. I also really loved the Gods and lore aspect, which again added to that fairytale feeling. 

This book really encapsulates an autumnal and wintery fantasy story that is perfect to pick up as much of the world transitions into colder months.
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16 year old Vanja Schmidt is the goddaughter of Death and Fortune - and has one week to decide which god to serve for the rest of her life. Determined to escape her fate, Vanja is posing as a princess to con her way into riches. But a heist gone wrong leaves her cursed, law enforcement are closing in, and the deadline looms ever closer...

This is an action packed YA fantasy, and a retelling of The Goose Girl by Brothers Grimm. The world building is rich, and the protagonist is a snarky antiheroine surrounded by shades of grey characters and a cinnamon bun love interest. There's demisexual and sapphic representation, and quirky gods who don't quite understand humanity.

Pacing is a little uneven, but there is more than enough adventure to hold my attention. I enjoy the mash up of heist and whodunit tropes, and the enemies-to-lovers subplot. Ever-scheming Vanja never lets a setback discourage her, determined to forge her own path. Side character Ragne is a standout - what can I say, other than I'm a sucker for shape-shifters.

While I enjoyed the novel, I did have a few quibbles. Vanja is almost too ill fated, Princess Giselle gets off too easy, and the villain is one dimensional. I'd have liked Vanja to have one redeeming friendship in her life (Ragne is sweet, but gets sidetracked with someone else). Side note: I've seen German speakers critique the language, but I don't speak German so can't comment.

 READ THIS IF...
You like Jay Kristoff's snark, Six of Crows heists, and fairytales. I haven't read the author's other work but am now tempted to now!

❗Trigger warnings for child abuse/neglect, and attempted assault.
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It was a bit shaky in the beginning, but this really grew on me. I loveddd the characters, Vanja is so well developed and funny. I loved reading about her and the side characters -Emeric, Gisele, Ragne, the characters made this novel great. 

Demisexual? Slow burn but sooo worth it. 

The plot was good, there were some twists and turns and the mystery of the novel felt gripping. I enjoyed the fairy tale aspect of it, it felt mystical. Enjoyed the short stories at the beginning of each part. 

The villain was a bit obvious and I didn’t feel any sympathy for him at all. 

Loved the use of the low gods- Fortune, Death, Time, Justice etc. Magical! 

I have so many highlighted quotes! 

4/5 ⭐️
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My Rating: 4.5 Stars


Vanja was going through many issues. She was traded from one parent to another and then left alone in Castle Falbirg. She hated being a servant, not because of the workload but because of the way Falbirgs treated their servants was cruel and severe. She was 13 when she was whipped for a theft she didn’t commit. It haunts her in her dreams and she was never able to forgive the Falbirgs for that.
In the book, nobody actually knows the real Vanja until the second act. Though she stole Gisele’s life, she never really wanted to be someone else. She wanted to be accepted by her godmothers as a daughter and not as a servant and wanted to be seen.
Vanja was wronged by the Falbirgs. 
Vanja wanted justice. She wanted a friend, and a mother who never abandoned her. 
She never escaped her fears and saw them reflected in the mirror. As much as she hated to be subservient, she was inevitably finding herself playing the part of the perfect maid to Gisele or others. She has trust issues, and I don’t blame her for that. But her past shaped her into a strong, independent person and she wanted to never owe anyone a single penny again. That’s when she became a real thief and started to collect money to pay her debt.
She was often called selfish, greedy, and unpleasant. But I understood where that was coming from. She was looking for herself when almost everybody in her life left her and made her feel like a burden in their lives.
She fought everyone who stood in her way and resort to questionable choices but was unapologetic about it.
I liked her stubbornness and humor. It spoke about her character. But though she sounded obnoxious, I liked her as a character. She showed growth and remained herself throughout.
The romance was an unexpected bonus and a good depiction of enemie-to-lovers trope that I rarely see in Fantasy these days.
Besides the ending feeling rushed, this is one brilliant Fantasy.
Little Thieves reads the story of a character who fights against all odds (from mortals and Low Gods) to find her ticket to freedom.I thoroughly loved reading this book and recommend it.
----

 I can't believe Vanja pulled out a trick that outdid the margrave's year-long plans. If you love heists and enemies-to-lovers in YA fanatsy, then this should be on your TBR.

(Thanks to the author, publisher and NetGalley for the ARC)
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OMG!! Such a well written, brilliant book!! Vanja is a terrific protagonist. Her relationship with everyone is GREAT, especially her godmothers. Such a fun book (of course, it is. The protagonist is a  thief!) This is a very loose retelling of goose girl where the villain is the protagonist and she SHINES in it. She is chased by a Junior prefect for her crimes and their dynamic is hilarious!! Of   course, there's more to this story - a problem larger than Vanja's thievery, intensifying mysteries, gteat friendships and heartbreaks.
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Little Thieves is not a little book - over 500 pages - but I read it pretty much in a single sitting because I just couldn't put it down. It starts off as what seems like a fun fantasy romp, with the MC wonderfully morally grey, verging on anti-hero. She's competent, driven and smart, and the first person narration style fits her perfectly; it took me a little while to get used to her irreverent commentary on pretty much everyone and everything she encounters, but once I did it added a nice layer of cynical humour. 

Then the plot doesn't so much twist as it evolves and before you know it you're caught up in a mesh of intrigue, magic and danger with consequences that are still very personal for the MC but have much wider ramifications and start dragging in people she cares about - no matter how little she actually WANTS to care about them! What I particularly loved about both the plot evolution and the MC's character growth was that they didn't feel forced, or sudden. Vanja remained completely true to herself throughout, and while her motives and actions got a bit less anti- and a bit more hero, she never lost that vein of snark and drive and confidence. It's a tough balance to pull off and I don't often see it done as well as it was here.

The side characters were all complex and compelling, the wordlbuilding was subtle and immersive, but really, this is Vanja's book and she sold it completely.
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💛🌸BOOK REVIEW TIME🌸💛

Thank you to the publisher and the author for the #GIFTED PR product copy of this book. All thoughts and opinions are my own. 

This was a marvellous read, not at all something I’d usually go for but I wanted to try something new and this really did the trick. The writing was lovely—flowing and beautiful. I found the characters likeable and sufficiently fleshed out and believable. It was a wonderful surprise to read. 
A lovely play on the maiden-mother-crone archetype of pagan religion. Very clever.

I honestly do recommend it.
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DNF'd at 20% due to Kindle formatt being difficult to read.
What I did read of the book I really enjoyed, I loved the Gods, Germanic lore and atmosphere and was intrigued by the story.
Will buy a finished copy when released.
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Once upon a time, on the coldest night of midwinter, in the darkest heart of the forest, Death and Fortune came to a crossroads.’

Sometimes you finish a book and are immediately hungry for more - Little Thieves is one of those books. Vanya is a thief. Her otherworldly mothers demand payment for their care, and Vanya decides to steal her future back. By stealing Princess Gisele’s life.

Vanya is hilarious. Sassy and strong, she’s everything you want in a female lead. Throughout the book we learn a lot about her character and why she is the way she is. We watch her grow and change. And maybe we cry a little with her or scream at the pages because she is missing what’s right in front of her.

The romance is everything. Kind of enemies-to-lovers, except they’re the type of enemies that from the BEGINNING have sass with ✨spicy✨undertones. The way their relationship evolves is so realistic.

The LGBTQ+ diversity is on point. We have a mentioned gay couple, a prominent sapphic couple and a genderfluid character. All of these representations are so wonderfully dropped in - they’re not plot points or made into big discussions, just a simple my husband and I. The genderfluid rep was my fave, though only small, I loved how the characters dealt with it.

I adored this book! This is definitely one of my favourites this month - it’s a beautifully crafted book. Despite being over 500 pages I devoured this in two days because I couldn’t put it down. Highly recommend for fans of fantasy, heists, magic and enemies to lovers 👀

Thank you for an advanced copy of the book in return for a honest review.
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