ARC Review: Little Thieves by Margaret Owen

*I was sent a copy of Little Thieves in exchange for an honest review. Thank you to Hodder & Stoughton and Margaret Owen*


Once upon a time, there was a horrible girl . . .

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 fiancé, 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.


It definitely took me quite a while to get into Little Thieves, however, when that moment finally came I was hooked. The pacing at the beginning felt very slow and I found it hard to concentrate on what was actually happening. Although I did really enjoy the chapters at the start where Vanja was stealing from a party of rich people. 

I had never heard of ‘The Goose Girl’ before reading this book, but it is a fairytale that I would like to read now. After doing research on the original work I can see all of the times that Little Thieves took inspiration from it. I especially liked that the princess’s horse had the same name in tales. It’s the little things like that, that make me adore retellings. 

The cover is what first drew me into this book. Just look at it and tell me it wouldn’t do the same for you. I’m disgustingly shallow when it comes to covers and this is one of the prettiest I have ever seen. Luckily the insides match the outside. This is not just a pretty cover, but also a great read. 

The complexity of this story and its characters were so intricate that you just could not predict what was going to happen. Just when I thought the story was coming to its end another twist would appear and you’d find yourself in the middle of even more action. 

I loved how casual the inclusion of LGBTQ+ characters was. Even though this seemed to be set way back (I can’t place an exact time) there was no issue with the characters being in same-sex relationships, as there obviously shouldn’t be, and how their partners were mentioned in passing with no song or dance about it. This book showed great LGBTQ+ representation, something of which you don’t come across often in YA fantasy. 

The worldbuilding of this novel was brilliant and with each tiny detail, the world became more and more interesting. I loved the lore surrounding the lower gods and magic and how the whole story didn’t revolve around its magic system. I find that a lot of fantasy books often rely on the magic side to build the story, however, that wasn’t really the case here. The magic was definitely a large factor for the story and its progression, however, it wasn’t what defined the book. The story could have still been interesting even without some of its magical elements and I think that is very impressive. 

Little Thieves was a great retelling that you could enjoy even if, like me, you have never heard of the original fairy tale. Although it was a very slow start for me, I definitely still enjoyed this book and will be giving it 4 out of 5 stars. 

Rating: 4 out of 5.

Like this post? Why not read this one too: What I Watched: September 2021


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