You guys don’t know the noise I made when I received the email saying that I was lucky enough to get a physical ARC of this book. When my copy arrived, I couldn’t stop jumping around. I loved Margaret Owen’s The Merciful Crow duology; I adore retellings, and The Goose Girl was a fairytale I read a lot as a kid. I think I still have my little copy somewhere. So a very big thank you to Kate Keehan at Hodder and Stoughton for this book. I’m still so very, very happy.
Little Thieves is a retelling of The Goose Girl with a difference. Rather than following the princess, we follow her maid after she’s taken the princess’s place. A lady by day and a thief by night. Vanja has been trying to get her revenge on the rich and get away from there. But when she accidentally steals from a god, she is cursed, and she has just two weeks to figure out how to break her curse.
This book was so much fun. It’s a Germanic inspired fantasy world with creatures from the country’s folklore. Words and the way people refer to each other are clearly Germanic. I loved that this book was so steeped in folklore that I don’t know well. Every now and then, I’d find myself putting the book down to google what things are. And that’s one of my favourite things. It means the author has introduced me to a creature that I don’t know but have made me want to know about them.
I loved the characters in this. Vanja is a complicated character. She’s as much of a gremlin as Margaret Owen says, but you also feel for her. She’s had a difficult past. She does do plenty of bad things, she’s very selfish, and she kind of deserves the curse she gets. But she is actually a good person, and you will love her. This trigger warnings for abuse in this book with her past, but those are in the book.
Vanja is actually demi, as is her love interest, Emeric. The words demisexual or demiromantic aren’t used on the page. But Owen has said on Twitter that this is Vanja’s experience, and it’s clearly Emeric’s too. I loved seeing that. Owen has said that she just wants to fill her worlds with diverse characters, so that makes sense. There’s also a WLW side relationship, but I won’t say who that is.
If you’re looking for a fantasy book with plenty of humour among some very dark scenes and a lot of emotions? This is a great book for that. I laughed a lot, my heart hurt plenty of times, and I seriously struggled to put it down. Something else I loved was that the clue for this book before it was announced as being a UK release reminded me of Spellcheck DND. A DND podcast DMed by Owen with a bunch of YA authors playing. The clue was a goose with a knife in this book. Fitting for this book…and something that happened in the podcast. Also, within this book a place is mentioned which sounds like a Germanic version of a tavern from the podcast. You can bet I laughed out loud when I spotted that.
I did really enjoy The Merciful Crow duology… but I loved Little Thieves SO MUCH MORE. This book is by far the favourite thing I’ve read by Owen and one of my favourite books so far this year. It’s definitely a book I’ll probably be rereading when it’s actually released, and I completely adored it.
And I’m certain you all will too.
If you’re looking for morally grey characters, dark humour and a whole lot of fun, this book is for you.
Title: Little Thieves
Author: Margaret Owen
Age Range: Young Adult
Publisher: Hodder and Stoughton
Release Date: 19/10/21