Published: October 19, 2021
Genre(s): young adult, fantasy, romance, retelling
Read as: hardback (owned), audio (Scribd)
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. (Goodreads)
So often with YA fantasy, each new book release feels like a tired recreation of the one before it. You begin to feel like every plot has been charted, every twist unraveled. Perhaps you begin to think that the YA fantasy genre no longer holds any appeal for you and you start looking elsewhere for your literary entertainment.
To be honest, I had started to fell this way from time to time but this book sucked me back in.
Little Thieves may have some of the same tropes that YA fantasy usually contains but it was a story that took me on a wild ride.
Vanja…well, Vanja was a trip. As a child she was given to the gods Death and Fortune by her birth mother. The gods love her in their own way, but don’t completely understand humans and expect Vanja to serve one of them for the rest of her life. Vanja wants more than that out of life, as she should. So, she goes about getting her freedom with theft and subterfuge. This poor girl’s life absolutely falls apart and watching how she copes with it (and sometimes doesn’t cope) was heart breaking. Even when you knew she was in the wrong, you felt for her. Seeing how she grew and changed through her experiences by the end was really spectacular and I love her as a character.
The support characters in this book were also fantastic. They were all very distinct and had their own clear motivations. So often the side characters in stories just blur together because they are there only to compliment the main character and don’t have stories of their own to tell. Everyone in this book had their own history, their own personality. Watching them collide, cooperate, and often fight was joyful. They felt real and fleshed out in the best of ways.
Overall, I very much enjoyed this book. The story was interesting and kept me engaged. The characters with all of their triumphs and failures tugged at my feelings. This story also feels like a stand-alone so if you are more of a single book reader and not a series person this would work well for you. It also has enough set up and hints that if you are more of a series person you will enjoy picking up the next book. I, for one, will definitely be continuing with the series.