Cover of Little Thieves, featuring a group of three women, two blue and one red, a figure wearing a deer skull looms above

About the Book

Title: Little Thieves (Little Thieves #1)
Published: 2021
Series: Little Thieves
Swoonworthy Scale: 8

Cover Story: The Fates
BFF Charm: Natalie Imbruglia
Talky Talk: The Other Side of the Story
Bonus Factor: Gods and Goddesses
Factor: Series Starter21
Relationship Status: Wedding Bells?

Content Warning: Little Thieves contains discussions of child abuse and neglect, abusive environments, and the trauma of a past attempted sexual assault. (Owen herself wrote a more expansive author’s note/warning at the start of the novel, but these are the main themes to know about before dive in.)

Cover Story: The Fates

After reading the book, I know that the figures on this cover are all different people/entities. But before reading, I thought that the three in the background might be different parts of the one in the foreground. (In a way, this is sort of correct?) Regardless, I really love how all of the elements combine, from the flowers to the rubies to the gold filigree; everything down to the tiniest detail was thought out and thought through. It’s a truly lovely cover.

The Deal: 

When Vanja was small, her mother gave her to the gods Fortune and Death because she was convinced that Vanja, as the thirteenth-born, was bad luck. Raised as their goddaughter, Vanja knows more than most about the workings of the world. Especially what it means to be a servant—a lesser citizen. So when she glimpsed a way out, Vanja took it, disguising herself as a princess and pulling a half-Robin Hood to fund her eventual escape. 

But Vanja’s thievery isn’t the only suspect activity happening in the territory of Bóern. And as the proverb goes, “The little thief steals gold, but the great one steals kingdoms; and only one goes to the gallows.”

BFF Charm: Natalie Imbruglia

BFF charm with Natalie Imbruglia's face.

Vanja is a take-no-names, take-no-prisoners, feel-no-feelings kind of badass who’s looking out for one person: herself. I like her for those reasons alone, even if I don’t feel like those qualities would make her a good friend. But she’s also got a heart of—if not gold, a slightly shiny metal—hidden underneath her rough, spiky exterior, which makes me think she actually would be the best kind of friend: someone who’s unflinchingly loyal when you’ve proven yourself deserving. She’s also super snarky and surprisingly fragile, which seem like disparate traits but make her feel honest and real.

Swoonworthy Scale: 8

I didn’t expect (although I hoped) for the romance that happens in Little Thieves to, well, happen. Vanja’s not one to rush into a relationship of any sort, and she’s wholly inexperienced in the realm of swoon. But sometimes feelings sneak up on a girl, and when they’re slow burn flavored with a large dash of enemistry, you know I’m in.

Talky Talk: The Other Side of the Story

Little Thieves is a retelling/remix of the fairytale “The Goose Girl,” except told from the perspective of the “wicked” maid. I’m not familiar with the tale, but I didn’t need to be to enjoy this story, as Owen weaves magic, gods, and fantastical elements with strong-willed characters and her trademark irreverent humor to create a story that feels fully her own. And although Little Thieves is something new, Owen doesn’t forget the tale’s roots and includes seven different fairy tale-esque stories at the start of each section of the novel told from a narrator’s perspective—giving them the proper “tale” feel but tying into the story without interruption. 

I’ve enjoyed everything of Owen’s I’ve read so far, and she only seems to get better with each book.

Bonus Factor: Gods and Goddesses

A group of Greek gods from the Percy Jackson movies sit on their thrones on Mount Olympus

They’re tertiary characters, but Fortune, Death, and the other gods that pop up in Little Thieves are delightful versions of the entities most of us think we’re familiar with. Owen’s imagination is so dang impressive.

Factor: Series Starter

Stack of YA book series

I don’t particularly feel like Little Thieves needs a sequel (or multiple), but I am absolutely not going to complain about getting to revisit this universe and hang out with these friends again in the future.

Relationship Status: Wedding Bells?

I knew I liked you from the very start, Book, but I felt myself falling—hard—long before our time together was over. I’m so grateful you’re in my life.

Literary Matchmaking

The Merciful Crow (The Merciful Crow #1)

Owen’s debut series is also filled with amazing characters, irreverent humor, engaging world-building, and some slightly unexpected but appreciated swoon.

The Boneless Mercies

April Genevieve Tucholke’s also known for her badass lady-led retellings, this one of Beowulf.

The Only Thing Worse Than Me Is You

Anderson’s books aren’t fantasy, but they have a similar sense of humor and playful way of retelling known stories, especially those made famous by Shakespeare.

FTC Full Disclosure: I received a copy of this book from  Henry Holt & Company, but got neither a private dance party with Tom Hiddleston nor money in exchange for this review. Little Thieves is available now.

Mandy (she/her) is a manager at a tech company who lives in Austin, TX, with her husband, son, and dogs. She loves superheroes and pretty much any show or movie with “Star” in the name.