Little Thieves

Holt. Oct. 2021. 512p. Tr $18.99. ISBN 9781250191908.
Gr 9 Up–A brash “Goose Girl” retelling from the villain’s point of view by way of Six of Crows. Vanya, the adopted daughter of Death and Fortune, has been impersonating the blonde and beautiful Prinzessin Gisele for the better part of the year. Using the Prinzessin’s status to gain access aristocrats and rob them during high society parties, Vanya acquires a reputation as uncatchable and an alter ego: the Penny Phantom. While trying to steal enough gold to escape her divine godmothers, she accidentally crosses the wrong god during one of her burglaries. The Low God Eiswald curses her to slowly turn into the jewels she loves so much unless she can give back everything she stole—which means finding the real Gisele, not getting caught as the Penny Phantom, and getting out of this curse while all the gods are watching. A cast of fully realized characters are colored by Vanya’s sharp tongue and criminal proclivities, making her a fun, and occasionally unreliable, narrator. Packed with heists, gods, and monsters, the Germanic worldbuilding is easily accessible and readers will love rooting for Owen’s clever antiheroine with ambition. The main cast is white, with diversity in race, gender, and orientation in the supporting characters, including on-the-page queer couples.
VERDICT With Six of Crows and The Cruel Prince as readalikes, this will find an audience anywhere there are fantasy fans. Highly recommended and not to be missed.

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