This very special Tuesday, I have not one but two fantastic new releases I need to highlight. These books are two of my most anticipated titles of 2021 from two incredibly talented authors, and together, they make an ideal double-feature for readers who enjoy retellings of fairy tales or the classics. Let’s dive in!
It’s a lovely morning in the village, and you are a horrible goose girl…
Little Thieves by Margaret Owen is a retelling of the Grimm fairy tale The Goose Girl, in which a maid steals her mistress’s identity so she can become a princess. In Little Thieves, that maid has a lot more to her than meets the eye. Vanja’s formidable wits — and the tricks she learned from her godmothers, Fortune and Death — have allowed her to become a notorious jewel thief right under the noses of the aristocracy, who would never suspect that she is anything but one of their own. Complications arise when a monster from her past, a nosy investigator, and an angered god threaten to destroy her life — a life that was never hers to begin with.
There isn’t a way to sum up how good Little Thieves is without writing a full academic essay on the impeccable piece of literary craft Margaret Owen has achieved here. Little Thieves is a balancing act between a high-stakes heist novel, a sizzling romance, a raw emotional journey through trauma and healing, and a richly detailed fantasy where pawnbrokers and hedge witches rub elbows with the gods.
If you loved Six of Crows or The Gilded Wolves or any of the works of Gail Carson Levine, Little Thieves is a book you are going to read and re-read for years.
In Within These Wicked Walls by Lauren Blackwood, The Exorcist comes to Thornfield Hall in a nail-biting, feminist retelling of Jane Eyre.
A debtera like Andromeda spends her days facing her demons, literally. By crafting powerful amulets, she can drive out evil spirits and earn a healthy living. When her mentor abandons her before she can be licensed, though, she has no choice but to take whatever work she can get, even if it means living in a ruined castle in the middle of the Ethiopian desert with strangers who may be more dangerous than they appear.
I was never a fan of the original Jane Eyre, so this novel was a welcome update to the classic. Andromeda is a self-assured protagonist, and her banter with the love interest — who else but a lonely young man trapped inside a house full of secrets? — is light-hearted and charming.
The appealing romance doesn’t mean this novel isn’t full of darkness, though. Blackwood brings the fascinating (and dangerous) world of a debtera to terrifying life, and horrors fans who crave haunted houses and vengeful spirits will eat this up. Within These Wicked Walls is sure to become a staple of the paranormal gothic genre.
If you decide to purchase one or both of these books because of this review, please consider supporting this blog and independent bookstores by buying through Bookshop. You can find Little Thieves here and Within These Wicked Walls here. I receive a commission on any sales made through these links. You can also love me a tip on Ko-Fi!