Kids' Indie Next pick for November/December!
Amazon Best Book of October 2021!
A scrappy maid must outsmart both palace nobles and Low Gods in a new YA fantasy by Margaret Owen, author of the Merciful Crow series.
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.
Margaret Owen, author of The Merciful Crow series, crafts a delightfully irreverent retelling of “The Goose Girl” about stolen lives, thorny truths, and the wicked girls at the heart of both.
In this epic fantasy rooted in Germanic myth and culture, Owen (The Faithless Hawk) reimagines "The Goose Girl" as a magic-infused caper part heist, part adventure, with a slow-burning romance at its heart. Desperate to escape the competing claims of her godmothers, the Low Gods of Death and Fortune, 16-year-old Vanja uses an enchanted pearl necklace to rob the Almandy Empire's nobility as the Penny Phantom. But when her thefts offend the wrong god, Vanja is cursed to perish by her own greed unless she makes amends for it. Meanwhile, the clock is ticking on her imminent marriage to the warmongering Margrave Adalbrecht von Reigenbach even as insightful Junior Prefect Emeric Conrad arrives to investigate and arrest the Penny Phantom. With nowhere to turn, Vanja must choose her plans and allies carefully, including a feral shape-shifter and the real Princess Gisele, who's been living in squalor ever since Vanja stole her identity a year ago. Vanja and Emeric prove worthy adversaries who develop a deep connection, while Vanja's history, which includes trauma, abandonment, and exploitation, makes her a layered heroine in any of her identities. Centering a cued-white cast and variously inclusive secondary characters, Owen's engaging narrative is at times overloaded with complications, but she nevertheless pulls it together, creating a story to savor that builds toward an emotionally satisfying resolution. Ages 14 up.
My new favorite book. I loved it all.
Fun characters but just dragged on and on. Also the magic system was overly complicated