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Summary

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. 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.

©2021 Margaret Owen (P)2021 Hodder & Stoughton Ltd

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  • 10-03-22

Really enjoyable

A refreshing take on well trod ground. With a few new world building twists. Throughout I didn’t know exactly where the story would go. I found I liked the main character and the narrator did a great job.

Really enjoyed it and would read more from this author.

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Nice concept, an O.K. execution

I had a problem connecting to this book. The first half was a bit of a struggle. Later, there were entertaining moments, but mostly, I just wanted to finish it and be done.

* SPOILERS A HEAD *

To go a little bit further into details, back stories, and the whole setup were great. Very promising.
God mothers and the whole red and white penny, great stuff.
But later on, milion other plot lines came along, plus this very complicated intrigue, which I understood maybe half of. It all got very mixed up.

Regarding how it all played out, it was just disappointing and unbelievable. Why on earth, after Bad Guy (still could not tell what was his name) tried to just out right murder half of them, they would still go back to the castle, like nothing happened???
He ordered her to drink poison! His soldiers were blocking their way out of burning building! On a busy street! (Or maybe that's not what happened? Some of those descriptions were very confusing.) And they were having slumber parties, venturing around. Like, shouldn't you be a little bit more in a war mode?

I think there was just too much stuff in a pot, and some of the decisions were made for the plot, not the other way around, as it should be.

Half of the plot lines were left underdeveloped, like gems and greed thing. After Janek, it really didn't affect much. I honestly was forgetting about the curse. Relationship with Giselle should have been vocal point of the finale, but this plot line was just put aside. Devolved and deprived of any drama.

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Such a refreshing read with excellent world building and descriptions

Thanks to Hodder & Stoughton for my gifted digital copy and to Kate Keehan for my giveaway win of the exclusive preview (written and illustrated by the exceptionally talented Margaret Owen) and rubies and pearls.

I love this book so much. Vanja isn’t a good person, she believes that. I love her stubbornness when it comes to Death & Fortunes offers of help.

I loved Ragna, her innocence and unwavering devotion. She was my favourite character after Vanja of course.

I loved how the story was broken into shorter fairytales/stories and then the truths behind those stories. Each one painted such a vivid picture in my mind.

Such a refreshing read with excellent world building and descriptions. I found myself laughing out loud or rolling my eyes along with Vanja at several points.

I both read and listened to this book on audio (because I can’t drive and read at the same time 🤣 and I didn’t want to put it down!) and the audio was brilliant and brought the book to life so much!

I cannot wait for the sequel for this book and to see what happens with Vanja & Emeric. I’m also really hoping Ragna is in the next book too 🤞🏽🤞🏽