by Margaret Owen
Publication: May 16, 2023
Series: Little Thieves #2
I received a copy of the book from the publisher (this has no bearing on my opinion of the book), but let’s be honest…I also had it preordered a while ago. Little Thieves is awesome. Painted Devils is equally so.
You see…Vanja wasn’t trying to start a cult.
With her tendency to spin lies, she creates conflicts of godly proportions. While searching to add a more honest trade to her name, she ends up creating the Scarlet Maiden and a cult to go with it. Emeric and Vanja meet again when he is supposed to investigate this new cult and god. This becomes his final test to become a prefect, but he also gets claimed to become the Scarlet Maiden’s virgin sacrifice. A lot is riding on clearing up this case.
I was unsure whether Painted Devils would live up to its predecessor, but it does. It’s a clever tale filled with heart and humor. Vanja’s quips continue to steal the show, especially during the most serious of scenes. She made me laugh, but she broke me just as much. Vanja is brave and resilient, yet her moments of self-doubt called to me. I empathized with her pain of feeling not good enough.
Vanja serves as her biggest adversary as she constantly ruminates over her self-worth. Luckily for her, there is a prefect who believes the opposite. Romance plays a central role as Emeric repeatedly tries to prove to Vanja she is more than enough. It is a relationship filled with respect and understanding as they both work toward making their romance work. This is opposites attract at its best. She’s a thief and he’s a prefect, yet they still support each other…as best as they can.
The plotting is a bit different with one overarching case and separate cases that come along as subplots. I was not a big fan at first because I loved how Little Thieves was set up until the epiphany hit. The romance takes up a big portion of the book, but it also plays well into the plot. Margaret Owen is just awesome, ya’ll. (That’s the real moral of this series…)
I’m giving this 4.5 stars, though it would be 5 stars if I could kind of overlook some itty bitty things right now. I might change it later. I’m not sure yet. If you like fantasy and morally gray characters, this is a must-read.
Leave a Reply