Painted Devils

Margaret Owen
Book Rating: 
Average: 3 (1 vote)

About This Book

Let’s get one thing straight—Vanja Schmidt wasn’t trying to start a cult.

After taking down a corrupt margrave, breaking a deadly curse, and finding romance with the vexingly scrupulous Junior Prefect Emeric Conrad, Vanja had one great mystery left: her long-lost birth family… and if they would welcome a thief. But in her search for an honest trade, she hit trouble and invented a god, the Scarlet Maiden, to scam her way out. Now, that lie is growing out of control—especially when Emeric arrives to investigate, and the Scarlet Maiden manifests to claim him as a virgin sacrifice.

For his final test to become a prefect, Emeric must determine if Vanja is guilty of serious fraud, or if the Scarlet Maiden—and her claim to him—are genuine. Meanwhile, Vanja is chasing an alternative sacrifice that may be their way out. The hunt leads her not only into the lairs of monsters and the paths of gods, but the ties of her past. And with what should be the simplest way to save Emeric hanging over their heads, he and Vanja must face a more dangerous question: Is there a future for a thief and a prefect, and at what price?




Painted Devils: Intrigue and Irritation

Painted Devils manages to be high-stakes and exciting, while still tackling teenage issues. With many other YA books, it isn’t easy to remember the main character is a young adult or teen. However, this book emphasizes her youth. Not only does it set her apart from other protagonists, it’s charming, and endears her to teenaged readers. Unlike the teenaged characters of other books, Vanja is, at the end of the day, clearly a teenage girl. She isn’t someone who’s overly mature. While she is incredibly cunning, she can still make childish mistakes, and it’s an incredibly refreshing change. I expected to see her youth in her interactions with her love interest as well. However, her romance with Emeric just seemed so out of place in Painted Devils. It’s disappointing to see, because Little Thieves wrote them beautifully. Owens seems to struggle with writing Vanja and Emeric’s romance, and it seems almost forced at times. Love at such a young age is bound to be awkward. The author does a decent job at tackling that fact, but sometimes, it doesn’t feel like they’re young. It just seems like they don’t have any chemistry in the first place. As a result, the romance sometimes makes the reader wish that it wasn’t there in the first place. The focus that romance had in this book certainly shouldn’t have been as much of a priority, given the stakes of the book. Emeric was literally marked to be sacrificed, and it just seems a little weird to be shunting that to the side and concentrating on their romance. Overall, this book was an okay read, but I feel that it mischaracterizes wonderfully written characters, and ends up detracting from Little Thieves.

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