Book Reviews

Blog Tour: Book Review: Painted Devils by Margaret Owen

I cried so many tears while reading Painted Devils. And I think you should too, so pick up this sequel which I absolutely adored. Keep reading this book review for a description of my tears.


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?


(Disclaimer: I received this book from the publisher. This has not impacted my review which is unbiased and honest.)

TW: physical abuse, anxiety and panic attacks, animal death off page

Painted Devils is everything I wanted and more. It has that signature charm of Owens, characters that scream personality, and heart wrenching emotions. For me, this one was even more emotional as Vanja struggles to negotiate family, her past of abandonment, and her fears of being unwanted. As an adoptee who has also thought about searching for my biological family, this hit me deep in the gut. It merely solidifies my love for Vanja and Margaret Owen’s stories.

The ways Owen is able to make you laugh, put in cultural Easter eggs, but also make you cry. Vanja is strong, clever, resilient, and snarky. But she’s also deeply struggling to see herself as being lovable, as beautiful, as warranting someone to stay with her. Her quick remarks and barbs hide her fragile heart. So her journey in Painted Devils feels very much like a Vanja thing to do.

The pages breeze by in Painted Devils as you swept away in a world of gods and cults, of conversations about sexuality and relationships, and of hiding our scars because we aren’t sure if we can love ourselves. It’s a testament to the difficulty of love and trust, of friendship and family. Of realizing that it’s so hard and terrifying to trust and not assume the worst. To see value in ourselves. My heart broke and was put together all over again in Painted Devils. Owen delivers a book that examines sacrifice and family, love and protection. This is a must read!

Book Links





Barnes & Noble

Bookshop US

Tour Schedule

May 16th

@ChronicallyBookish – Book Review

Djreadsbooks  – Book Review + Playlist

@thesempiternalreader – Book Review + Aesthetic

May 17th

@Rampant_Reading – Book Review

Sanjariti – Favorite quotes + Review

Chaibooksandthemoon – Review + Reasons To Read

May 18th

Leandra_thetbrzero – Book review + similar reads

Pluvioreads – Book Review

@annas_sweets_and_stories – Book Review

May 19th

Utopia.state.of.mind – Book Review

@monikasbookblog – Review + Recommendations

May 20th

Sahibooknerd – Review + Quotes

@yourlocalbookreader – Book Review

May 21st

Ofbooksandromance – Book Review

@magicalreads7 – Book Review + Playlist

May 22nd

@royahellbender – Book Review

Mycasadelibros – Book Review

About the Author

Margaret Owen was born and raised at the end of the Oregon Trail and has worked in everything from thrift stores to presidential campaigns. She is the author of the instant Indie Bestseller Little Thieves, which received five starred reviews and was a Kids’ Indie next pick and YALSA Best Fiction for Young Adults Selection. Her debut, The Merciful Crow duology, was an NPR Best Book of the Year, a Best of the Year, and a YALSA Best Fiction for Young Adults Selection. 

In her free time, she enjoys exploring ill-advised travel destinations, raising money for social justics nonprofits through her illustrated work, and negotiating a hostage situation with her monstrous cats. She lives in Seattle, Washington.

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