Book Buzz Episode 19 – The Matrix & Little Thieves

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Air date: Oct. 15, 2023

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Little Thieves

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Hi, this is Jessica Russell. I’m the assistant director of collection services at Sno-Isle Libraries. And welcome to Book Buzz.

Today's reading recommendations introduce us to brave female protagonists.

First, we’re going to hear from Jennifer, librarian at the Snohomish Library, who will take us to the Middle Ages. Over to you, Jennifer.


Thanks Jessica. Today I’m talking about Marie of France.

Too tall, too large, too rough. Too self-sufficient. Not suitable for marriage. An illegitimate half-sibling of the crown who is conveniently sent away to the nuns of a failing abbey in 12th century England.

This is how we meet Marie in the novel “Matrix” by Lauren Groff. Marie finds the nuns starving and the convent near collapse in every way. Wishing to leave, she instead soon finds herself in charge, and begins to bring the abbey back to life – and more.

Best of all, Marie leads and inspires as the Abbess - using the very characteristics originally held against her.

For those who appreciate historical fiction, the Middle Ages is not a very frequent setting, making this story even more interesting. Adding to that, the subject matter is women, who at the time had absolutely no voice or power at all.

Mystery surrounds the details of who the real Marie of France may have been, although it’s believed she was a 12th century poet and writer. In this story, author Lauren Groff introduces readers to her Marie and a vivid cast of characters as they discover their strength, purpose and identity.

Oh, and don’t let the “Matrix” title fool you. Keanu Reeves does not make an appearance in this book. Marie can handle it all by herself.


Thanks, Jennifer! I’m looking forward to a story of a woman taking charge in the 12th century.

Next, let’s hear about a teen determined to break a curse from Emma, library associate at the Mariner Library. Take it away, Emma.


"Little Thieves” by Margaret Owen is a cheeky retelling of the classic story of the Goose Girl in an alternative Germanic world filled with gods and magic.

Vanja Schmidt is the goddaughter to Death and Fortune and uses those ties to pull off daring heists on local nobles. But when one theft brings down the wrath of a low god, Vanja becomes cursed and must use all her wits and survival skills to save herself and the future she so desperately dreams of.

Vanja is an instant favorite, with her complex morals and dry wit. Flashbacks to her difficult past make her actions and vulnerabilities both understandable and relatable. Thanks to Owen’s masterful writing, Vanja is a standout character with her sarcasm, schemes, and flaws.

The book's pacing is spot-on, enhanced by Owen’s skillful control of the narrative. She juggles and times each plot twist perfectly and elevates the classic themes of good and evil. Her beautiful writing will make your heart break at the tragedy, and you’ll laugh out loud at the witty diverse characters.

"Little Thieves” is a gem, from its dark magic and compelling characters to its mysterious setting.

And, while great as a stand-alone book, “Little Thieves” is the first in a trilogy and is followed by the equally exciting “Painted Devils.”


Thanks, Emma! You don’t have to be a teen to enjoy a teen fiction title.

Our recommendations this week are: "The Matrix” by Lauren Groff and “Little Thieves” by Margaret Owen.

Join us next time, when we’ll explore more great reading recommendations – interesting books you can find at your favorite local bookstore or at your local library.

Until then, I’m Jessica Russell from Sno-Isle Libraries.

Thanks for joining us for Book Buzz on KSER.

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