Title: UNCOMMON CRIMINALS (Heist Society #2)
Author: Ally Carter
Publisher: Disney Hyperion
Release Date: June 21, 2011
Number of Pages: 298
Source of Book: Bought at Barnes & Noble when I saw it on the shelves early!
Author's Website: www.allycarter.com
Katarina Bishop has worn a lot of labels in her short life: Friend. Niece. Daughter. Thief. But for the last two months she’s simply been known as the girl who ran the crew that robbed the greatest museum in the world. That’s why Kat isn’t surprised when she’s asked to steal the infamous Cleopatra Emerald so it can be returned to its rightful owners.
There are only three problems. First, the gem hasn’t been seen in public in thirty years. Second, since the fall of the Egyptian empire and the suicide of Cleopatra, no one who holds the emerald keeps it for long — and in Kat’s world, history almost always repeats itself. But it’s the third problem that makes Kat’s crew the most nervous, and that is . . . the emerald is cursed.
Kat might be in way over her head, but she’s not going down without a fight. After all, she has her best friend — the gorgeous Hale — and the rest of her crew with her as they chase the Cleopatra around the globe, dodging curses and realizing that the same tricks and cons her family has used for centuries are useless this time.
Which means, this time, Katarina Bishop is making up her own rules.
Full disclosure: UNCOMMON CRIMINALS was one of my most anticipated reads for 2011 and I've been waiting to read it ever since I read HEIST SOCIETY last year. I was super excited when I heard there were early copies out in the wild, so I hunted one down and devoured the book in two days. I love a good heist story - be it a movie (Ocean's Eleven or The Italian Job anyone?), TV show (Are you watching White Collar?), or book. If you like a good heist story, you're going to love this series by Ally Carter.
One of the things I love most about Ally Carter's writing it how down to earth and straight forward it is, while maintaining a strong, humorous teen voice. There's just an ease to her writing - it's not complicated and it's really fun to read. It's like you're going through it with the characters. This second book in the series was another fun story with lots of excitement and suspense. At first I was worried the story was going too fast, but I had no idea the twists, turns, and surprises that awaited me (and Kat!) The elements of the con and the thief world are so well drawn throughout the story - it's an intriguing look on the inside behind the curtain.
Speaking of characters...I love Kat. Katarina is a masterful thief (a cat burglar named Kat - come on, how do you not love that premise?!), but she's also a fifteen-year-old teenager. She's strong, loyal, independent, confused, scared, and unsure of herself and her motivations. Her insecurities make her real - otherwise we wouldn't be able to connect with her because of how knowledgeable and good she is at what she does. I appreciated her struggle in this book to figure out who she is on her own and what kind of thief she wants to be - it was a great direction to take her conflicted character.
Kat is an ultimate strategic thinker who needs to realize that she has people who love her that she can lean on. And oh how great are those people - Kat's crew is the best. She has friends and family who can be goofballs, difficult, opinionated, and direct, but always loyal. Her cousins are fun secondary characters. And then there's Hale. Hale whose relationship with Kat is uncertain, but it's so obvious that he cares about her - to everyone except Kat. He's her best (and only) friend, but could it be more? It's a backstory with teen struggles from the start, and it has a satisfying resolution by the end of the book (thank goodness!)
I'm definitely hoping that Ally Carter writes another book in the Heist Society series because I love hanging out with Kat, seeing the trouble she gets involved with, watching her relationship with Hale progress, and seeing her grow into her own strong girl as a thief and who she really wants to be. Go get UNCOMMON CRIMINALS (and HEIST SOCIETY if you haven't read it yet), you'll be in for a fun escape!