NOTE: Uncommon Criminals will be released on June 21, 2011. Use the time until then to read Heist Society if you haven’t already!
I was fortunate enough to receive an advanced printing of Uncommon Criminals: A Heist Society Novel at Book Expo America in NYC (fangirl moment: OMG ALLY CARTER TOTALLY HIGH FIVED ME!). I devoured it in about two nights. I lurve Ally Carter’s writing, so there was no doubt in my mind that this would be enjoyable. Let’s have a look, shall we…
Kat Bishop was born a thief. She went on her first job with her parents when she was 3. Now that she’s on the map for pulling off a majorly renowned job, Kat is propositioned by an elderly woman who wants an emerald that rightfully belongs to her family. Kat’s good buddy Hale (who I imagine to be hotter than every sun in the universe combined), and her merry band of cohorts from Heist Society loyally stand right by her side. Even after something goes terribly wrong.
The people in this book make me want to be a thief. I want to steal priceless works of art with them. I’m not condoning thievery or thievishness in any way, but come on. They make it seem pretty darn cool. The whole crew is back, too. Kat (obvs), Hale (the rich hott, hott, hottie with every gadget in the world at his disposal), Gabrielle (the vixen), Simon (the brain), and the Bagshaw brothers (mostly the muscle, for lack of any other terms). Uncle Eddie and a few very other special guests make appearances, too. Carter’s characters’s are perfect for this type of story. They have enough depth to make them intriguing, but not so much that you want to smack them and tell them to take all their crybaby worries home to mama. Kat showed a bit more vulnerability, however, which started to annoy me a bit as the book progressed. “The Kat Bishop I know wouldn’t doubt herself!” I protested. “She’d fight to make things right!” It did give us a deeper view of Kat’s character, but it felt a little forced to me. Maybe it’s just because I prefer my heroines to be tough cookies who never show the chinks in their armor.
- Exotic international locales. I felt like I traveled the world, minus the jetlag.
- The visual that comes with this conversation in Chapter 17:
“What about her?” Simon asked. “Of course, this was taken fifty years ago, but–”
“No,” Kat said, and shook her head.
“Her?” Simon asked, and the image changed to a young woman in a sarong riding an elephant.
Another “No,” this time from Hale.
“What about her?”
“That’s Uncle Felix in drag, Simon,” Kat told him.
“Oh, yeah,” Simon and Hale said, tilting their heads and staring at a surprisingly striking figure in an equally striking hat at the royal wedding of Charles and Diana.
- Boy/girl tension between Kat and Hale, which is always a bonus.
Uncommon Criminals is a fun, quick read. If you enjoy stories about heists and cons (such as Ocean’s 11, Thomas Crowne Affair, or Leverage), you’ll like this fer sher. I picked up on a few of the cons, but I NEVER saw the ending coming. As with her other novels, Carter’s writing is top notch. She’s funny, witty, and absolutely brilliant in being able to devise such crafty cons. If there is another installment in the Heist Society series, I will excitedly scoop it up just as quickly as I did this one.
Any other comments?
Reading Heist Society first is not absolutely necessary, but it would help to get background on the characters and how their lives intertwine prior to the events in Uncommon Criminals. I would also recommend this to younger teens who are ready for non-tween books, but maybe not so ready for the heavy content in most other YA novels.
Official Rating: 8/10