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Review: Heist Society by Ally Carter

Heist Society by Ally Carter

When Katarina Bishop was three, her parents took her to the Louvre...to case it. For her seventh birthday, Katarina and her Uncle Eddie traveled to Austria...to steal the crown jewels. When Kat turned fifteen, she planned a con of her own—scamming her way into the best boarding school in the country, determined to leave the family business behind. Unfortunately, leaving "the life" for a normal life proves harder than she'd expected.

Soon, Kat's friend and former co-conspirator, Hale, appears out of nowhere to bring her back into the world she tried so hard to escape. But he has good reason: a powerful mobster's art collection has been stolen, and he wants it returned. Only a master thief could have pulled this job, and Kat’s father isn’t just on the suspect list, he is the list. Caught between Interpol and a far more deadly enemy, Kat’s dad needs her help.

For Kat there is only one solution: track down the paintings and steal them back. So what if it’s a spectacularly impossible job? She’s got two weeks, a teenage crew, and hopefully just enough talent to pull off the biggest heist in her family’s (very crooked) history—and, with any luck, steal her life back along the way.

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Source: borrowed/School library
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Next: Uncommon Criminals

First thing, it was beyond awesome reading about a teenage thief! Not to mention an expert teenage thief who was born into the... profession. Carter gave me a story that contained some of my favorite story elements - adventure, scheming, mystery. I can honestly say it was unlike anything I'd ever read before. I gorged myself on great characters, the thieving world, fast-paced chase, looming peril, and delicious, exciting criminal activity!

Katarina Bishop is clever and swift, stamped with a pretty name and ingrained thieving mastery. I liked her. Granted, I could've loved her had I been able to peel back the layers covering much of her personality and feelings - oh, yeah, no hardcore bonding for us. Still, I had to admire the chick. I mean what's not to love about a criminal, am I right? There's an irresistible allure to those who are willing and perfectly capable of bending, avoiding, or, better, breaking the law. It's unavoidable. Even more so, when it comes to a male. Particularly a charming, gorgeous, arrogant male. Like Hale.

Hale is actually a last name, mind you. His name looks like this: W.W. Hale the Fifth. Savory qualities aside, Hale is a rich boy with a love for crime - and he's also Kat's best friend. Partners in crime, literally. Their easygoing relationship laced with a small dose of tension - which later builds into something more recognizable: attraction - reeled me and my buddy, Interest, in to the story! Who are these two, I kept thinking, and what the heck is going on? My interest only heightened when I realized that there was a relationship brewing between this pair, that's got absolutely nothing to do with their built-in friendship/partnership! Like it's so totally obvious, yet my girl Kat is either too stupid or too clueless to see it. But, that's okay; I don't mind waiting to see if their may-be-something-there relationship blooms into something spectacular, breathtaking!

And on that note - characters not romance, though there is potential for more in the romance department - the characterization mattered more to me with this book. I wanted to love them all so bad! I mean, you've got ancient, yet agile and alert Uncle Eddie, head of the family, amongst other things; skanky, love-to-hate-her Gabrielle; the adorable, nerdy techie, Simon; Hamish and Angus, the Bagshaw bros, ever-eager and ready to take on activities of illegal nature - the perfect thieving crew, all the more remarkable because there all teens and pros. But, like my main protags, I could only like them. They didn't need a boost in characterization, though. But, what are they thinking, what do they really want, what are they feeling? It wasn't enough to admire them and be dazzled by them. They needed to come to life on the pages, but instead they fell flat in comparison. Had that been untrue for me, my opinion of this book would've soared.

Still, there's nothing like a good chase to get the blood pumping, the tension sizzling, and the nerves buzzing! As the countdown waned, I couldn't help but yell, GET THE HELL ON WITH IT! Save your dad! Let the thievery commence, people! It wasn't as if I didn't enjoy the adventure; traveling around the globe vicariously through these characters could hardly dampen my spirits - it was awesome viewing all of those places, learning new things! - but I'd be lying if I said I hadn't gone off on a little snit, fueled by impatience and a craving to know what was going to materialize down the road, here and there. My frustrations with the pacing were stoked a time or two, given the fact that while I was picking up clues alongside the characters, my questions about Kat's world, the people in her life were pretty much left unanswered or were answered insufficiently for my tastes.

So, okay, I needed a bit more developing in the world-building area. And so what if the result of the big, bad heist that I'd been anticipating disappointed me some? Those things paled in comparison to my gigantic annoyance with Carter's employment of a possible love triangle. Damn it, it's Hale! Hale + Kat = Asher satisfied. Instead, I'm pissed off. I don't want this no good, untrustworthy, rotten (okay, maybe the rotten part is a result of my discontent) boy, who, I'll have you know, appeared out of nowhere, stomping all over my hopes and dreams for this potential pairing! Grrr *fangs gleam*. I so utterly resent love triangles these days, so, if you haven't already deduced my reaction to this particular love triangle, I... am... not... pleased. (It's times like these where I miss books like Waterfall, which gave me no trouble in that department.)

The ending, though... I'm a tad excited for what's to come.


If you're into criminal masterminds, country-hopping adventure, and nerve-wracking tension brought on by that sensation of a 'race against time,' then Heist Society might just be your spot of tea. Similar books you might also want to give the time of day include Artemis Fowl by Eoin Colfer and The Lightning Thief by Rick Riordan.

"What is going on?" she finally yelled when the staring and the silence became too much.
"Now, isn't this role more fun than a nun?" Gabrielle sauntered into the room, casting a sideways glance at the skirt she had personally hemmed.
Hamish nodded. "Kat... you have...legs."
"And boobs," Angus added, staring quite directly at the section of the white blouse that Gabrielle had made a bit too form-fitting for Kat's personal taste.
"Seriously, Kat," Simon said, inching closer, "when did you get boobs?"
Hamish looked at Hale. "The boobs are new," he said as if that point hadn't already been thoroughly made.
"Is that padded?" Simon held out his hand as if to cop an oh-so-scientific feel... (228)


Logan E. Turner said...

I've been meaning this one. I love the idea of a teen thief too! It sounds like this is a lot of fun, so sign me up. :)

A. Knight said...

For the most part it is. I'm just in lurrrve with Hale. You'll see what I mean, hopefully.