Uncommon Criminals

June 23, 2018

Heist Society #2. Author: Ally Carter.

Summary:

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 simply… 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, 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.

My Thoughts:

(This review contains some minor spoilers for UNCOMMON CRIMINALS and HEIST SOCIETY)

I was just waiting for Gabrielle and Kat to get together and become best friends. So much
potential. And they got a little closer, inasmuch as “Kat no longer wants to go for the jugular when she’s around Gab” is closer. Best friends? I wouldn’t say so. Too bad. I would have loved more interpersonal developments in this installment. But the focus is, reasonably enough, on Kat, her future, and her heist.

And I didn’t like the main interpersonal development that did happen. Whoops. See, Hale and Kat were a pretty inevitable Thing, what with the way they keep dancing around each other and not knowing how to interpret human emotion. But even as I waited for it to happen, I was getting less and less enthusiastic about it. In Heist Society, Hale is handsome and debonair – unfairly so for a teenage boy, as others have commented, and I fully agree. In Uncommon Criminals he continues to play up the Millionaire Playboy aspect. But when it comes to actual Personality… by the end of the book, I was fully convinced that he and Kat make a terrible team.

One of the obvious themes of the book for Kat is running away. Running away from family, from her past, from her future; from the inevitable choices of her life. The happy-ending,including her and Hale semi-together, comes about solely through her NOT running away, and through the ‘power of family’ aka “It’s a lot easier when you’re not working alone”, which is the second major theme. But. What has Hale spent the rest of the book doing? Encouraging her to run away with him. On several occasions in two different heists he literally offers to call for a private jet and fly away with her. He thinks she can’t take the strain. He does care about her, so of course he worries about her, but instead of SAYING SOMETHING about this fact like a reasonable human being he just makes cryptic remarks and goes around sulking. To be fair, Kat is also terrible at actually talking to people about Feelings and Such Things.

The actual story doubles back on itself a little, but mostly revolves around the Emerald, Kat’s decision to “fight on the good side now”, and her terror of turning out like the villain, an unscrupulous thief who sees love as “the biggest con of them all”. It culminates in an astonishingly flamboyant heist: I should like to know if anyone in the history of thiefdom has ever set loose literal doves to case the joint for them.  (That’s… not just complaining, I’d actually like to know, because it might be possible.)

Given these themes of running away, family, and Not Being Like the soulless villain, here’s my preferred solution: how about Kat and Gabrielle finally realize they’re two sides of the same coin and become three times as dangerous when they link arms; Kat dumps Hale, who can skulk off to mope in his mansion or, you know, buckle down and become a functional member of the team; and Kat’s family chills out about her not Thieving with them anymore.

Well.

There’s always the next book.

Content Review:

Sexual Content: Two kisses.

Language: None.

Violence: One boy punches another. One girl trips and twists her ankle.

Other: There is, as you might expect, some stealing.

 

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