Uncommon Criminals (A Heist Society Novel) by Ally Carter
Among the vast sea of dystopian universes and paranormal creatures currently inhabiting a majority of shelves in the YA section of bookstores, Ally Carter’s tales of teenage spies and thieves adds a refreshing twist to being extraordinary. Carter’s characters aren’t superhuman or special in any other way then in their ability to learn and become exceptional at whatever they put their minds to being. Part of why I read fiction is to get lost in another world, but sometimes the best fantasies are the ones not too far removed from reality.
Katarina’s struggles are always an interesting study in contradiction.
I mean really, how does one rebel when they come from a long line of thieves? Kitty Kat may be back, but she’s having a go at it alone. It seems her stint at the Colgan School was just the first of her dissent from the family. She’s trying to define herself and create her own path in the world she grew up in. But in adhering to her new moral code, distancing herself, and alienating her crew, Kat’s forgotten the most important rule: Family First.
Of course, being fifteen and an old pro in the family business can give a girl the illusion of knowing everything, but some lessons you can only learn with time and experience. Katarina Bishop is taking her talent and applying it for good instead of greed. Morally Kat knows stealing is bad, but it’s what she’s good at. Toting the line between right and wrong, she’s trying to use her skills to help return priceless items that were taken from their owners long ago. But someone is about to use Kat’s altruistic endeavors against her and con the con artist.
She’s going to have to steal one of the most coveted items criminals of her caliber have been salivating over for decades, while pulling off the heist of all heists. Twice. In the process taking down a couple of very different crooks. And learning that she doesn’t have to go about it alone. Because being a brilliant criminal mastermind with the ability to take whatever she wants, isn’t worth anything if you have no one to share it with. And somewhere along the way an ingenue, playboy, diva, computer geek, a couple of thugs, and a wayward cop’s kid became a crew of uncommon criminals and a more unlikely family.
Uncommon Criminals is full of Carter’s usual wit and charm. Kat manages to be both adorably clever and clueless. Constantly thinking through the angles of cons and jobs yet completely flustered when it comes to the social customs between boys and girls. She’s surrounded by equally endearing characters, all of which you immediately want more of. Uncommon also has a solid storyline, and continued to slowly build the romance between Kat and her beau. After two books I think we have a good basis on each of the characters personalities, though Nick remains more of a mystery. I hope Carter will feature his motives more in the future. I think he’s just looking for a place to belong, but not knowing enough about his background it’s still a bit fuzzy. It’s definitely something that will keep me coming back for future volumes.
So if you need a break from fangs and claws, read a little five finger discount fiction. A smart fun hilarious heist, Uncommon Criminals is an Uncommonly Good Read.
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