by Ally Carter
Heist Society series; book II aka Ocean's 12 (jk)
This has been on my wishlist for ages, and it was perhaps my most eagerly anticipated June release. It's just that... feeling in my gut that's telling me YOU HAVE TO READ IT!
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.
My Expectations: Not super high, but I definitely expected to be entertained like I was with book 1.
Delivery: It didn't blow me out of the water, but it's super fun and that's what I wanted.
You know what? I think I finally figured it out. This book is about a con, Katarina Bishop’s con.. but it’s also a con itself. It’s a con on the reader, me, in which Carter and Kat spin an elaborate plot that refuses to give in to any suspicions yet makes the reader fidget with anticipation. It’s a con that leaves me feeling as if I’ve been taken for a ride, yet I can barely get a grasp on what type of ride it is. It’s not simply a book telling a story, it’s an insanely fun, addicting and entertaining experience. I find I rather like being conned.
Uncommon Criminals is a sequel, but in some ways it feels like a second episode as opposed to a sequel with an overlapping plot arc from book 1. People and names are carried over, yet the heist is completely new. However, it’s when Carter brings back the old characters that I feel that I’ve finally slipped back into my favourite jeans. Kat, Gabrielle, Simon, Hale (HALE!)… they’re bright, quirky, completely lovable, and make the book come alive.
I adored the crew in book 1, and I’m not disappointed when Uncommon Criminals brings them back in full stride. The tension between Kat and Hale (HALE!) is dangerously good as something effortlessly hovers between them despite few words spoken. Love it. As much as I love the rest of the characters, I really wished they could have been developed better. On the surface, they’re gloriously interesting but there’s very little beneath the shiny exterior.
The plot is just as I hoped, it’s high-stakes and expansive, and it’s also very much about Kat. Events and people revolved around her, which I thought was interesting but also a bit too… centered. I wanted a bit more overall development, I guess. The book was very slightly predictable, but there’s enough twists to keep things different—along with a colourful cast to keep me engaged. It's the way that the story was told that I think made it like a 'con', readers are never given the full story, only bits and pieces in order to formulate theories, only to have another surprise pop up a few pages later.
I’ve never really been a fan of Carter’s writing, but it’s not something that really bothered me in this book so I won’t focus too much about it. Third person POV and felt a bit too repetitive is what I’ll say.
It’s hard to really sum up how I felt about it. On one hand I felt this book had flaws and plot holes that hurt my suspension of disbelief, but on the other hand I was completely entertained by the shin-digs of Kat and her crew. I thought the plot was very well done, and honestly, at the end of the day, this book made me happy.
Rating in HP Terms: Exceeds Expectations
Recommended for: People looking for fun books! And I don't say this lightly, because this book really is fun. I would highly recommend this series :)
8.5/10 – because it’s entertaining and kept a smile on my face. I love all the characters in this book, but wish they had a bit more depth to them. Hale remains one of my favourite fictional boys, and I’m loving the way Carter is handling the Kat’s well… life ;) Oceans 13? Bring it on! Great plot, likeable characters...a fabulous book with all the sparkle!
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