Wednesday 28 November 2012

Uncommon Criminals review

Uncommon Criminals
Ally Carter
July 5th 2012
Orchard Books

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 for this heist. This time, Kat's going to have to make up her own rules...

I think, a little tiny bit, that I might just like the Heist Society books more that the Gallagher Girls books. Of course, that will probably change as soon as I get around to reading the fourth GG book, but for now I stand by what I say. Uncommon Criminals was a great second book, and the fact that they feel standalone really helps to get rid of Second Book Syndrome, and it felt just as fresh and exciting as the first book (I can't really believe I actually just used the phrase 'fresh and exciting'.)

Katarina Bishop is one of my favourite characters in a series ever. Maybe it's the fact that the series is 3rd person or maybe it's just because she's an awesome badass thief and will no doubt end up being one of the best (and kindest) thieves in the business.  I think in this book we got to see both how self-sufficient and independent she can be as well as when she knows she's out of her depth and needs a little help. I really liked the way her attitude changed throughout the book, too. She's still strong and independent, but she also works really well in a team and she's realised that sometimes a heist is just too big to pull off on your own.

I also just really love Kat's crew. All of them. Apart from Nick, maybe, I'm still not entirely sure about him. But as long as it's not turned into a love triangle, I don't really mind him. Gabrielle is probably my favourite character in the whole book. I just love her because she's exactly the kind of character that readers are set up to hate when she's one of the most genuine characters. I just want to be her friend and I want her and Simon to get together and I love that she never once properly tried to go after Hale because I like her too much and I would be really sad if she ended up doing something horrible. And Hale. Hale, you guys. I could talk forever about how his relationship with Kat is so great, but I'll try not to. First of all, I've really enjoyed the progression of their relationship. It's been fairly slow going, but from the first chapter of the first book you could tell that they cared immensely about each other and that they were so going to get together, but that they're still friends first. I'm still not sure if they're actually going out yet or not? I think they might be? Anyway, there's a lot of stuff about that in here, but my favourite thing about it (yes, yes, a lot of favourite things going on here) is that it doesn't take a more important place than the heist in the plot. It's just an (almost) subplot. 

This is a sentence I never thought I'd be saying, but these books sometimes make me wish I'd been raised in a family of infamous art thieves. I mean, not literally because I just don't have the natural grace it takes  to do the stuff they do here, but you know what I mean. I don't actually want to steal things for a living, just for the record. But I do like the way they make the life look. It's obviously not meant to be a proper thing, because I'm pretty sure people don't do stuff like this in real life (or do we just not know about it, huh?), and the books make it look fun and exciting at first, but then you also see the pressure it takes on all those people in the life and even though you know it's kind of a bit silly, you just get so invested in the characters that it doesn't even matter because their feelings are real to you. But they're still really, really fun as well. Ally Carter does the same with the GG books as well, actually. Makes you think it's all fun and unrealistic at first and then makes you care about the characters and then makes horrible crazy things happen to them. I think I'm starting to see a pattern here...

Uncommon Criminals was a really great second book and I literally cannot wait for Perfect Scoundrels (can we talk about how much I love the titles of these books, too?! Because I do.) It shouldn't be too long to wait, now!


  1. I still need to read this book. I read Heist Society a while back but haven't gotten around to Uncommon Criminals yet. I enjoyed Heist Society and I'm glad to hear that this is a good sequel!

  2. Great review. I thoroughly enjoy these books too. Can't wait until the next one.


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