*Note: Read Heist Society by Ally Carter before proceeding!*
Sometimes, life has a way of presenting me with material for this blog. When I first started reading Uncommon Criminals, the second book in Ally Carter’s Heist Society series, I thought a story about a bunch of teenage thieves was kind of fun. After this week, however, I feel a bit differently. I came home from work Thursday to find that my house had been burglarized. Now, a book about thieves isn’t what I would call fun. As a victim, I can say that being robbed leaves one feeling violated, depressed, anxious, scared, and generally unsafe. I wouldn’t wish these feelings on anyone (except maybe the people who made me feel this way). So, halfway through Uncommon Criminals, I was approaching it from a different viewpoint, and it did change how I felt about the book. (I couldn’t even look at this book Thursday night. It made me want to hit things.) It’s still an interesting story, and the characters in this book are really only stealing what’s already been stolen, but I can’t let go of my own recent experiences and embrace the glorification of thievery in this series. Maybe some time will make me feel differently.
After robbing one of the most secure museums in the world (all for a good cause, of course), teenage thief Katarina Bishop continues to feel the rush of adrenaline that comes with pulling one over on her marks. The rush becomes even more powerful when she’s asked to steal one of the most famous gems in history, the Cleopatra Emerald, and return it to its true owners. Nevermind that the emerald is said to be cursed. Surely something like a pesky little curse can’t stop Kat and her crew–including the wealthy, gorgeous, enigmatic Hale–from pulling off the job of the century. Can it?
Well, curse or no, this job isn’t exactly what Kat was expecting. Almost from the beginning, things go bad, and Kat soon realizes that she might be the mark in this situation. Who would have the nerve and ability to play her for a fool? And how can Kat right a wrong when she’s growing more and more unsure of herself and her prowess as a master thief? Can she pull of the ultimate heist…twice? Read Uncommon Criminals by Ally Carter to find out.
Even though Kat and her crew (Hale, Gabrielle, Simon, the Bagshaws, and a few other characters) were ultimately the “good guys” in this book–and the previous one–I can’t forget that they are thieves. Yes, they are simply seeking to return items to the rightful owners, but it still bothers me. I’m also bothered by the lack of parental supervision in this series. It’s kind of disturbing, but I guess one does have to suspend reality a bit when reading a series like this one. I will say that I liked the first book, Heist Society, more than this one. (Yes, I know that my reasons for feeling this way are, shall we say, a little skewed at present.) Who knows how I’ll feel about book three, Perfect Scoundrels, due out in February of 2013…
If you’d like more information about Uncommon Criminals, the Heist Society series, or other books by Ally Carter, visit http://allycarter.com/. Please don’t let my paranoia and personal issues drive you away from this series. It’s pretty good (kind of Ocean’s Eleven meets Gossip Girl), and I think a lot of teen readers will enjoy it.