Thursday, June 3, 2010

Review/ Heist Society by Ally Carter

Thursday, June 3, 2010
When Katarina Bishop was three, her parents took her to the case it. For her seventh birthday, Katarina and her Uncle Eddie traveled to steal the crown jewels. When Kat turned fifteen, she planned a con of her own--scamming her way into the best boarding school in the country, determined to leave the family business behind. Unfortunately, leaving the life for a normal life proves harder than she'd expected.

Soon, Kat's friend and former co-conspirator, Hale, appears out of nowhere to bring her back into the world she tried so hard to escape. But he has good reason: a powerful mobster's art collection has been stolen, and he wants it returned. Only a master thief could have pulled this job, and Kat’s father isn’t just on the suspect list, he is the list. Caught between Interpol and a far more deadly enemy, Kat’s dad needs her help.

For Kat there is only one solution: track down the paintings and steal them back. So what if it’s a spectacularly impossible job? She’s got two weeks, a teenage crew, and hopefully just enough talent to pull off the biggest heist in her family’s (very crooked) history--and, with any luck, steal her life back along the way.
(Publisher's comments from Powell's Book)

The Heist Society is a totally fun and refreshing respite from many of the YA books I have been reading. The reason? Well, for one, the plot is rather unique. There are no vampires, werewolves, or faeries, it does not revolve around the mean girl scene, and romance is not the driving force behind the storyline. Instead Ally Carter combines her “love of con movies” and “fascination with bad guys who are the good guys” and gives her readers Kat, a member of a long-standing family of thieves, whose desire to escape the world she was raised in suddenly becomes complicated by her devotion to her dad. Added to this conflict, Carter provides a very scary bad guy, Arturo Taccone, historical references to Nazi lootings of masterpieces, and a mythical master thief, Visily Romani. When all these elements collide, you have an exciting adventure with an ingeniously crafted heist.

In addition to the unique plot, Carter’s characterization is beguiling. Kat the spunky main character is intelligent, loyal, with an intriguingly rational mind. One of the traits I liked best was her spontaneous banter and wit. Carter used carefully crafted dialogue to highlight this trait throughout the story. Hale, who is a bit of an enigma, is an alluring characters too. He is humorous with a roguish appeal that is hard to resist. Although Kat and Hale have only known each other for a couple of years, the ease in their repartee was a red flag that some deeper feelings were yet to be explored, and definitely something to look forward to in an upcoming sequel.

While on the surface Heist Society is about thieves, and may incur criticism about the morality of glorifying stealing, my answer to such criticism is that the story is really about family loyalty, and righting wrongs. Sadly, in our world, not everything is simply good or bad. Sometimes good people do bad things for the right reasons, which is exactly why I believe Carter created Visily Romani’s as the impetus that set Kat and her band of merry thieves off to right the wrongs of Arturo Taccone.  For me, this was a stroke of genius that made the Heist Society a Robin Hood tale with a twist. Carter definitely has a lot to work with, and I expect that the Heist Society 2 will bring back Visily Romani, and find Kat and her friends off to right more wrongs.

Source: Book Purchased


Nikki-ann said...

Sounds like a good read and certainly along different lines to other books I've been reading about lately. Thanks for sharing this one with us :)

NatalieSap said...

I felt similarly about this book, but you definitely articulated it better. :) It was a refreshing read, that's for sure - perfectly suited for summer vacation and a nice, shady spot on the beach!

Nomes (inkcrush) said...

wow - this review is so well articulated! Impessive :)

I just finished this one and thought the writing was pretty sophisticated and the humour was intelligent. And... it's been optioned for a movie. yay!

Blogger said...


Design by Use Your Imagination Designs All images from the Keeper Of Time kit by Studio Gypsy