Monday, July 18, 2011

Uncommon Criminals by Ally Carter

Monday, July 18, 2011

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. (Publisher's summary from Goodreads)

For an uncommonly exciting read Ally Carter’s Uncommon Criminals definitely fits the bill. This fast paced sequel to Heist Society brings readers back into the world of Katrina (Kat) Bishop, whose family are master thieves. Kat who tried to run away from her family’s legacy has now embraced it, with one very important differences: she only steals priceless items in order to return them to their rightful owners. Consequently, when Kat is approached by a woman claiming to be the rightful owner of the Cleopatra Emerald, Kat’s inner Robin Hood goes into hyper drive. Knowing that the job is too big to do alone she turns to her crew, Gabrielle and Hale plus a new member of the family Uncle Charlie. Together they pull off  another carefully executed heist. Unfortunately, after returning the emerald, Kat quickly realizes that she has been conned and it is up to her to set things right.

Uncommon Criminals builds upon Heist Society and for this reason, I am not sure that it can be read and enjoyed as much as it should be if you have not read the first book. If you have read Heist Society and like me found Kat to be an engaging and refreshingly different female protagonist in YA contemp novels then you will once again be entertained by Carter’s well executed plot and may even questions where Carter gets her research to plan such elaborate and complex heists. 

Kat continues to be a strong female protagonist and grows stronger as a character in this book. After the high from pulling off the Henley job in the first book. Kat has taken to pulling off jobs alone. The fact that Kat steals objects that rightly belong to someone else allows her to separate what she does with what her family does. However, deep within her Kat revels in the adrenaline rush of her successes and the reader has to question Kat’s real motives. Eventually, with the help of Hale, her best friend and the romantic interest, Gabrielle, Kat's cousin,  Simon, the techy of the crew, and  some unexpected appearances from other family members, Kat comes to understand that the ultimate crew is family and there is strength in numbers.

While I found Uncommon Criminals as entertaining as Heist Society I am keeping my finders crossed that Carter’s next novel in this series finds Kat and Hale getting past the best friend stage and become a real couple. I also hope to see more of Gabrielle as I like her snarky, straight forwardness. If you like clever, twisty plots, with a strong female protagonists, and settings that have you wishing you were part of Kat's crew, both Heist Society and Uncommon Criminals will more than satisfy. 

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