Sunday, 24 July 2011

Review: Heist Society by Ally Carter

When Katarina Bishop was three, her parents took her to the case it. For her seventh birthday, Katarina and her Uncle Eddie travelled 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.

This book was even better than the Gallagher Girls series for me – and I love that series. This book is, quite simply, in a league of its own.
The characters are brilliant – there wasn’t a single one that I didn’t gel with – but then again I am a complete sucker for con’s – be it in books, tv or films. There’s something ridiculously thrilling about a team being put together, the plans, the plotting, the highs, the lows, the genius that I can only dream of. And the hot boys – there are always hot boys.

And the sexual tensions is swoon worthy. I mean seriously, so many books these days don’t draw out the S.T for very long – it feels like they’re almost afraid of the reader not being interested unless there is making out right now. And I am totally a fan of making out with swoonworthy boys, but there is something about the subtle looks and touches, the moments where they might and then they don’t – it draws you out like a violin string and makes you shiver, because everything becomes so much more intimate and every movement is filled with that much more meaning than it would if they just made out.

The thing that makes this book so brilliant though, is the thought, time and planning that go into the heist. This isn’t just a bunch of kids getting away with something so far-fetched you can’t believe it. Carter knows her stuff – hell she could be a con woman herself her detailing and plans are that good. It’s part fab young adult fiction and part handbook on how to case a joint. Not that I’m recommending you try that – but if I ever did, I’d want this book to come up with a battle plan.
I loved all the names for the different types of cons – particularly the nod to the Princess Bride. “Do you know where we can get a six fingered man at short notice?”

And Kat herself, she’s brilliant. When I grow up I want to be her. She’s a genius, she’s a thief, and she’s one of the sassiest and smartest girls I’ve read in a book in a long time. But she’s not all super brains and perfect – she has her doubts, her worries, her moments of jealousy and insecurity, and most of all she is not super perfect  because she does things that show that she’s out of practice, that show she’s not quite on par with how she used to be.
And I really want to see her how she used to be…

My only complaint was that in a few places it was all too rushed or there wasn’t enough information given for me to fully know what was happening. This only really bugged me when the characters had an ‘ohhhh’ moment, and didn’t let me in on it. They’d let me in in the next chapter or section, but for those brief moments I’d feel like I’d missed something, and frantically re-read the passage before it to work out if I was just being particularly dense.

On the whole though, I completely loved this book. It was just what I needed, and I’m desperate to get my hands on the sequel which has just come out – ‘Uncommon Criminals’.

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