Posts tagged ‘con’

August 9th, 2011

Heist Society by Ally Carter; Review

by Madeleine Rex

Title: Heist Society

Author: Ally Carter

Published: February 9th, 2010

Number of Pages: 304

Rating: 3/5


When Katarina Bishop was three, her parents took her on a trip to the Louvre…to case it. For her seventh birthday, Katarina and her Uncle Eddie traveled to Austria…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 Kat back into the world she tried so hard to escape. But he has a good reason: a powerful mobster has been robbed of his priceless art collection and wants to retrieve it. 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 history–and, with any luck, steal her life back along the way. [From Goodreads]


She’d absolutely adored the library – an entire building where anyone could take things they didn’t own and feel no remorse about it.


Audrey, of holes In My brain fame, has raved about Hale, the male crush-interest (they aren’t quite to the L word yet), and has said a few times that these books are really fun. An old ARC I got for free from a friend of mine had been sitting on my shelf for months, so I decided to take it with me on the drive to Utah last week.

Though Heist Society had a lot of potential to be clever and brilliant, I found myself a bit more interested in looking out the window than reading. The drive’s nice, but not that nice. I don’t mean to imply that the book is boring, but it definitely didn’t engross me. I can pinpoint the exact reasons the book fell flat for me.

1) The prose. Perhaps it was the third person point-of-view, but that typically doesn’t bother me. The way that Ally Carter described just about anything felt too distant and too ordinary. I would have appreciated word choice that was more unique and character-specific. Also, the description was a bit sparse.

2) The secondary characters were not as detailed as I would have liked. Sure, they could be sassy and funny, and they did funny things, but I wouldn’t have missed them if they were absent. I can only hope that they make another appearance in the second book and that they become individuals.

3) Hale. I know! Everyone loves him! I was definitely interested in him, but he, like the other secondary characters, was not dug into as deeply as I would have liked. However, I believe that he has more potential than nearly every other character and am eager to read more about him.

Luckily, I’m a sucker for cons and thieves. I mean, fictional ones, of course. I love intricate plots to steal valuable items from highly secure locations. The more clever the plot, the better. Kat is just my sort of gal, and her world is just the sort of world I love to escape to. Because of this, I did enjoy the book. I can’t wait to see if Carter steps it up a notch in the sequel. Audrey recently reviewed book two, Uncommon Criminals (great title!), and described the book as a con itself. Carter, like the writers of Oceans 11, 12, and 13, apparently reveals things in a particular way so that the reader is kept making assumptions and guessing as the story goes along. Mind games are so much fun in books, and I enjoy a book even more if I find that the conclusions I came to are wrong.

Throughout the book, Kat travels around the world, and she ends up in Paris and England more than once. I’m fascinated by Europe (especially Paris), so I definitely appreciated this factor of the book. I only wish she had been more descriptive and had incorporated the environment a bit more.

I believe that Kat is the strong point of the novel. Without her, I would not have given the book three stars. She’s savvy, clever, and most importantly, compassionate. Oftentimes, people think that a strong female protagonist must shed tendencies toward emotional attachment, compassion, sympathy, and tenderness. Why is it that, in order to be clever and independent, a girl has to rid herself of the qualities that make women special? I deeply appreciated how well-rounded Kat’s character is.

Ultimately, I’d recommend this book to people looking for a fun read and a series with a lot of potential. I’m eager to read the sequel and hope that the aforementioned potential is reached!