Tuesday 21 October 2014

Book Review - Uncommon Criminals

Uncommon Criminals
Author: Ally Carter
Series: Heist Society #2
Genres: Mystery, Contemporary | Young Adult
Release Date: 21st June 2011
Publishers: Orchard Books
No. Pages: 298
Source: Borrowed
Buy From: Amazon | Book Depository | Barnes and Noble | Waterstones
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 simply.. 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, 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.

The following review may contain spoilers concerning earlier books in the series.
If you have not read the previous installments, please proceed with caution.

I thoroughly enjoyed reading Heist Society when I read it earlier this year. I was trying to come down from my Gallagher Girls high and found solace in more of Ally Carter's work and she didn't let down, fast forward to August when I read Uncommon Criminals and things felt a different. I still adored Carter as an author and held a soft spot for her work, but I had expectations now, I didn't want to be let down and I didn't want to feel anything less than what I'd felt previously, but Uncommon Criminals was not as good as Heist Society, and while this doesn't mean it wasn't worth the read, far from that actually, I confess to being slightly disappointed.

After the absolutely fantastic museum job Kat and the crew completed in Heist Society, it would appear Kat has been off stealing pieces of art and other historical pieces of show and has been giving them back to their rightful owners. This in itself says a lot about her character development from Heist Society, from a young girl trying to escape the life of thieving, to a girl who does it for the right morals, rather than for selfish reasons. As she's doing this alone, she rocks to boat with dreamy wonderful I would have him any day Hale, which also showed the outside development these characters had gone through between the first and second installments. It's clear that their romantic attachment has gone deeper than either had expected and it's clear that Kat's feelings had been developing her character too, but deeper into the novel, the plot itself comes forward and while it's not as good as Heist Society's, in my opinion, it was still highly enjoyable.

I think what I enjoyed most about this installment was how Carter had decided to make the job much more difficult and to in fact, have the job go wrong. When working out dates and times, this is also the same moment when in Gallagher Girls, Carter had Cammie make a dire mistake that affected their lives more than they had expected and I loved that Carter made this decision. As a thief, not every job will go off without a hitch, there are always things that could go wrong, and will go wrong and Carter explored that in Uncommon Criminals. She made sure that the effects this 'gone wrong con' would have on Kat's character developed her and created a more dynamic relationship between her and the characters, but she also gave Kat a weakness that was her own vanity and belief that she was, and is, one of the best and this was vital to developing her relationship with Gabrielle - which was wonderful to see, their change in their confiding and emotions and how they considered each other more sisters than friends was really lovely - and Hale, who is the most recent to edition to my 'if they ever become real, I have having dips on him' book boyfriends list, but she took turns I didn't expect and making me connect even more the the collection of characters involved. I absolutely loved the dynamics between Kat and Hale throughout the novel as well, the slow burn romance really began to heat up and the tension and passion that burned between them was brutal, but nothing makes me happier than how they both developed and grew with one another, how much more toned and strong Hale had become to be that support system for Kat, but also how he made her see outside the box, and how through it all, they really could achieve something beautiful, and if hearts could flutter, mine would have taken flight.

What did let this book down was the pacing of the plot and once again, the lack of world. These are personal issues, and while I am a charcater person, I do like to know where my characters and what it is they're actually doing. The pacing was a little off and the story felt a little dry in places, but what wasn't off was the plot twists involved, because if my head had spun anymore, it would have come off. There was so much more to this story that met the eye, and the characters weren't always what you expected, and the actual reasons behind some features that happened were just fantastic. I really do love Carters work, she always writes such wonderful, enjoyable novels that can be read in one night, in one sitting, and that encourage you to lose yourself in this world of thieves or spies, but she also knows how to lift my spirits when I'm feeling down, and this to me, is what makes a go to author, somebody that, no matter, can always draw you back to a good book. I really cannot wait to get my hands on the next installment, and if I don't get one powerful passionate Kale kiss, then Carter and I shall be having words.


  1. Here's my thing: I've never read an Ally Carter book. I just kind of feel like . . . idk, like I wouldn't get on with the writing? I think it's the covers that put me off and make it seem as though the prose would be a bit immature and I hate that because so many folks love her stuff! Even though this was a pretty bog-standard read for you, you're tempting me to try Ally's books because you seem to have genuinely enjoyed all the others and GAH. I clearly need to stop being a book snob :P

    1. The writing is definitely something that could put people off, there's something quite easy and young about it.
      I also agree though, the covers are not as exciting as they could be, very generic, but we can't win them all :)


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