Book Review: Heist Society by Ally Carter
I really should keep better track of those books I get because another book blog reviewed them. The review for Heist Society by Ally Carter appeared on one of the many, many book blogs I read and I thought it sounded cute enough to give it a try. Then I discovered it had a sequel, which makes it the first in a series and thus qualifies for one of my 2012 book challenges. I’m cooking with fire now people! I wonder how long I could keep this type of pace up? How do you feel about two reviews per a week? Won’t that be fun! (Until I crash and burn but whatever.)
With a family like this, who needs enemies? Katarina Bishop’s greatest con of her life was scamming her way into the Colgan School only to be kicked out when the headmaster’s mint-condition 1958 Porsche Speedster ended up on top of the fountain and Kat was caught on surveillance video. But Kat didn’t do it and she’s rather irritated because whoever did was very, very good. Of course, coming from a family of very talented thieves, this could be anybody she knew. Kat tried to escape the life but when a dangerous man’s paintings disappear and her father is the only one who could have done it, Kat finds herself playing a perilous game to protect her family. After all; once a thief, always a thief.
Kat has two weeks to return Arturo Taccone’s stolen paintings and it is two weeks spent jumping all over the globe, from New York to Paris. I shudder to think how long the characters must have spent on planes. This was a fun read. I genuinely liked Kat as the main female character because she has a brain and skills but at the same time is just a kid put in an impossible situation and is uncertain and a bit scared. Her family is great; everyone from Uncle Eddie, who appears to be some sort of King of Thieves, to Kat’s cousin, Gabrielle, who couldn’t be more different from Kat. The relationship between Kat and Hale is interesting, even if the introduction of another boy, Nick, for added tension ended up kind of blah. Hale is instantly jealous of the other boy, acting a bit childish, while Kat doesn’t appear to care or have time for the little boys circling her. She has bigger fish to fry.
It’s interesting seeing the glimpses of life in a family of thieves (even a made up one) and reading about people who are trained from childhood to see everything and think on their feet. People are generally dull and seeing people who are so much more is exciting. It’s the reason we read fiction books; so that we can meet people more exciting than ourselves. Everyone in Heist Society is interesting but being set in the modern day means that the reader can trick themselves into believing for just a second that they could be those characters, racing around the world and planning to rob an unrobbable museum. It’s the mark of a great story.
The author mentioned that the paintings depicted in the book are fictional but I also have to say that the museum Kat and her gang end up robbing is probably fictional too. At least, when I tried to look up the Henley museum Google gave me a funny look and called me stupid. I was disappointed by this because I was looking forward to seeing pictures of this mythical Henley museum but I guess that writing about a fictional place is easier than trying to match details about a place that really exists. Oh well. Half way through the book, I was absolutely convinced that the secret would be that Kat’s family organized all of it, stealing the paintings and using the sacred name Visily Romani, just to drag her back into the life, to bring her home. Heist Society is all about family and how far one would go to make sure they are safe. But the ending was not what I was expecting.
This is the first book in a while where I haven’t taken some exception to formatting or style. There are no annoying bits, the story was well paced, and I didn’t want to kill any of the characters for being too stupid to live. There are some loose ends that I hope are taken care of in the sequel. We never learn who stole the paintings, the person using the alias Visily Romani, really is. We never hear the story of how Kat meet Hale when coming to steal the Monet or even learn Hale’s first name. (I was looking forward to that story!) Heist Society by Ally Carter was a complete pleasure to read and I’m looking forward to the sequel.