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You’ve Been Struck By An Uncommon Criminal

A review of Uncommon Criminals by Ally Carter, a Heist Society novel that suffers from a sophomore slump.

You’ve Been Struck By An Uncommon Criminal

BOOK REPORT for Uncommon Criminals (Heist Society Book 2) by Ally Carter

Cover Story: Rich Bitch
BFF Charm: Meh
Swoonworthy Scale: 3
Talky Talk: No Nonsense
Bonus Factors: Glamorous Globetrotting, Being Rich, Cursed Jewel
Relationship Status: Random Astroworld Friend

Cover Story: Rich Bitch

This cover is totes cheesy and best displayed by the pool at a fancy pants resort. In other words, it made me feel like a true lady of leisure. And I have no problem with that.

The Deal:

As the sequel to Heist Society begins, we find Kat Bishop devoted to the cause of recovering paintings stolen by the Nazis during WWII and returning them to their true owners. Frankly, she's kinda obsessed, both with the pursuit of justice and the thrill of thievery, and her devotion to the mission has turned her into a solo artist. That is, until Kat is approached by Constance Miller, a woman who claims to be the rightful owner of the Cleopatra Emerald, a magnificent gem that was stolen from Constance's parents. Not only is the gem one of the most heavily guarded artifacts in the universe, it also carries a curse that's caused numerous deaths and foiled robbery attempts! Good times! In spite of (or maybe because of) the challenge, Kat vows to retrieve the emerald for Constance, but she knows she can't do it alone. Enter our old pals Hale and Gabrielle, who are more than ready to help Kat pull off yet another "impossible" heist.

BFF Charm: Meh

I don't know, you guys. I mean, I already gave Kat my charm after the first book, and it's not like I'm gonna ask for it back (hello, RUDE) but girlfriend is kinda bumming me out. She's really closed herself off emotionally, and, well, I'm not really sure why? Look, I get that she's a criminal and doesn't want to drag anyone down with her. But why did she have to turn into a repressed robot? Why does she keep crying all of the time? Like, when you join the International Criminal Club, do you have to pay dues with YOUR FEELINGS? I mean, Kat, you've got the experienced eyesight to case a casino in thirty seconds. So WHY CAN'T YOU SEE THAT HALE OBVIOUSLY LIKES YOU? Ugh, I just can't handle all of this emo shizz. If we ever slumber party together again, let's just stick to gossiping about art robberies, mkay?

Swoonworthy Scale: 3

When it came to the action between Hale and Kat, this book took me on a major trip to Bummertown, USA. I had such high hopes after the first book! I mean, Hale is hot! And rich as a mofo! And he's obviously in lurve with Kat! And they were obviously going to get together in a super sexy way, like getting caught in a crawlspace together or trapped in an ancient tomb where they might die so they should at least have sexual relations beforehand. BUT NO. That did not happen in this book. Instead, we get a couple of maybe-almost moments that always get cut off suddenly by another character and then NEVER DISCUSSED AGAIN. Because, you know, that's healthy.

Talky Talk: No Nonsense

Obviously, this is a heist book, not a kissing book. And while I enjoyed Ally Carter's meticulous detailing of the con, I wish she'd taken more time on character development. I never felt like I entirely understood the motivations of most of the key players, and I cared way more about the heist succeeding than I did about any of the characters. Scenes tended to end abruptly and without reflection. But this book doesn't claim to be anything more than a fun caper, and Carter's quick pacing kept things moving along at an adventurous speed.

Bonus Factor: Glamorous Globetrotting

Just like in Heist Society, Kat and crew get to zoom all over the globe to exotic locales including Austria, London, France and Monaco. And did I mention they do it all on a private jet? YEAH.

Bonus Factor: Being Rich

Hale continues to be the richest character in all of YA history. And if you think money doesn't buy happiness, you've obviously never gotten to live in a yacht off the coast of Monaco and eat chocolate croissants made for you by a dignified butler named Marcus. I mean, not that I have, either. But I KNOW IT WOULD MAKE ME V. HAPPY.

Bonus Factor: Cursed Jewel

You know what's better than a flawless, massive, precious stone? A flawless, massive, precious stone that carries a curse with a juicy story! Because the beauty of gems tends to bring out the ugliness in man. Or whatever. I just really like the idea of ancient curses.

Casting Call:

I already cast several characters in my Heist Society review, but I'll go ahead and throw in two more for this one. First, Nick, because maybe if he's played by someone who is hot, there will be more of a love triangle happening:

Thomas McDonell as Nick

And, because we never get to cast adults, I'm stoked about Constance Miller giving me the excuse to use one of Hollywood's most venerable leading ladies.

Helen Mirren as Constance Miller

Relationship Status: Random Astroworld Friend

When I was in high school, my friends and I had season passes to Astroworld (RIP!), the Six Flags park in Houston. And inevitably, while waiting in the two hour line for the Cyclone, we made friends with the people around us. (It was either that or watch the Duran Duran "Ordinary World" video for the 50th time on the crappy old TV monitors.) We shared a mutual love of roller coaster thrills and understood the importance of waiting an extra half hour just to ride in the front car (Cyclone) or last car (XLR8). Reading this book was a lot like hanging out with one of those Astroworld friends I made for the day. We're both hungry for thrills, and we don't sweat the details*, as long as our hearts are racing from the excitement of the rides (although I wouldn't have minded a few romantic palpitations). By the end of the day, it's not like we're gonna be lifelong friends-- hell, we probably won't ever see each other again. But for that one day, we sure did have a hell of a good (platonic) time.

*Ok, there is one detail that really bothered me about the plot of the book. No spoilers, but let's just say that the first con obviously exists in a world without Google Image Search.

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Posh Deluxe's photo About the Author: Sarah lives in Austin, TX, where she programs films at the Alamo Drafthouse. Sarah enjoys fancy cocktails, dance parties and anything that sparkles (except vampires).