Uncommon Criminals (Heist Society #2)
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.
After the events of Heist Society, Kat has been spending her time as a sort of vigilante Robin Hood, stealing pieces of art to give back to their rightful owners. But when she steals a world-famous diamond and gives it back to the wrong person, she and her motley crew of teen thieves have to get it back. The stakes are higher than they’ve ever been, and Kat’s skills are tested, and one has to wonder: what exactly is W.W. Hale the Fifth’s first name, anyway?
I think the big complaint I had with the the series’ first novel was simply that the story felt a bit stiff and fell flat in spots. Certainly, that was not the case with Uncommon Criminals. The twists and turns, the various stages of planning the con, executing the con, and celebrating after the fact were all marvelously written, and this book never had a dull moment.
I’m also impressed with the character development Kat’s had over the two books I’ve read about her. Like any teen girl, she’s trying to figure out who she is and what kind of person she wants to be, all while dealing with the constant threat of jail time. Trying to be a good kid when you come from a family of criminals is tough, especially when you can’t deny that you enjoy breaking the law. For me it was really great to watch Kat grow a little bit more mature by the end of Uncommon Criminals. And I was also impressed with how skillfully and subtlety it was interwoven by the author.
Speaking of subtle, I really REALLY love the goings-on between Kat and Hale. I’ve always been a big fan of the romance that’s kept understated—for me, less is more. I’m much more likely to root for a couple if the author just teases me with shoulder nudges and intense, wordless stares. I mean, full-on kissing scenes are great (I’m not in the habit of complaining about “kissing books”), but I personally respond more actively when I’m torturing myself with imagining what’s going on behind the curtains. And oh boy, are Kat and Hale the romantic pairing for me. The unresolved sexual tension between them is about as thick as a brick, and whenever they’re together you just want to smoosh their faces together and say “NOW KISS” whilst wearing a troll-face.
Basically, Uncommon Criminals was an improvement on its predecessor in every area that counts. Better writing, more likable characters, uber-engaging plot, fantastic romance elements. I really enjoy the shenanigans our favorite teen thieves get up to, and for any fan of Heist Society, this isn’t a book to pass by.
I felt the focus was on Kat way more this time which made me kind of sad since I really like all the side characters in this series. And the little focus on other characters there was seemed to be solely on Hale and Kat’s relationship and that all just felt a little too melodramatic for me.
I really wish I had more lovely things to say about it, but I just don’t :[