Book Review: Perfect Scoundrels by Ally Carter

perfectscoundrelsStarStarStarStar

Young Adult > Contemporary

(Heist Society #3)

Katarina Bishop and W.W. Hale the fifth were born to lead completely different lives: Kat comes from a long, proud line of loveable criminal masterminds, while Hale is the scion of one of the most seemingly perfect dynasties in the world. If their families have one thing in common, it’s that they both know how to stay under the radar while getting–or stealing–whatever they want. No matter the risk, the Bishops can always be counted on, but in Hale’s family, all bets are off when money is on the line. When Hale unexpectedly inherits his grandmother’s billion dollar corporation, he quickly learns that there’s no place for Kat and their old heists in his new role. But Kat won’t let him go that easily, especially after she gets tipped off that his grandmother’s will might have been altered in an elaborate con to steal the company’s fortune. So instead of being the heir–this time, Hale might be the mark. Forced to keep a level head as she and her crew fight for one of their own, Kat comes up with an ambitious and far-reaching plan that only the Bishop family would dare attempt. To pull it off, Kat is prepared to do the impossible, but first, she has to decide if she’s willing to save her boyfriend’s company if it means losing the boy.

Book 1: Heist Society review     Book 2: Uncommon Criminals review

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…What happened to Hale here? *frowns*

This is my least favorite among the series. The fun was almost absent, and the brilliant connivance was short and unsatisfying in the end.

Perfect Scoundrels went heavy on Hale’s and Kat’s drama. And I was miffed when they were described as “on-off” boyfriend/girlfriend. Really? They are an item? Because I am sure that I did not miss anything from Uncommon Criminals, because their relationship in that book was as vague as it was in Heist Society. And now? I have to jump in and deal with their romantic sorrows? Please. Unless there’s an e-novella somewhere (and I know there’s none) that showed how they officially got together, this itsy bitsy fact was downright inconsistent.

I did like that puzzle desk (what was it called again?), and I want one for myself. 😛 And I very much like Uncle Eddie and Kat’s dad, Bob Bishop. For such an absent father, Kat and him have this warm and comfortable relationship.

This installment is all about Hale, and his elusive family background. How he keeps Kat away from his family while he keeps on popping up in Kat’s, as seen in previous books. I miss the fun-loving, charming Hale. I don’t want this emotional wreck, because he’s reckless when doing the crew’s job.

But I have to say that Kat here is more mature and composed, especially when she’s dealing with Hale and the failing con job at the same time. And I admire Kat’s philosophy on families. That you don’t need to have blood ties to call someone family. That you can always, always rely on your family, if you ask for their help.

Sure, Perfect Scoundrels was a quick read, for Carter’s writing was as engaging as ever. But the execution of the story was just flat, almost boring. The last three chapters I think is the core. Perhaps you can skip the rest, and read straight there? Kidding. 🙂

#13 Off-the-Shelf Challenge 2013

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PERFECT SCOUNDRELS by Ally Carter

Hardcover, 328 pages

Published February 5th 2013 by Hyperion Books for Children

3.5/5 stars

Book Review: Heist Society #2: Uncommon Criminals by Ally Carter

RATING: StarStarStar

(Heist Society #2)

Katarina Bishop has worn a lot of labels in her short life 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.

Book 1: Heist Society Review

*****

I for one like chaos. Chaos looks good on me.

 SHADY.

I’m hovering on a 3.5 rating. The development of Kat’s character is a 4, but the overall execution of the story is a 3. I really liked Heist Society, but Uncommon Criminals fell a little short on my expectations for the sequel.

I loved how Kat managed the job quickly and efficiently, unfortunately she got reckless – and so, the plot thickens. The major plus for me in Uncommon Criminals is how Carter portrayed Kat as the heist-drunk, risk-taking, and remote-feeling girl who does not know that’s she’s all of those things until Gabs and Hale pointed them out to her. The part where Kat alienates herself from her family while doing solo heists was wonderfully written. I understood where she’s coming from, even though i don’t agree on how she deals with it.

Hale‘s character became stronger, more solid but still not enough. I still saw him as a sidekick, not as the male lead character. He’s still charismatic and funny. I just wish he’s more assertive to Kat’s evasiveness.

With the constant twists and turns, I sometimes find myself lost – meaning i could not sensibly follow the story once they started pulling the biggest job of their lives.  Carter’s writing is addictive, but i encountered a lot of holes before seeing the big picture, the explanation on how the plan worked out. Did i mention that Kat and Hale’s relationship is still as vague as from book 1? Less vague, maybe. But still vague. I don’t want to assume anything, and given this story setting, more romantic scenes couldn’t hurt now, would it? 😉

Uncommon Criminals is a good read, but compared to Heist Society, it lacked the glue that made the first book solid and substantial.

Every decent con man knows that the simplest truth is more powerful than even the most elaborate lie.

#8 Off-the-Shelf Reading Challenge 2011

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.: maria :.

“giving up is the ultimate tragedy.”

Book Review: Heist Society by Ally Carter

RATING: StarStarStarStar

(Heist Society #1)

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.

Literary Award: 2010 ALA Teen’s Top Ten

*****

 CUNNING.

Is it just me or does reading this Heist Society felt like i’m watching The Thomas Crown Affair movie (Teen Edition, that is)? This is an enjoyable read!

From jetsetting to France, Italy, England (to name a few) and back to New York, Kat and her crew made it look like stealing is such a lucrative job! Not to mention she has billionaire Hale to back them up.

Kat wanted to leave her old life behind and start a new one that involves proper education. Unfortunately, her family (and their crooked work history) eventually catches up on her. Is it too much to want a normal, quiet, and legal life? – Kat asks. But family comes first to her, no matter how much she wanted a clean slate for herself. She’s smart, insecure, capable, unpredictable, and dependable. Kat is one h*ll of a thief!

Hale… what’s not to love? 😉 Gorgeous. Charming. Rich. Funny. He’s got me at first prank, I tell you. And his cockiness reminded me of Jace from TMI series. The thing that endeared him to me the most: his loyalty to Kat. not to the job. not to the heist. but to Kat.

I could’ve given this a 5, but i didn’t like the dancing around the bush of Kat and Hale. It is obvious they want each other, so why not let them hook up in the end? They have such chemistry and it was frustrating to just to leave it like that. Oh, well.

Carter came up with a street-smart book that thoroughly captured my taste for crime and adventure. Being introduced to the artists (Degas, Monet, Vermeer) of impressionist and neoclassic painting was very nice. The planning and conning were entertaining. But Heist Society as a whole is about family and how far Kat is willing to go, what lengths she is willing to cover, just to save the father she loves so much.

#6 Off-the-Shelf Reading Challenge 2011

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.: maria :.

“giving up is the ultimate tragedy.”