Thursday, January 23, 2014 books

Heist Society
by Ally Carter

First sentence:
No one knew for certain when the trouble started at the Colgan School. 
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
source: Goodreads

My opinion:
I am a huge fan of heist and spy stories and Ally Carter's book really impressed me. It impressed me so much that I read it twice in 2013.

The characters Ally created are so amazing. I love each and every one of them – the good (are there good people in heist stories?) and the evil ones. Kat, the main character, is a fifteen year old girl who wants nothing more than living a normal life, going to school, having friends, enjoy being young but she comes from a family of thieves and conmen. So when she gets kicked out of school for something she didn't do and is picked up by her former companion Hale she knows there is something wrong.

Kat trying to live a normal life and being overtaken by who she is, W. W. Hale the Fifth who is desperatly trying to find his place in the world and who struggles with not being part of the family daily, Kat's cousin Gabrielle and all her other friends are such a lovely bunch of people, trying their best and helping Kat restore her father's reputation – I adored them all. Kat, who is struggling with being away from the family business for only a couple months and who feels a bit left out and not part of the family anymore, tries to save her father from Arturo Taccone's revenge and does not always confide in Hale, who takes this really personal. Kat and Hale have a really strong friendship with some sparks flying between the two. It's pretty obvious for the reader that the two care a lot about each other but Kat and Hale do not realize how important they are for the other one.

Kat Bishop is also a girl after my own taste. She is determined and if she wants something she tries everything to achieve it. She has great friends who'll do everything for her and she can count on them every day. Strange as it may sound now but Kat, even though she's a fictional character, she is kind of a role model for me. For years now I personally am struggling with being more determined and going through with what I planned. So maybe I will channel my inner Kat in 2014 and will reach some of my long-term goals next year.

There is one thing that really bothers me about this book. It is nothing really but it still annoys me a bit. As you may know, I'm living in Vienna and since there are hardly any books set in or around Austria in the Young Adult genre I got excited when I saw that Kat travels to Vienna in Heist Society but then a major mistake happens. When Kat and Hale are standing in front of a bakery in Vienna the scene that is described tells us that Kat turns around and sees snowcapped mountains and ornate 18th century buildings stretching out in every direction and that is just not possible. I've been living in Vienna my entire life and I can tell you that there is now way that you can see snowcapped mountains anywhere near the city. There are more than enough 18th century buildings around but just no mountains anywhere. Yes, I know, it is a small mistake but one that really bugs me.

But apart from that minor mistake Heist Society is an amazing novel and an entertaining read. I cannot wait to read the second and third books in the series.

The books in the Heist Society series are:
  • Heist Society
  • Uncommon Criminals
  • Perfect Scoundrels
Ally Carter also wrote the amazing Gallagher Girls series about an all girl spy school which I can highly recommend too.

For more information about Ally Carter visit her Homepage, Blog, Facebook or Twitter page.

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