Uncommon Criminals (Heist Society #2) Review & Giveaway

Thursday, June 16, 2011

Title: Uncommon Criminals
Author: Ally Carter
Publisher: Hyperion
Published: June 21, 2011
Genre: YA, Contemporary
Pages: 304
Source: Publisher

Katarina Bishop has worn a lot of labels in her short 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 . . . 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 and realizing that the same tricks and cons her family has used for centuries are useless this time.
Kat's got a reputation to uphold since the Henley job. Now that her crew is renown as one of the best in the world, it's no wonder that she's being courted for more jobs. Kat isn't sold on any of them until one rings a bell for her. A family wants Cleopatra's emerald back, as it was once rightfully theirs. It's the heist of a lifetime, and if Kat can pull it off, she'll be a legend. But before she can steal the emerald, she must unravel the clever web of deceit surrounding the emerald that's made it such a commodity in the first place, and that might be more than she and her friends can do. Kat's not going to give up though, and she's certainly not going to be outplayed.

I don't know why I waited so long to read book one in this series, Heist Society, but when I was approached to read Uncommon Criminals, you better believe I brushed up on book one. Ally Carter has created a fun and entertaining premise of a girl living in a family of thieves that wants nothing more than to be out of the business until she finds a way to make some good of who she is. Uncommon Criminals raises the stakes with a bigger and riskier job with a reward far better than book one. Written with a distinct, energetic tone, Uncommon Criminals is pure entertainment at its best that strings you along on a whirlwind adventure from start to finish.

Uncommon Criminals was a refreshing balance between romance and action, which I find lacking in a lot of contemporary fiction, so that was the best part for me. The meticulous details, the planning and the set-up of every bit of the heist made the story that much more believable. Without it, this could very well have been an amateur sleuth book. I also loved how developed Kat, Hale, Simon and Gabrielle became in Uncommon Criminals. By fleshing out the characters, the book added a layer of depth that was missing in book one. Plus, it allows the reader to see deeper into Kat's mindset as she set up her elaborate scheme. The pacing flows well between action, planning, backstory and romance, which intermingles for a fun, flirty tone. The only real qualm I ended up having with Uncommon Criminals was the fact that it followed pretty much the same formula as book one, and I would have loved a bit more of a wrench thrown into the mix. Think Oceans Eleven with teenagers, throw in a splash of Robin Hood's "righting the wrongs" philosophy and add a snarky, likeable protag, and you have Uncommon Criminals.

All in all, Uncommon Criminals was a fun, fast-paced read that kept me guessing and reading well into the wee hours of the morning. I give it a very strong 4 out of 5, and I'd recommend it to all fans of YA, especially those who enjoy contemporary fiction, mysteries and crime stories.

I received this book free of charge from the publisher in exchange for an honest review. This, in no way, affected my opinion or review of this book.

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Thanks to the lovely folks at Hyperion, I have a finished copy of Uncommon Criminals to give away to one of my lovely readers. The rules are simple. You do NOT have to be a follower, but it's always appreciated! This international giveaway ends promptly at midnight EST on June 22, 2011. Winners will be informed by email. Ready to enter?

Click HERE to enter!

36 comments:

  1. Thank you so much! I just got Heist Society and I plan to read it as soon as I can!

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  2. I heard so many good things about this series!! I guess I need to get started soon! But I love the concept, I always loved movies where you can cheer with the thieves hehe!!!

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  3. I am sold - it seems a very nice series and your review can warm any reader to a book! Great job!

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  4. What's that in her glasses this time? *look closely* Nope I do not see it

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  5. Thanks for the great giveaway Melissa .. I've been wating to read this series for a while now so it's an awesome opportunity ! =)

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  6. I've heard so much about Heist Society...I would love to read this book. Thank you for the giveaway. :)

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  7. I have got to read this series! Thanks for the review and giveaway!

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  8. I just about to read this series for the first time for review as well. Glad to hear it is so good. Great review :)

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  9. YA Crime fiction?! That's new! I have to read this! Thank you for the giveaway :)

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  10. I'm starting to like YA crime. I think this will be my future fave genre. :) Thanks for the giveaway! I also loved your review. I know lots of people loved the first book. You got me with 'refreshing balance between romance and action' I need this!

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  11. Great review! This series sounds great. Thanks for the giveaway!

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  12. Great review! I need to re-read Heist Society. I enjoyed it, but I think I would appreciate it more. I expected it to be just like Gallagher Girls and was a bit disappointed.
    I did love the meticulous details and mixture of action and romance, like you, and look forward to that in the next book.
    Thanks for the giveaway too!

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  13. Thanks a lot for this great giveaway!

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  14. Thanks a ton for this. Heist Society's on my shelf, so I'd love to read this soon after :)

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  15. How jealous am I that you read uncommon criminals! I can't wait until next week to meet her!

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  16. Wow book 2 better than book one, I really enjoyed Heist Society and love Kat and her crew so the fact that Carter goes further in fleshing out these characters has me drooling for Uncommon Criminals. I will be checking out Barnes and Noble next week for this one.

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  17. Thanks so much for the review and giveaway! I have yet to start this series but I need too!

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  18. Must read this series! I love that you said the romance and mystery are well-balanced, that makes me happy. While I'm a big sucker for a good romance, I like there to be more to it than that too:) You're review is made of win. That is all.

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  19. This looks like a good one! Thanks for the giveaway!

    Margaret
    singit@hotmail.com

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  20. I didn't really like Ally Carter's Gallagher Girls series, so I'd held off on reading Heist Society. Now I'm rethinking! Great reivew. :)

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  21. I like the way you described it as a cross between Oceans 11, Robin Hood and adding a snarky protag.
    Sounds good! Thanks for the giveaway.

    Heather

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  22. I love this cast of characters, especially Hale. He is so good at looking cool without trying even though, underneath, he is really trying. LOL

    Fun review.

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  23. This is honestly the first review on the series that I've ever read. I've seen the books everywhere yet never feel attracted to learn more about it, a total loss on my part. This series sounds AMAZING and the fact that I've started to love reading stuffs about heist making it even more appealing :D Thanks for the glowing review!

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  24. I really like this series but I think I still feel like I don't really KNOW the characters. I'm not sure why that is. I know that Kat spend a lot of time dealing with stuff in this one. It's just how I feel for some reason. Other than that I think it's a brilliant idea to write about!

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  25. I really enjoyed HEIST SOCIETY (though I felt the characters acted more like 20-somethings than YA material) and pre-ordered this one. Such fun stories!
    Happy reading,
    Mary @ Book Swarm

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  26. Oooh, great review thank you so much for sharing and being so generous with the giveaway, too. :)

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  27. Oh gosh now I really need to hurry up and buy a copy of the first book. And I do love Oceans Eleven. ;) Great review!

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  28. I love Heist Society and am anxious to read Uncommon Criminals. :D
    Great reivew! And thanks for the giveaway.

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  29. Great review. Sounds like something I would enjoy when looking for the action. :) Thank you!

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  30. Okay, you had me at Ocean's 11 for YA. I'm so curious now. Even if they are simular, perhaps I will also read the first one as well.

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  31. I loved Heist Society so I can't wait for Uncommon Criminals to come out. I hope the romance deepens between Hale and Kat ... I just want the kiss!

    Thanks for the giveaway :)

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  32. Sounds like it's even better than Heist Society. Thanks for the review!

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  33. Dang, I really need to read Heist Society! I've heard so many good things. And though contemps aren't really my thing, I can definitely see myself enjoying this type of contemporary and with the mystery and crime aspect mixed in. Thanks for the review!

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  34. I've really got to start this series! I have the first one... and they both sound like JUST MY THING! Thanks for the great review & giveaway!

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  35. Great review!
    I'm reading heist Society right now, and can't wait to get to Uncommon Criminals next! :)

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  36. Thanks for the chance at owning Uncommon Criminals. The series remind me of a teenage version of Oceans Eleven. =)

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