Thursday, July 19, 2012

Review: Uncommon Criminals (Heist Society, #2)

Uncommon Criminals (Heist Society, #2)Author: by Ally Carter
Publisher: Orchard
Publication date: July 5th 2012 
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

If there was ever a Young Adult book written almost exclusively for actual young adults, it’s Uncommon Criminals. In fact, with its light tone, overly simplified plot, short chapters, third person narrative and extremely subtle romance, it is at times more appropriate for younger young adults or even middle grade readers and should be judged/rated as such.

After successfully stealing (back) four paintings from the seemingly impenetrable Henley museum and returning them to their rightful owners, Kat has acquired a Robin Hood-like reputation. Therefore, she is only mildly surprised when an old lady, the rightful owner of the Kleopatra emerald, asks her to steal the supposedly cursed stone and return it to her family. Still feeling lucky after several well-done jobs, Kat shuts down her instincts and accepts the job. Hale is the voice of reason, very much against it, but as always, he goes where Kat goes, regardless of the consequences.
If Heist Society reminded me a lot of Ocean’s Eleven, Uncommon Criminals is an oversimplified version of Ocean’s Twelve. The crew gets conned by a better thief and they must find a way to outsmart that thief and retrieve what they lost. (Though the thief here isn’t as hot as Vincent Cassel, that’s for sure.)

As much as I like Hale (and he’s one swoon-worthy boy, believe me), his wealth and status seem awfully convenient at times. His contacts open all doors, the crew travels in private jets, and if they need a yacht near Monte Carlo, well of course he has one ready! I loved how devoted he was to Kat in Heist Society, but in Uncommon Criminals, he went from being devoted to being a doormat at times. Kat too seems to have changed for the worst. After the Henley job, she developed not just a reputation, but an overabundance of ego as well. She had reason to, up to a point, but she went a bit too far by taking sole credit for something that was a team effort.

Keeping in mind what I mentioned at the beginning, I won’t lower my rating because the heists themselves seemed far too simple. I look at this book the same way I’d look at The Famous Five – I would have adored it when I was twelve, loved it still when I was 14. At 28, I found it entertaining, but I really can’t take it seriously.

I’ll read the third book mostly because it focuses on Hale, and from all the characters, he’s the one I haven’t managed to figure out.


  1. Great review! Thanks for sharing your thoughts. I want to read this series, and since I'm 14 I think I'll enjoy more;) x

  2. I absolutely agree with you Maja - Ally Carter's books are exclusively for young adults. I read this series when it just released, but looking back, I don't think I would have liked it as much now. Even Carter's Gallagher Girls books have begun to lose their edge for me. I used to think they were brilliant and witty, but really they're simply entertaining. I also agree with the point you made about Hale and his wealth - somehow, these con artists never had any difficulties getting materials for the con, which is fine since the actual con is more interesting, but it would have been nice to see some more realistic set backs. Anyway, great review Maja! Like you, I'll be checking out the third book because of its focus on Hale, so I'm curious to see how it reads. ;)

    Ivy Book Bindings

  3. I liked this book but I can see what you mean. It is very light and fun. It's not a series that has some profound effect on me or my life, but it's entertaining. And sometimes, that's all you really need in a book.

  4. Nice review Maja. I'm not familiar with this series but I'm sorry this didn't live up to its predecessor for you. While I love YA books, I prefer the older end of the spectrum :)

  5. I'm with Suzanne. I prefer YA books with an older feel so I think I may pass on this series now actually. It's a shame Hale and Kat changed for the worst in this book, but I'm glad to hear you'll still be picking up the next one. I hope it is slightly better for you. Great review as always! :)

  6. I completely understand how you felt about this book, Maja! When I read this book, I thought that the book can also be a MG instead of YA because of how subtle the romance was and how light the tone of the book was, like you said! Kat and Hale's relationship did frustrate me as well in this book but I hope it changes in the third book!

    Awesome review, Maja! ♥

  7. Sorry you didn't enjoy this one as much as the first, Maja. :( Still, I'm pleased you liked it and had fun whilst reading! I'm not crazy about light, somewhat juvenile novels (which are meant for all my Vanilla Queens) so I think I'll pass on this series. Great review, Maja!

  8. This review is giving me serious flashbacks to the Gallagher Girls series! I think (?) that series was written for a younger audience but I had the same problems with it. It just felt too young and too simple. I'll probably avoid these, which is a good thing. Thanks for this really helpful review!

  9. Great review, Maja! It's true that with the current onslaught of Young-Adult-focused-on-adult-market, it gets hard to remember that some books are actually meant to be read by youths. I think you did a wonderful job noting it while still reading the book and providing the critique... the last time I found this same issue, I gave up on the series :)

    I think I'm going to stick to YA geared towards an older audience for now... more so if the story was just okay and not amazing. Thanks so much for sharing!

  10. I haven't read any of this series, but it sounds interesting enough.
    Thanks for the review.
    Brandi from Blkosiner’s Book Blog

  11. Well, it certainly sounds fun, but like you at my age it wouldn't be as much fun, still I am glad it is age appropriate and fun! Hope you have a great weekend!

  12. Oh wow, your reviews never fail to make me laugh, Maja! I like Gallagher Girls but didn't love it. I think I would appreciate it more if I watched the movie though! Their spy gadgets would be so cool. I think the same rule would apply for this book. :P I heard Hale is an amazing. I'm practically drooling to have him right now. A millionaire guy is on my list of perfect boyfriend. :P

    Fantastic review, Maja! I always enjoy reading your reviews. They're witty, funny, and sweet at times. :D

  13. That's so true, Maja! I think that most of Ally's books are more aimed towards younger readers because the content is all safe safe safe, but that doesn't bother me because she's been one of my favourite authors since the dawn of time and I think I'll read ANYTHING by her. :') And I demand more Hale too -- I think he deserves SO MUCH awesome, and I think that Kat and him need to have more sweet times! But I love that Kat was the one to kiss HIM instead of the other way around. Cute, right?? x)

    Beautiful honest review as always, Maja! :) Hearts and sunlight wishes for your weekend <3

  14. Lovely review, Maja. I don't like when characters go downhill in a sequel either. It makes me really frustrated. I'm not sure whether I want to read this series or not, but I think the concept of stealing is interesting. Hale seems like a really swoon-worthy guy ;)

  15. Sorry this one didn't work out as well for you as the first, Maja. It's always difficult with the younger middle grade books for me as well. Great review. :)

  16. Hey Maja! I actually liked this book more than the first, but I will agree with everything you said. I didn't notice a lot of it until now though. You wrote a great review. I can't wait to see what you think of the third book, and even more so, what happens in it! Awesome job dear!

  17. But that is why it is YOUNG adult

  18. I read the first ten pages and I'm bored.

    Where's the sense of urgency? Background character info? What does the main character
    desperately need that is immediate, personal and selfish and what/who is in her way?

    I don't care if it's for younger readers, the writer needs to establish a sense of urgency right away.


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