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review 2016-02-28 01:27
Heist Society by Ally Carter
Heist Society - Ally Carter

Heist Society stars Katarina Bishop, a teenage thief who has spent her whole life surrounded by thieves and con artists. Three months prior to the start of the book, Kat enrolled in a boarding school in an effort to go straight. The arrival of W.W. Hale the Fifth derails her plans. Hale tells Kat that someone has stolen several paintings from a very bad man named Arturo Taccone, and Taccone believes that Kat's father was responsible. Kat's father couldn't have done it – he was busy with a completely different theft at the time – but Taccone refuses to believe that and wants his property back. If Kat wants to save her father, she'll have to find the paintings, steal them back, and return them to Taccone.

I've wanted to read this book for quite some time. It sounded fun and fast-paced, and heist stories appeal to me.

The best parts were the heist-planning and the actual heist. Unfortunately, these things took up a smaller percentage of the book than I expected. Also, for someone who had supposedly been trained to be a thief since she was a toddler, Kat made some incredibly stupid decisions and wasn't nearly as good as everyone said she was.

I will say this: if you're looking for a book that's incredibly fast-paced, this one certainly fits the bill. Anything to keep the story moving. For some people, this might be a plus, but I found myself feeling frustrated. Carter never gave readers a chance to slow down and get to know the characters, not even at the beginning – Kat and Hale flitted from one country to another, meeting up with people in order to gather information. There was also an extremely poor sense of place. I'm pretty sure that Kat and Hale visited at least three different countries, but most of the time I couldn't remember where they were.

Kat's crew wasn't really that memorable. There was Hale, whose main contributions were his money and his ability to improvise and speak fluent billionaire. There was Gabrielle, Kat's cousin, who was responsible for distracting as many people as possible with her beauty. Rich and gorgeous Hale was Kat's obvious love interest, so of course Gabrielle was Kat's obvious possible romantic rival. Not that a Gabriel/Hale pairing seemed likely to anybody but Kat.

There was also Simon, a hacker who, when he was first introduced, hadn't struck me as the kind of guy who could handle a complicated and high-pressure theft, and Angus and Hamish, who were basically just there to fill out the crew. Late in the book, Kat recruited another member, Nick, in a spectacular display of bad decision-making.

I'm going to back up for a bit. Throughout most of the book, people made a big deal about Kat's decision to try to go straight. It was seen as a betrayal. Also, three months at boarding school left Kat incredibly out of practice as far as some of the physical aspects of thievery went. I was never quite sure about what Kat's skill level was supposed to have been like prior to boarding school, and how much she'd lost during those three months, but the amount of emphasis on Kat's atrophied skills seemed excessive.

Despite all that, Kat's crew accepted her as their leader pretty quickly. I was surprised but hopeful. Maybe Kat would demonstrate that, no matter how rusty some of her skills were, she could still come up with brilliant plans. Okay, so everyone thought that robbing the museum would be impossible with a crew of only six people, but Kat would figure something out. Right? Wrong. Instead, she recruited Nick, a random guy whose only credentials were his ability to pick Kat's pocket (and get caught by her) and Kat's gut feeling that he was pretty good. The rest of Kat's crew freaked out about this, and rightfully so. Unfortunately, Nick was not only a bad professional decision on Kat's part, he also led to an annoying love triangle that nobody had the time to deal with.

Meh. At least this was a quick read, and the actual heist was kind of fun. It was also a relief that Kat figured out some of her mistakes before they became fatal. I went into this expecting (and hoping for!) fluff, but this particular fluff was even less substantial than I expected it to be. Taccone, the supposedly very bad and dangerous guy, was too easily dealt with. Also, I was a little annoyed that Visily Romani's identity was never revealed. Actually, unless Carter plans on painting herself into a corner, the current Visily had better be a whole crew of people, because otherwise I'd want to know how a single person managed to do several thefts that characters repeatedly said could not be done alone.


(Original review, with read-alikes, posted on A Library Girl's Familiar Diversions.)

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text 2016-02-23 16:15
Reading progress update: I've read 127 out of 201 pages.
Heist Society - Ally Carter

Yes, let's do a seemingly impossible heist with a brand new person who hasn't been properly vetted and who no one in the group knows. I'm sure the guy won't screw up or betray anyone at all.

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text 2016-02-16 02:58
Reading progress update: I've read 12 out of 201 pages.
Heist Society - Ally Carter

I felt bad that I had been requesting that my library buy so many Overdrive e-books and yet not reading many of them, so here's my first e-book checkout in a while. It's a YA book written in the third person. Amazing.

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review 2015-09-23 00:00
Heist Society
Heist Society - Ally Carter I read the first book of Ally Carter's Gallagher Girls series when I was younger and loved it. I was wanting to read another series by her.

The Heist Society was a great, quick read. It was full of twists and turns. The characters were unique and interesting. Of course there had to be some drama.

I am going to read the next one in the series to find out what happens to Kat.
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review 2014-08-26 00:00
Heist Society
Heist Society - Ally Carter Book Info
Kindle Edition, 337 pages
Published February 9th 2010 by Disney Hyperion (first published January 1st 2010)
original title Heist Society
edition language English
series Heist Society #1
characters Gabrielle, Simon, Katarina Bishop, W.W. Hale the Fifth, Arturo Taccone
setting New York City, New York (United States) Las Vegas, Nevada (United States)
Sabina Valley (Italy) ...more
literary awardsYALSA Teens' Top Ten (2010), Goodreads Choice Nominee for Young Adult Fiction (2010)
other editions (35)
Source:Kindle version borrowed from Public Library

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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 her back into the world she tried so hard to escape. But he has 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 history-or at least her family's (very crooked) history.

My Thoughts

The art of stealing has always fascinated me, the preparation time, the research of location and objects, the picking of the correct members of the group and the execution of the crime itself are only part and parcel of what makes this illegal profession such an interesting subject.

Kat Bishop is an unusual 15-year-old, her education is not the conventional one for sure but her life has certainly not been boring or dull. However Kat is ready for exactly that so she finagles her way into an elite boarding school, much to her displeasure she is not there long before being expelled for an offense she did not commit.

The fun starts when she discovers how she was set up and why, the mental gymnastics that we are subjected to as we follow along with the characters is both challenging and entertaining.

What a charming group of characters we have the pleasure of meeting, pretty neat caper pulled off by Kat and her friends too!

[Kindle version borrowed from Public Library]
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