Released: 1st September 2011 (UK)
Publisher: Orchard Books
Source: From Library then Purchased
When Katarina Bishop was three, her parents took her 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's art collection has been stolen, and he wants it returned. 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 (very crooked) history--and, with any luck, steal her life back along the way
I actually liked Heist Society more than Gallagher Girls and I LOVED GG! I found Kat a bit more humble, less cocky and self-assured than the girls in GG; yet still very competent, talented and brave. Her skills were less admirable, but they felt more organic than the super girls of the Gallagher Academy, born out of the life she lived rather than intensive schooling.
Hale too…I liked him more than Zach. There’s something about a rich, bored playboy that I adore (Adrian Ivashkov anyone?) and it’s clear he has a great deal of emotion invested in Kat. The relationship between them was nicely complex and Ally Carter does a fantastic job of writing girls who aren’t necessarily interested in a relationship and are fairly oblivious to male attention, no matter how obvious it appears. Hale was great at not smothering Kat, yet wanting to be there to support her, help her and just generally be around her. I really liked the other characters as well; they were a total mishmash of miscreants but the group dynamic worked really well. I felt they had more of a role to play than the secondary characters of GG, who often felt well, like a supporting cast really. They were all really different and had unique personalities than came through in the writing.
Plotwise I really enjoyed it! The whole idea of robbing an art gallery was fascinating; to see how they went about it, but I also loved the pressure, the fact they struggled, did go to adults for help and were turned away forcing them to do it alone and the twists and turns that came with the plot. I found myself getting anxious, wondering if they would pull it off. I really rooted for the characters and really wanted them to succeed even though what they were doing was totally illegal. It still felt really…moral, which is bizarre but true. It amazes me how Ally Carter managed to come up with such a complex story , I am in awe of her storytelling abilities.
The writing is as snappy and engrossing as in Gallagher Girls, but I found it a bit more grown up, a bit less tweenie and a bit more YA if that makes sense. I loved the way certain parts of it were narrated, I can’t really explain it but it was the whole distant third person narration thing, it worked so well because it meant certain things could be hidden from the reader without it seeming obvious or odd, and yet avoided you feeling disconnected from Katarina which is something that can happen with this style of narration.
My event partner Liz is also posting her review of Heist Society today, plus you can win a complete set of Ally Carter books in our opening post