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.
This is one of those books that has been on my TBR for the longest time. I actually own all three books in this series -- the second one is even signed and personalized by Ally Carter. But the series never quite made it too far up the TBR list. Then I found a sale on the audiobook for Heist Society for $6. Whoo hoo! I jumped on it....and that was almost a year ago. But finally, a few weeks ago, I was looking for a quick audiobook that I was sure I'd enjoy to tide me over as I waited for one from the library. This seemed like the perfect bet.
This fell into so many of my Flo traps. First of all, the trap of (1) Expectation. I was so sure I would love it. I adored the Gallagher Girls series, and flew through all 6 books on audio in a matter of months. But to me this book had an (2) Unlikable Main Character. Those who are familiar with my reading style and reviews know that I commonly say if I don't like the main character, or any character, in the book, I struggle with it. Especially here, because we are talking (technically) about a crime. In order to cheer for something that is fundamentally wrong, I have to want to root for the characters. (Note: I am just talking wrong on a very, very basic level. I don't think Kat's motivations in this story were wrong at all. I'm just saying stealing in general is wrong.) I wanted this to be an Oceans 11 or a Six of Crows, where I was holding my breath throughout the plan and crossing my fingers that they were able to pull it off. But Katarina Bishop....I couldn't root for her. To me she came off as selfish, demanding, and not really friendly. I am assuming that the Kat that Hale and her family knows was maybe, I don't know, nice to them. But the Kat as written in the pages of this story wasn't. She was mean to Gabrielle, did things she knew would upset Hale and others, and decided to do things on her own without talking to anyone about it. If anyone in Kat's gang had gone off and made decisions that affected them all, she wouldn't like it. But she can do it, just because - why? Because she's Kat Bishop? I guess. (Note: I had this same problem with Cammie in one of the Gallagher Girl books. She just kept disobeying her mom. Jacque told me it was showing her independence. I just thought she was being a bad girl by blatantly disregarding her mom's rules.)
I, of course, had heard a lot about Hale. I was ready to add him to my book boyfriend list. But...I couldn't. To me, he had no other personality besides being obsessed with Kat and rich, because it helped the plot along. Give me a characteristic of Hale besides rich and obsessed with Kat?! And Kat's gang was almost developed enough to be unique and fun and want me to root for them. Almost. They just fell short for me, and honestly I don't know why. And the villain just seemed to cliche. Like, everything about him -- what he said, what he did = cliche. I think we were supposed to be scared or intimidated by him, but I kind of just kept rolling my eyes.
All that being said, I do really like the idea for this series. And I honestly am a little curious to read the next book in the series. But at the end of the day, I think I will champion Gallagher Girls from here until forever. You should read that series! It is so fun! Here are some links:
Book Nerd Jacque's review of the second Heist Society book, Uncommon Criminals. (Spoiler: She loved it!) http://jacquesbooknook.blogspot.com/2013/03/uncommon-criminals-by-ally-carter.html
I'd Tell You I Love You, But Then I'd Have to Kill You (Gallagher Girls #1):
Cross My Heart and Hope to Spy (Gallagher Girls #2): http://www.booknerdsacrossamerica.com/2015/06/cross-my-heart-and-hope-to-spy-by-ally.html
United We Spy (Gallagher Girls #6):