Book Review: Uncommon Criminals By Ally Carter

Title: Uncommon Criminals
Author: Ally Carter
Genre: Young Adult
Publisher: Orchard Books
Publication Date: 21st June 2011
Goodreads Summary: 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 simply… 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, realizing that the same tricks and cons her family has used for centuries are useless this time.

Which means, this time, Katarina Bishop is making up her own rules.


Immediately after finishing Heist Society (book #1), I got started on Uncommon Criminals. I wasn’t sure what to expect from this novel as the Heist Society series is made up of standalone stories instead of one continuous plot. Kat has been busy since she and her team robbed the Henley for Arturo Taccone with little jobs all over the world. Much to her friends and family’s dismay, however, she’s been working alone.

Finally, she’s back in the US and a woman, Constance Miller, has approached her asking her to help steal back Cleopatra’s Emerald which was wrongfully taken from her family decades ago. This is a seemingly impossible task and even her Uncle Eddie, who knows everything about everything to do with thieving, is telling her to stay away from this job, but Kat being Kat, accepts the challenge. The stone is supposedly cursed and those that have attempted to steal the emerald in the past have come to an unpleasant end. Ignoring all the warnings, Kat and her crew go ahead and start planning to steal back this prized emerald, but things get very complicated, very quickly as it turns out people are not who they say they are.

Although the ‘crew’ is made up of several people, namely, Kat, Hale, Gabrielle, Hamish, Angus and Simon, we don’t really get the chance to connect with any of the characters apart from Kat and possibly Hale and Gabrielle. The rest of the team may as well not be included in the story because I don’t really know much about any of them and as the story doesn’t tell us anything about them it seems like they’re not doing a lot. We still get the sense that all the characters make up a tight knit family group despite the fact that there’s not a lot of ’emotional’ interaction between them so this must be some sort of magical power that Ally Carter possesses. There is a very slight progression in the Kat/Hale relationship, but not as much as I would’ve liked. Although this book isn’t focused on teen romance at all, I feel like a little more attention could have been paid to these two characters just to give the story a little more spice. I feel like there’s a lot of tension between these two characters and I really hope that at some point it explodes into something really amazing.

There are lots of twists and turns in this book and as Uncommon Criminals is written in the third person, we as readers are kept in the dark until we read the events as they happen. As with Heist Society, I thought that this book was brilliant in terms of both character and plot, until the very end when the plot started to get over-complicated. I found myself rather confused as I was reading the climax to the story and I’m still not entirely sure what exactly happened but whatever it was, it was an extremely intricate and detailed plan. I never really had any idea what was going to happen next or how these kids were going to pull off such a feat so you keep reading desperately trying to find out what the crew is going to do next.

The Heist Society books are highly addictive and keep you turning page after page after page. They sort of fit into the genre of crime (the positive sort?) and mystery as they revolve around a group of thieving do-gooders – you’ll have to read the books to find out what I mean. I’d highly recommend these books to anyone and everyone. Even though these are ‘young adult’ books, I’m sure that many adults could read these and still greatly enjoy them.

If you like the sound of this book, check out my reviews of the other Ally Carter books:

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