Publisher: Orchard Books
Released: July 5th 2012
My Rating: 4.5 stars out of 5
Find it on Goodreads
Note: I own the US version of this book, but have included information about the UK release.
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...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 and realizing that the same tricks and cons her family has used for centuries are useless for this heist. This time, Kat's going to have to make up her own rules... (from Goodreads)
Uncommon Criminals left me with two burning questions after I finished reading it. Number one: who the heck is Romani? That guy knows everything, yet we know nothing about him. I want to know who he is. Didn’t his mother ever tell him it’s rude to HIDE YOUR IDENTITY AND THEN SEND CRYPTIC NOTES WHICH REQUIRE ONE TO RISK ONE’S LIFE? Number two: WHY MUST YOU DO THIS TO ME, KAT AND HALE? WHY? Stop this madness and just run off into the sunset together already! Or the snow. Or mountains. Whichever scenic picture floats your boat. Just do it. The tension is killing me.
Ahem. So yes, clearly Uncommon Criminals was a good book. Very good, in fact. Kat was her usual cool self. She was off doing lots of jobs on her own (much to Hale’s chagrin – he was mad that she left him behind) and so was missing out on a lot until along came a job that even she couldn’t do alone. Then of course came the insane planning, assigning crew members, the re-planning, the “oh-my-God-what-have-we-gotten-ourselves-into-this-can’t-be-done” phase, more organising, trouble, setbacks, more setbacks, progress, regress and then just more general cleverness. Everything about this book was so clever. Every little action had a part to play. Every eyeroll was key to ascertaining information, every conversation revealed something new to factor in to the plan. I loved the way nothing was ever quite how it seemed on the surface – there were layers and layers to peel back before you could uncover what was really going on. In this book we got to see that Kat wasn’t perfect, and that even she made mistakes, and I think it was good to see how she dealt with it – initially, she lost confidence, but then tried her best to make up for it, which is all you can really do. She sort of felt the need to be the best all the time, I think, and had to learn the hard way that no matter how good you are, at some point, someone will always bit better.
Hale was a whole other story. W.W. Hale the fifth. (Wendell? Weatherby?) He was almost as cryptic as Romani. What was going on with him? I never knew what to think when he was involved! I’ve said before that he and Kat had this crazy chemistry, and it completely stepped up a notch in this book. But Hale never said what he was thinking. He seemed interested in Kat, and then he didn’t. He obviously cared a lot about her, but why did he not do anything about it? Why did he just hang around, glaring angrily at Nick (more on him later), doing nothing in the mean time? And why didn’t he kiss Kat back! This boy was just full of mixed messages! And yet was just so frustratingly attractive and awesome. And charming and clever, and always there for Kat when she needed him. Do you see why I just want a happy sunset moment for them? I love both these characters, but they insist on being difficult. Yes, yes, I understand there were other things on their minds likes stealing a priceless emerald and whatnot, but STILL. That doesn’t give them the right to mess with my head with their are-we-aren’t-we romance! :P (I do completely love this relationship though. It’s refreshing that it’s not an insta-love where the characters get together after the first ten pages.)
Nick was back in this book (to actually help, surprisingly – seems like he got a taste for the heist), and I have to say, I kinda liked him. He was funny, always made jokes and just seemed like a guy you’d like to hang out with. Plus, Hale seriously disliked him, and it was great to see him respond to that (usually with an amusing insult or comment that made me smile). Gabby, Kat’s cousin, was also back, and we got to see a bit more of her, which I liked. She was really different to Kat, and it was nice to see how two people who shared few similarities got along (or didn’t get along, whichever you prefer :P).
Plot-wise, Uncommon Criminals was carefully constructed with lots of twists and turns. I guessed a few things, but it was really enjoyable nonetheless and it was awesome following Kat and co.’s journey. It was fast-paced too, and there wasn’t a boring page, in my opinion.
Overall, Uncommon Criminals was an excellent sequel to Heist Society, and I’m really excited for book 3 in the series (Kat. Hale. Sunset, okay?). Definitely give this series a go if you want lots of snark, action and smartness.