Reading Level: YA (Middle schoolers could easily read it, too.)
Publisher: Disney (Hyperion Books), 2011
My rating: 2 stars
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 this time. Which means, this time, Katarina Bishop is making up her own rules. (Amazon Product Description)
After reading Heist Society last year, I was pumped for the sequel, Uncommon Criminals. I loved the fast paced action of the last book, and was hoping Mrs. Carter would bring even more to the table this time around. But sadly, Uncommon Criminals didn’t meet all my (enormously high) expectations.
Why didn’t I love it, you ask? Well, I’ll first tell you what I DID like. 1) Kat’s stubbornness. She’s ready and willing to face up for her mistakes, and she WON’T, under any circumstances, let her friends get hurt anymore. 2) The way Kat’s team works together. They know what the other is thinking, the plan before it’s secretly hatched. They can read a thousand words in one wink, one hand gesture. They’re one mind. 3) Hale. Need I say more? *swoon* 4) The quick change of plans. You can’t skip one page without missing something. It’s non-stop action and keeps you occupied enough for any good con man to swiftly swipe your wallet. (I just had to throw that in…corny enough for you? J) 5) The squeaky-cleanness of the whole thing.
Now, the one thing I didn’t love about this book (and the last one) was the more than slightly confusing plot. It was worse in Uncommon Criminals, because there were two gems, and I was constantly getting confused about which was which. I had to stop for a minute when I finished the book and just figure out what had happened. Mrs. Carter didn’t exactly explain what happened in plain words. You had to read between the lines. Maybe it was just little old me, not the brightest bulb in the lot, but I found the plot a little too intricate for my liking. It may not bother you, but I was left thinking, “What???”
Sexual: None. Hale and Kat “accidentally” kiss once, but nothing is described, it’s not sensual in the least, and Kat almost looks back at it with disgust.
Other notables: Like I said in my review for Heist Society, Kat, her family, and her crew are criminals, more or less. They steal and return lost art and treasure to its rightful owners (like Robin Hood), but stealing is stealing. “You shall not steal.” – Exodus 20:15