I welcomed in 2010 (or MMX, as I’m going to call it) by finishing Heist Society by Ally Carter. I’m a huge fan of the Gallagher Girls series, so I was very interested to see how this new set of books would play out.
It is a new series, to be clear. Cammie does not show up at all, although I think a Cammie vs. Kat showdown (in the same degree as a Batman vs. Superman, Spider-man vs. Wolverine conflict) is in order. Kat demonstrates the same strong protagonist characteristics as Cammie. I would argue Kat shows even more.
The set-up is that Kat has left the family business of thieving and has tried to pull off the ultimate con: live a normal life at a boarding school. News of her father’s trouble reaches her and she must get back into the game to save her dad.
If you are a fan of movies like Oceans 11 or The Italian Job, this is a must-read. Kat has to assemble her crew and each contributes their special abilities towards the goal of robbing the Henley. You’ve got your tech person, your pickpocket, and your diplomatic “face”. How the crew cases the museum is pretty funny and the tone highlights the fact that these characters are not the villains of the book, even if they are trying to steal thousands of dollars worth of paintings. There is genuine concern for the characters’ safety, but not to the extreme of Hunger Games/Catching Fire.
I feel like Kat has more focus on her objectives than Cammie did. Cammie could be distracted very easily by Zach and Josh. Kat still has two boys to try and figure out, but her long-time friend Hale outclasses Nick the pickpocket by far. (I know that this point will become an issue of debate in February when Heist Society hits the shelves, but come on! Hale is awesome.)
The book does have a more mature feel than the Gallagher Girls, a fact enhanced by Kat’s level of maturity. It’s not like there’s any questionable content; you can just tell that Kat has seen more of the world. The author mixes references to historical events and actual locations with fictional characters, locales, and pieces of art. It’s a great world that Ally Carter has envisioned.
What’s really exciting is to see Ally Carter mature as a writer with each book she creates. It would be easy for a series writer to slack off with one of the books ([cough]Final Warning[/cough]) and many times I finish book one to a series thinking that more plot could have gone into the first book. Heist Society has great pacing and can stand alone as its own book. You definitely want to hang out with the likes of Uncle Eddie and Bobby Bishop more (and figure out who framed Kat’s dad), but you could stop at Heist Society and know you’ve enjoyed a complete story.
I wouldn’t recommend stopping after just one book, though. Ally’s currently working on book two while we wait for GG4: Only the Good Spy Young to come out in June. Make sure you grab a copy of Heist Society in February (librarians, you’ll want multiple copies).