I’ve seen these books around a lot and didn’t want to read them because of the covers. I’m weird about faces on covers. I can’t actually remember who it was I saw talking about the Heist Society books the other day that made me think, “Oh, maybe they’re good,” but I’m glad I decided to give them a chance! AND Ally Carter is from Oklahoma, which I didn’t know until after I read the series and followed her on twitter, but I love finding out people are from Oklahoma!
“A good thief is always a good liar.”
An Introduction to a family of criminals! A young girl at boarding school, framed for a terrible crime. Kat (short for Katarina) Bishop is attempting a normal life at the Colgan School. She has left a life – and family – of crime. However, the life and the family will not leave her.
Kat’s friend Hale retrieves her from boarding school because her father is in trouble. Her father, Bobby, is a con man but another con man, a dangerous one, believes he stole some very high-end paintings. However, while Bobby has stolen a lot of things, he did not steal the paintings in question. To save her father from certain violence for a crime he didn’t commit, she gathers a team of teens to steal the paintings back from an (almost) impenetrable museum.
After learning more about art that was stolen by Nazis from her experience in the Henley, Kat assumes a Robin Hood role of returning important stolen goods. She takes an interest in small, solo jobs. She gains a reputation for being a noble thief that will help retrieve lost or stolen valuables. When someone comes to her for help retrieving half of the supposedly cursed Cleopatra diamond, she can’t refuse.
Kat calls her team together again and they set out to steal a legendary piece. As they perform the con, they start to believe the curse might be real. They also realize they’re not the only ones running a con!
The con lies closer to home this time when Hale’s family is involved. After his grandmother Hazel dies, Hale is withdrawn. Kat can understand that he’s upset and she doesn’t know how to help. Shockingly to the rest of his family, Hale is named head of the family company. However Marcus, a loyal servant to the Hale family, and friend to the youngest Hale, believes the will that was read is a fake and asks Kat to locate and steal the grandmother’s real will. Kat is reluctant to do anything that might hurt Hale, but she knows how important the truth is.
While trying to steal the will, they discover it isn’t the only thing that’s wrong. Hazel’s lawyer is a liar and wants to bring the company down. The gang, this time including Uncle Eddie and other adult members of the family, runs a con to protect Hall’s family and company from demise.
Issues: It was a bit difficult to believe teens could run such elaborate cons. Kat is fifteen when the first book starts up and Hale is sixteen. It did made sense that they had a brilliant hacker and most of the them grew up learning the tricks and honing skills. There were also some “hmm” moments with bad guys and just, how did they not get caught moments. However, it was not a big enough deal to diminish any enjoyment for me.
Heists: High tech museums, legendary emeralds, and the corporate world all require a lot of planning. Part of being a good thief is research but a lot of it is being able to roll with the punches. It also requires a few costumes, accents and charisma! Add in some hacking, surveillance, forgery and explosives and what more could you ask for? PLUS, every heist has a name and there are some good ones!
Family: I loved how the series focused on the family aspect. It’s a crime family and they deal with some serious stuff, but they all really care for each other. They hang out in Uncle Eddie’s kitchen and he tells them stories. They all go to Paraguay (or is it Uruguay?) for family heists. Kat thinks she wants to step away from the business, but she still loves her family. Hale is incredibly drawn to the family, he doesn’t need anything they might steal but the closeness is something he craves.
Romance: I also liked the romance! The first book doesn’t get too into the romance, but it’s obvious Kat and Hale like each other and have chemistry. The thing I really love about the romance is that, yes, they both find the other attractive but they both care about so much more than that. Hale wants to be part of Kat’s family and he wants to help her. He wants her to be safe. He’s protective of her, but not in an overbearing/douchey way. He just CARES! Kat is bashful about Hale even though she likes him and they’re close. She doesn’t know everything about him (like what his W’s represent!) but she knows he’s always there when she needs him and she wants to be there for him, too. They are just great, and it felt like more than a simple teenage romance.
Characters: There were so many great characters that made the series! From Uncle Eddie, the mastermind of the family, to Simon, the computer whiz, and Angus and Hamish, the brothers that like to blow things up, this series is full of characters to connect with! The main characters are the ones I fell in love with:
Kat: She loves her family and wants what’s best for them. She wants a life outside of the family business, but she’ll do anything to help them. She’s a thief but she definitely has a strong sense of morality.
Hale: “Kat sometimes wondered if that kind of self-assurance was something only very old money could buy.” He’s suave but he’s also genuine and vulnerable. His family is rich and absent, leaving little Hale all alone. He does have an awesome butler, Marcus, who is actually more like family. Hale and Kat met on a heist gone wrong and she “stole” him. He adores Kat and there’s some great friendship and flirtation between the two. There’s also the mystery of his name: W. W. Hale the Fifth goes only by Hale and Kat has no idea what the W’s stand for! And after 3 books, I don’t either!
Gabrielle: I love characters that change your mind! I was annoyed with her when she was introduced. I thought she was an air head, but she proved me wrong, wrong, wrong. She is smart and beautiful and she will not let you forget it. She is an asset to every heist. She’s also a great cousin and friend to Kat, she listens and gives advice Kat needs to hear, even if she doesn’t want to listen!
These books were fun! I can see myself rereading them and telling anyone that needs a happy, quick series to sink into to get this series! I’m interested in reading the Gallagher Girls series now, too!