For some reason it's taken me a few days too long to read Uncommon Criminals by Ally Carter. I blame sheer "not being in the mood to read" more than a...more
For some reason it's taken me a few days too long to read Uncommon Criminals by Ally Carter. I blame sheer "not being in the mood to read" more than any one thing. Today I sat down and ripped through the end of it. Somewhere in the middle of it everything clicked, just like the perfect con.
Kat is still reeling from the high created from robbing the Henley Museum, so much so that she keeps finding jobs to keep it going. Her efforts lead her to a beauty... A wondrous find for History - The Cleopatra Emerald. Missing for decades, and believed cursed, this extraordinary gem has recently come on to the market. The con; that Kat and co. must steal it out from under everyone's noses and replace it with a fake... but is this job too big for the greatest thief in the world?
I like so much about this book, much of it is character stuff. I love how Carter does subtle things to show how the Henley job has changed Kat... how she has become addicted to the high of the chase...how she settles into the group like a family. I also loved the dynamics of her relation between Hale and how in one second everything changes. This book is bloody good.
I'm always up for a caper novel and Carter does these books brilliantly. I hope she does another one, though it very well can end with this one... I really want to see what she would pull out of her writer's sleeve for a third one though... Where in the world will Kat find herself next?
White Cat was one of my favourite books in 2010. Naturally, I was so geeked to read Black Heart by Holly Black. I love the idea behind this series - i...more
White Cat was one of my favourite books in 2010. Naturally, I was so geeked to read Black Heart by Holly Black. I love the idea behind this series - illegal magic, shady dealings, grifting, cons, betrayals... it's oh so good. I received an ARC of the third (and final) book in the series a little while ago and I only now got to it. I'm pretty sure there's a reason for that and the reason is this - I didn't want to let this series go. Plain and simple.
Cassel is skirting the edge of two very different worlds - the world of syndicated crime that he has always known and the recruitment of the Licensed Minority Division, which is a new and foreign animal. The LMD want to use his transformation abilities to catch criminals but that puts Cassel into a tough position; the possibility of prosecuting the people he has always loved, including Lila Zacharov. For years he thought he had killed her but now he is faced with the challenge of deserting her forever. Is the possibility of the future worth overcoming the torture of his past?
Cassel is such a great character to follow around in this world. The hidden depths of his soul are just magnificent. I am going to miss him so much... Him and Lila both; their tumultuous romance is one of my favourite plot points in YA these last few years. I really am sorry to see this trilogy go, however the farewell is bittersweet. I can't complain very much about this series. There are moments where it's imperfect in execution. However, the imperfections are very much appreciated in the scope of this series. It helps to focus the themes to pinpoint acuity. It reminds you that nothing in this world is perfect and nobody gets everything they want. Not even con artists... not even Cassel.
4 out of 5 stars, for this book and for the entire series. You really should give these a try.
Last year I read Holly Black's White Cat. I really enjoyed it; illegal magic, forbidden love, male protagonist...what's not to love? Over the last cou...more Last year I read Holly Black's White Cat. I really enjoyed it; illegal magic, forbidden love, male protagonist...what's not to love? Over the last couple of days I picked up the sequel, Red Glove, and it was exactly what I expected it to be.
In Red Glove Cassel is being pursued by both the law and the Curse Workers. The workers want to bring him (and his rare transformation powers) into the fold and the law wants him to rat everybody out. Meanwhile, Lila has enrolled at Wallingford and Cassel is desperately trying to avoid her and her emotion-worked feelings for him, despite his love for her. Very early in the story Cassel's brother, Philip, gets killed. Cassel's life is changing in all the worst ways and he can seem to stop the trajectory.
Reading Black is always a treat. In this series she uses a lot of pared down, simplified prose. Her wording is beautiful, she conveys so much in a single sentence with as simple an explanation as possible. I really appreciate the style for this series. It enhances the storyline perfectly.
I don't want to give up any spoilers, but this is a great continuation of the story. It is, tragically, very much a middle book. But, that said, it's pretty fun. I'll rank it a 4 out of 5 stars.
This is my first time reading Holly Black… well, her young adult books anyway. I picked up White Cat yesterday and read it in two quick sittings. It w...more This is my first time reading Holly Black… well, her young adult books anyway. I picked up White Cat yesterday and read it in two quick sittings. It was really absorbing.
The premise is pretty good. In the world Black creates magic was outlawed with prohibition years back and is now controlled by the mafia. In the hands of skilled con-artists Curse Working can be a real asset to the job. Cassel comes from such a family. He is the only one who is not able to work curses and, as a result, feels he has to make up by being a great con-artist without it. With his Father dead, his mother in jail for Emotion working, his brothers in their own sordid games and his Grandfather a skilled former Death Worker for one of the biggest Mafia don in the country Cassel has a lot of ground to cover.
Cassel has one great secret though. Three years ago Cassel killed the girl he was in love with, but he doesn’t remember how. Riddled with guilt he tries to adapt to a “normal” life. But normal is relative when your dreams are haunted by the girl you killed. One night finds him on the roof of his school with dreams of a white cat chasing his heels. When the incident lands Cassel suspended he begins to analyze what his dreams mean and why he can’t remember Lila’s murder.
I like reading Holly Black. I really like her style. The prose is very simple but she knows how to create so much with just a few well-chosen words. It’s very sensual when it needs to be too… her description I mean. She masters adjectives and profound imagery with as little syllables as possible. I like it. She is almost leaving out things intentionally to let your imagination fill in the blanks. Very refreshing. It’s nice to have an author who lets the audience fill in the world.
Besides that, I really liked the world. Illegal Magic? Brilliant. Simple, and brilliant. The rest of the world fleshes itself out around this idea. I also love whenever YA authors use male protagonists in their books, which doesn’t happen nearly as often as I would like. The lion’s share of main characters are largely female. I doesn’t change a lot, but the dynamic feels skewed in a way that I like.
Overall 4.5 out of 5. I very much want to read the next one.