By Ally Carter; Read by Angela Dawe
5 CDs, 1 MP3-CD or Audible Download – Approx. 6 Hours 7 Minutes [UNABRIDGED]
Publisher: Brilliance Audio
Published: February 9, 2010
ISBN: 1441826734 (cd), 9781441826756 (mp3-cd)
Themes: / Crime / Caper / Heist / Grifting / Art / Europe / Romance /
Since she can remember, Katarina’s relatives have been grooming her for the family business – thieving. But when Kat tries to go straight and leave the “Life” for a normal life, she’s promptly kicked out of her new school for stealing the headmaster’s car and mounting it on the school fountain. Although she could have done it without breaking a sweat, ironically, this time, she’s innocent. In fact, she was framed – by another highly skilled thief. Her friend and brother-in-trade Hale, with his mischievous smile and limitless bank account, has appeared out of nowhere to bring her back to the Life, back to the family Kat tried so hard to escape. Hale has a good reason: A powerful mobster has just been robbed of his priceless art collection, and he wants to retrieve it. Only a master thief could have cracked this vault, and Kat’s father isn’t just on the suspect list, he IS the list. Now, caught between Interpol and a far more deadly predator, Kat’s dad needs her help. For Kat, a consummate thief in her own right, the solution is simple: track down the paintings and steal them back. So what if it’s a spectacularly impossible job? She’s got two weeks, a teenage crew, and maybe just enough misguided pride to pull off the biggest heist in history – or at least in her family’s (very crooked) history.
I can’t say there’s much more to this novel than the very detailed premise outlined above. It’s theme is as old as YA. A smart kid must save his or her parent from something. Mayhaps it’s not the most exicting theme ever, but it’s far more interesting than:
“Love conquers all, or love is the strongest force or something. Something about love being so strong to overcome anything.”
And as I value my time, and try to be pragmatic about these things, I find it hard not to recommend Heist Society as a breezy listen! It’s easily picked up, and just as easily dropped. I listened to it over the course of about four months – between more serious audiobooks and a forced reading of part of Twilight. Now, being a fan of practically every grifter/heist movie ever made, I can’t say I learned a single new trick or wrinkle while listening to Heist Society. But then again I didn’t really expect to. That isn’t to say, though, that I wouldn’t have liked to. And while all this probably doesn’t sound like a particularly ringing endorsement I’d much rather hand a copy of Heist Society to practically any kid than something far more popular with far more vapidity (like say something with a sparkly vampire and the teen who pines after him). See, the negatives with Heist Society aren’t particularly egregious. Sure Katarina’s and Hale are a pair of kids who act variously cynical and cool, innocent and dastardly, all while lusting (ever so gently) towards each other – but they do so in a slightly more realistic world, talking about slightly more realistic subjects, with slightly more interest in history, art and a lot more of the taking-charge-of-shit and a lot less of the lying-around-and-wishing-that a handsome-prince-whose-been-in-high-school-for-ninety-years would stare at her while she sleeps.
Bitter? Noooo, I’m not bitter.
Anyway, Ally Carter’s writing style is brisk, unobtrusive, and not wholly unsophisticated. It delivers a soft boiled tale that seems far more inspired by the Oceans 11, 12, 13, Entrapment, The Maiden Heist end of the spectrum than the The Silent Partner, The Great Train Robbery, Thief end. And if you’re an adult, in the mood for a YA novel that doesn’t have a single brooding vampire anywhere in sight (not even in the castles), this might just fill a few empty hours.
Narrator Angela Dawe performs Kat well enough, perhaps sounding a bit too adult. Dawe is not, however, quite able to fully sell me on the male characters. Her voice range isn’t particularly vast. Thankfully, as most scenes aren’t full of multiple characters, there isn’t much of a chance of confusing any of them. She’s certainly good enough for this novel.
Posted by Jesse Willis