Monday, February 11, 2013
Katarina Bishop has never had a normal life, but that doesn't mean it hasn't been a happy life. She is loved by her con artist family, she knows they will always be there when she needs them, and now she has a boyfriend, Hale. But Hale has never known the concept of family the way Kat has, and when his beloved grandmother dies, that fact becomes all too real.
The boyfriend thing is new for Kat, but when Hale abandons them in the middle of a con, she knows something horrible has happened. When she finds out his grandmother has died, she gets to see the true origins of W. W. Hale V, and it isn't pretty. When she goes to the funeral, she truly begins to understand that Hale is from a different class of people than Kat is, and she knows she could never fit in with this life of his. When the will is read, Hale's world is thrown into turmoil again as he learns his grandmother has left him the billion dollar company. Until Hale is of age to take over the company, the family lawyer will serve as executor, but something is wrong.
When Marcus, Hale's faithful servant, pulls Kat aside to talk to her, he explains his concerns that the will is a forgery. Hale's grandmother never trusted the lawyer, and she always said she would leave something to Marianne, Marcus's sister and Hale's grandmother's best friend. Knowing Kat's particular set of skills, Marcus asks Kat to investigate and find the real will. Now Kat, always a moral con artist (really! I swear!), feels like she must take this job, but how can she take the job that might prove her boyfriend doesn't deserve the inheritance he received?
You know, I have seen a lot of comparisons of this series to "Ocean's Eleven", but while there is the heist connection between the two, and I love them both, I think this series is in a class all of its own! It really is fun and exciting and gives the reader so much to think about. There was a time I wanted Ally Carter to start writing more YA novels and less MG novels, but I realize that has already happened. Just because her books are clean and can be appropriate to younger readers doesn't mean they aren't also complex enough for older readers. In fact, I find Carter to be very similar to Rick Riordan in that respect. Both of their books are written for younger readers within the genre but are so well written they can easily appeal to everyone, including adults. And in that sense, they are pure genius! There aren't many books that can appeal to both adults and 5th graders and make both demographics happy, but Carter has found the magic formula with this series!
And this was a much different book from the first two because the heists were much more personal to the group. Knowing the possible outcome for Hale, they didn't know how to include him, and he resented their involvement until he found out just how evil the lawyer was. I am keeping my fingers crossed that there will be more of these books in the series, because they are just so great to read. And it isn't often you find a good clean book you can give to tons of readers. If I had one complaint it would be that I wished the covers were more gender neutral because I know boys would love to read these stories, but the covers would scare many of them away. So I might just "heist" the book jacket and trick them into reading it! After they finished it, they would thank me for my trickery!