GUEST REVIEW: “Perfect Scoundrels,” Ally Carter
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Title: Perfect Scoundrels (Heist Society #3)
Author: Ally Carter
Published: February, 2013 by Hyperion Books
Pages: 328
Rating: ★★★½☆ 
Purchase: The Book Depository

Katarina Bishop and W.W. Hale the fifth were born to lead completely different lives: Kat comes from a long, proud line of loveable criminal masterminds, while Hale is the son of one of the most seemingly perfect dynasties in the world. If their families have one thing in common, it’s that they both know how to stay under the radar while getting-or stealing-whatever they want. No matter the risk, the Bishops can always be counted on, but in Hale’s family, all bets are off when money is on the line.
When Hale unexpectedly inherits his grandmother’s billion dollar corporation, he quickly learns that there’s no place for Kat and their old heists in his new role. But Kat won’t let him go that easily, especially after she gets tipped off that his grandmother’s will might have been altered in an elaborate con to steal the company’s fortune. Forced to keep a level head as she and her crew fight for one of their own, Kat comes up with an ambitious and far-reaching plan that only the Bishop family would dare attempt.
To pull it off, Kat is prepared to do the impossible, but first, she has to decide if she’s willing to save her boyfriend’s company if it means losing the boy.

Final Thoughts:
After Uncommon Criminals fell short of the initial spark I found in the beginning of the series, I was admittedly a little worried, even hesitant, in starting Perfect Scoundrels. It started out intriguing enough, and by half way through I was settling into the whole ‘episode of the week’ vibe. But by the end my doubts had re-emerged as to whether it would be worth it for someone like me to continue with the possible fourth novel (still to be announced). Who knows?

On their own, I think the books are great, and you only have to visit Ally Carter’s website to know this is how she intended the books to be read – each as a practical stand alone. I guess it’s that I’m not really a serial reader above and beyond the newspaper comics page. My Famous Five/Secret Seven days are well behind me. Perhaps the mystery of Visily Romani – introduced in Heist Society – excited me too much to think such an arc would just be left behind and forgotten as the series progressed.

To talk purely and simply of Perfect Scoundrels, I think it was a great novel for the series. It took a turn from painting heists and jewel cons to focussing on things more close to home, bringing family further back into the mix. It was sad that we didn’t really get to know Hale’s family though – Kat didn’t have a conversation more than five sentences with any of them – instead, centering more on his deceased grandmother and his fitting into Kat’s family. This also allowed Kat to reflect more on her own mother’s passing. Although Hale was in too much of a rut to let it help him and Kat grow closer as a couple, it was at least a chance for the reader to get more in tune with Kat’s past.

The rest of the crew, or at least those who are Kat’s age, stayed much the same as I found them in Uncommon Criminals in that they just turned up, did their thing, and kept Kat in the spotlight. Gabrielle had a few more lines and stuck around in the scenes a lot more which was nice but I’m beginning to understand that character growth for anyone besides THE main characters just isn’t held as important to this series – maybe down the track there’ll be novels where the plots center on one or two of her crew, and that may give them a chance to shine in a part other than side-kick. The older men in Kat’s family had much more of a presence even with less page time, mostly due to their sage-like wisdom and advice which related more to Kat’s personal troubles in the book.

The main plot motivator revolves around Hale’s family corporation being under threat by internal sabotage and the possible forgery of his grandmother’s will. The whole searching for a missing will was promising, and led me to believe we’d be on a suspense filled clue hunt. But thieves need something to steal, so about midway through, the will is left in the dust and we’re given the plot of a missing technological prototype which the crew have to steal back from the corporate saboteur. It was a bit jumpy like this as targets moved, plans changed, and focus shifted from one thing to another and, though I think it kept me alert I believe the whole ‘goose chase to keep the moment alive’ reminded me of how much I wanted something lasting in the series – such as an overarching plot. Sure, there were a few twists near the end which actually surprised me and left me wondering how the series would continue, but then (SPOILER ALERT) the book ended and revealed they were duds and I had been tricked into thinking I had something to look forward to.

Recommended to: fans of the series, and those seeking the YA equivalent of kid’s adventure series like Famous Five.