Stars: 3 out of 5
You have to put a specific lens to enjoy this series. If you are looking for an intricate story with life and death situations and complex characters, this is probably not a book for you. But if you are looking for a quick and fun romp through a seemingly impossible heist, then by all means, come right in.
I like the world this author created. It’s full of weird and unusual things, places, and people. Just take the Moonlight Express, for example, what a wonderful concept. And all the weird and terrible characters we encounter in these books are simply fascinating. Some of them are even more interesting than the main crew doing the heist.
And hence lies my issue with this book. The main crew is… okay, I guess, but they don’t really evolve much compared to the first book, with the exception of Lex. Annie is still anybody but herself, Johnny is still on tedious terms with reality, and Gideon… well, Gideon always has a plan. Problem is, we don’t learn much more about who Gideon is, or, more importantly, who he was before he stole that identity. There is mention of the fact that he used to run with Switch it Sally before, and that the big bad in this book had two of his friends killed. But that’s it, we don’t get more details. We don’t get any more insight into this character other than he has a few tricks in his pockets and always has a plan.
I would have loved to learn a bit more about him as the series progresses, but as it stands, he is the character that has the least personality in this crew. I see the mask he’d donned, but I don’t see the real person behind it, which is disappointing.
The pacing is also a bit off in this book, even though it moves rather quickly. What I mean by that is that we spend too much time assembling the team. I mean we don’t get to Las Vegas and start the con until almost 70% into the book, so this whole portion feels very rushed. It’s a whirlwind of action that introduces all the villains, sets up the stakes, executes the con, etc. There is never a real sense of danger or realization that the stakes are high. Plus, Gideon always has a plan.
In fact, this book follows exactly the same blueprint as the first book did, but it worked in the first book because we were being introduced to all the characters for the first time. Here however, we already know them, so there was really no need to putter around for over half the book. I would have been more happy if they had gotten to Vegas earlier and infiltrated the casino gradually.
But all in all, this was a quick and fun read. A good palate cleanser between longer books that have more substance to them. So I think I will check out the next book in the series as well.
PS: I received a free copy of this book via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.