If you were going to judge her by her name alone, you might think "Katarina" was some struggling orphan girl who belongs in an old-school cartoon. But while Heist Society was published by Disney (yes, they do books too), our gal Kat doesn't need friendly forest animals to help win the prince's heart. Kat will catch the prince's eye by stealing all of his castle's most precious art.
When we first meet Kat, she seems like any other student at the snooty Colgan School. We realize that she's not like the other students at all. They think she's "something of an enigma" (1.11). "Some called her a hero; others called her a freak" (1.12). We think those others are just jealous.
What about us? We sort of wish we were like Kat. She flies around the globe, steals beautiful artwork without getting caught (though Shmoop does not condone theft, of course), and is a persuasive con artist who can get people to do pretty much whatever she wants.
Wow, that was a lot of awesomeness in one paragraph. And we're not done yet. Kat has a conscience, you see, and she does all of these glamorous and questionably ethical things for the right reasons. So, yeah. It'd be nice to travel around with her a bit for "Career Day."
While Kat's a shooting star of a cat burglar, even at just sixteen years old, there are aspects of her life we definitely don't envy, not even a little bit. Her personal life, all told, is kind of a mess. Her mother died when she was six, and her father has been training her from a very young age to be a thief. Sure, it paid off, but what kind of life is that for a child to lead?
If Kat's father had been put away for a while, she'd probably have had to live with Uncle Eddie, who is also a thief. You can take the girl out the family, but you can't take the family out of the girl. Or something.
Then, there's the romantic front. She's supposedly not interested in Hale. Nope, totally not interested in Hale. Not one small, miniscule, microscopic bit. Hm, we have to wonder if Kat's such a good con artist that she's conning herself out of her crush on Hale.
One more thing complicating Kat's romantic life is her startlingly low self-esteem, at least when it comes to her looks. We're told:
Sometimes Katarina Bishop couldn't help but wonder if she had been the victim of some colossal, genetic mistake. […] All she could think was maybe she wasn't even female. (28.1)
Holy insecurity issues, Batgirl. For a sixteen year-old who can steal a priceless work of art from a maximum-security museum without batting an eyelash, she practically turns into Bella Swan at times, tripping over things and fretting that she's just too ordinary to stand a chance at love. She's jealous of her cousin, Gabrielle, too, who not only can heist with the rest of the crew, but who looks pretty hot doing it.
The real difference between Kat and Gabrielle? Confidence. Gabrielle exudes confidence in how her looks and her abilities. We don't know why Kat is so insecure—maybe her family life has left a lasting, negative impression on her—but hopefully her big, Dad-saving heist will help set her on the right track.
On the whole, Kat's kind of a mixed bag. She boldly does things we could never imagine doing—like walking up to a security camera and waving at it in order to catch a scary crime boss's attention. But she also seems to have a ways to go in the sense-of-self department. And we strongly recommend against you taking her whole thieving behavior as a model for your future, Shmoopers.