I received this book for free (hey, thanks!) in exchange for an honest review. I promise that this does NOT affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review. For real.All Fall Down by Ally Carter
Series: Embassy Row #1
Genres: Mystery/Thriller, Young Adult
Published by Scholastic on January 20th 2015
Also by this author: I'd Tell You I Love You, But Then I'd Have to Kill You, Cross My Heart and Hope to Spy, My True Love Gave To Me, Don't Judge a Girl by Her Cover, Only the Good Spy Young, Out of Sight, Out of Time, United We Spy, See How They Run, Take the Key and Lock Her Up, Not If I Save You First
Format: ARC (320 pages) • Source: Publisher
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A new series of global proportions -- from master of intrigue, NEW YORK TIMES bestselling author Ally Carter.
Grace Blakely is absolutely certain of three things:
1. She is not crazy.
2. Her mother was murdered.
3. Someday she is going to find the killer and make him pay.
As certain as Grace is about these facts, nobody else believes her -- so there's no one she can completely trust. Not her grandfather, a powerful ambassador. Not her new friends, who all live on Embassy Row. Not Alexei, the Russian boy next door, who is keeping his eye on Grace for reasons she neither likes nor understands. Everybody wants Grace to put on a pretty dress and a pretty smile, blocking out all her unpretty thoughts. But they can't control Grace -- no more than Grace can control what she knows or what she needs to do. Her past has come back to hunt her . . . and if she doesn't stop it, Grace isn't the only one who will get hurt. Because on Embassy Row, the countries of the world stand like dominoes, and one wrong move can make them all fall down.
AHH THIS WAS SO GOOD GUYSSSS. Throughout the whole book, I kept wondering when I would find a flaw. I really couldn’t, for the most part, until the very end of the book. My first impression was that this book had a more mature feel to it than the Gallagher Girls, which was nice. The one thing that’s recently bugged me during my GG reread was that Cammie felt too immature to me. I was really looking forward to seeing what Ally Carter could do with an older character. Of course, Grace has her own problems that did at times make her seem younger than her age. There were times when she got angry and pouty that were reminiscent of a bratty teenager… but when you think about everything she’s been through, you kind of understand why. She seemed overdramatic at times, but she always said what was on her mind and wasn’t afraid of the backlash. She was kind of a badass, while also being funny and very sarcastic.
This book is about Grace trying to prove that her mother was murdered and not killed in the fire. She has very foggy memories of that night, but does vividly remember seeing the bullet holes in her mother’s chest. She tries to find the Scarred Man that she remembers from that night, as she believes he’s the one who killed her mother. I loved that Grace developed as an unreliable narrator in some ways; you start to doubt her memories too. The secondary characters were even better than Grace. I loved Megan, Rosie, and Noah SO MUCH. I need MORE of them in the rest of the series. Alexei was an interesting character too. I sense that he’s more involved in everything than he let on and I think he’s going to develop as the love interest. Noah, the other main boy, seemed like who could be a love interest too – but it’s nice because he developed as more of a “best friend” character who may or may not have feelings for Megan. Romance was completely missing from this book, which actually really worked. I’m sure some of that will be introduced later, but it was nice that the book didn’t have that factor taking away from the action. I hate when books force romance in when it’s not needed to develop the plot.
As far as plot goes, this one really had me on the edge of my seat. The reader is dropped into the middle of the action, when Grace moves back to Embassy Row in Adria. She is an “army brat,” as her father is in the military, her brother is at West Point….and her mother dealt antiques. The first hundred or so pages were spent with Grace getting used to being back on Embassy Row, meeting people, and settling in. (While also doing some crazy shit, like breaking into an old Iran embassy to rescue a scarf.) Embassy row was a great setting that really made the book SO interesting. It’s essentially a group of embassies lined up in the country of Adria. On Grace’s first night in Embassy Row, she goes on a walk with Noah and he jokingly explains what Embassy Row is to her (even though she’d been there every summer since she was a kid). I really liked the way the setting was explained by him, instead of just being an info-dump from the author. Grace moves into Embassy Row in the US Embassy, because her grandfather is the US Ambassador. He and Ms. Chancellor were also interesting characters that I’m excited to get to know in later books. Her brother, Jamie, was also referenced a lot; I hope he makes an appearance in later books too.
This book was action-packed as Grace learned more about the Scarred man and his connections to her family. Her and her friends uncover more information and secrets about Embassy Row. I really liked that despite the setting and nature of the book, it wasn’t super political. There were some parts that were, like the tension between Iran and Israel or Russia and the United States, but it just added a little bit to the book. All of the action comes to a climax towards the end, where you learn the truth about what happened to Grace’s mom. That part was really….crazy. I don’t know how else to describe it. I really didn’t like what the “big reveal” was, but I’m sure it was that way for a reason. It just made me sad. However, the ending was a definite cliffhanger and I am absolutely fascinated to see what direction the book is going to go now. View Spoiler »I really can’t believe that Grace was the one who accidentally killed her mom in the shop. That’s going to weigh on her SO much for the rest of her life, and I feel like it was kind of glossed over at the end of the book. If I were her, I would be completely broken beyond repair. We’ll see how it shapes her int he coming books, but I definitely need more information or more feelings from Grace as far as that goes. Yikes. BUT the part at the end where Ms. Chancellor reveals that her mother was more than antiques dealer and shows her this big ass room of weapons and books — makes me really wonder what the heck is going to happen next and what her mother’s real job was! AHHHH HOW AM I SUPPOSED TO WAIT?? « Hide Spoiler
Overall, this book was crazy. I love Ally Carter’s work. The characters, setting, and action in this book really made me enthralled with what I was reading. I am dying for the next book already and unfortunately have a long time to wait. I highly recommend this one to people who liked her other book series, but want to see something more mature and action-packed.