Tuesday, January 20, 2015

Review: All Fall Down

All Fall Down
By Ally Carter
Published: January 20, 2015

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.

My review:

All Fall Down is the first book in Ally Carter's new Embassy Row series. I am a big fan of the Gallagher Girls series and I also liked her Heist Society novels. Both series featured a brave and smart heroine with spunk and alongside the action and mystery there was a nice touch of humor. The first Gallagher Girls books were lighter on the suspense and heavier on the humor in fact. All Fall Down is much darker and reminded me more of Out of Sight, Out of Time with the main character's memory loss issues and how others won't believe them.

When she was 13, Grace witnessed her mom's death and while the official story is that it was an accident, Grace insists that her mother was shot by a man with a scarred face. Three years later, she is back where it all happened in the (fictional) country of Adria where her grandfather is the U.S. Ambassador. The new Grace is prickly and defensive. She expects other people to look at her like she is crazy and she feels betrayed by the people she thought she could trust, namely her grandfather. She is also trying to be "good" and toe the line to avoid starting an international incident while secretly looking into her mother's death. Being in Adria triggers traumatic flashbacks for Grace which she tries to keep hidden. This makes it hard for her to appear "normal". The flashbacks give the readers clues to what happened but can we trust Grace's memory? 

I felt sorry for Grace because she seems so alone even when she is with other people. It was frustrating at times that hardly anyone believes her. At the same time I sometimes found Grace to be irritating and immature. Where Kat Bishop (Heist Society) and Cammie Morgan (Gallagher Girls) were smart girls who sometimes made mistakes, I thought Grace could be thoughtless and she didn't really consider the consequences of her actions. She wants to solve her mom's murder and find the guy who did it but it feels like she is more motivated to vindicate herself rather than to find justice for her mom. She wants to prove to her grandfather and her former friends that she isn't crazy and she is right and they are wrong. She also didn't want to accept any help but eventually her new friends wear her down which is a good thing since she really does need their help.

I liked Grace's friends (with the exception of Alexei) and they kind of helped save the book from being too dark. I would have liked to get to know them better but this book is pretty action packed which didn't leave a lot of time for that. I wasn't sure what to make of Grace's grandfather though it is apparent that he cares about her. He is a little too protective perhaps and it is sad that Grace is made to feel like he doesn't support her.

The suspense kept the story going as I tried to figure out what happened to Grace's mom and who the mysterious people were who were having secret meetings all over the place. There is a surprise twist which I have mixed feelings about and there is a mystery left unresolved at the end of the book which I think will be the setup for the sequel. 

Overall I would say that I liked this book but I didn't love it like the author's previous series. I think that is because I was expecting All Fall Down to be similar. I also struggled to connect with Grace. From the start of the book she has a chip on her shoulder and while I did feel sorry for her I didn't like her at times. Perhaps my expectations were too high. I think this series and the character has room to grow and with the way this book ended I think I will like Grace more in the sequel.

Note: I received an ARC for review purposes courtesy of the publisher and Amazon Vine


  1. This sounds good. Thanks for the review

  2. Sounds like the characters needed a bit more development (and too bad the mystery is left unresolved, that's always frustrating). I might check this out from the library, but perhaps later on once the sequel comes out.

    Thanks for your great, honest review :D

  3. Great review, Christina! I have never read any of her books before, but it seems I should start with the Gallagher Girls series first. I will keep this one on my radar though. I'm glad you enjoyed it overall.


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