Saturday, January 31, 2015

Book Review: All Fall Down by Ally Carter

All Fall Down, An Embassy Row Novel
Ally Carter

Published January 20, 2015
Scholastic Press
320 pages

Rating Given: 3/5 stars
Synopsis from AllyCarter.com:
"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 an 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 all stand like dominoes, and one wrong move can make them all fall down."

Review:

First of, Ally Carter published a new book and I am was so freaking excited about it! I mean, it was a series based on this girl whose searching for the killer of her mother, while living in basically the coolest place ever, an embassy. Maybe I'm just easily fascinated by the whole embassy idea and how one plot of land can literally be Australia and just two feet next door it is Saudi Arabia. I mean how cool is that?

So I am sorry to say that I was a little disappointed by the end result. I'm not sure what it was about this book, the characters, the plot or the writing.

Ally Carter has stated that Grace Blakely is her favorite character to have ever written. Though honestly, I'm not sure why. Yes, Grace is a very different from Kat or Cammie. She's a little more on the unstable side, and Carter writes the most accurate description of a panic attack that I have ever read, but to me, that's sort of it. I felt like there definitely could have been more to Grace, and to the other minor characters as well.

Noah, Megan, Rosie and Alexei are all friends of Grace. Out of the five characters, I found Megan the most interesting. There is no doubt in my mind that Megan's mom is a Gallagher Girl and that Megan would be one too if she wasn't living in Adria. I wish there was more Megan! But with two more contracted books on the way, I have no doubt that I'll be getting what I wished for. As for everyone else, well I just wish I'd been able to see more of them. I wish Jamie was a more solid character because I find him more interesting than Alexei. And Noah, well I'm not even sure what to say about him, I felt like as a character he was all over the place. I couldn't get a real sense of who they were as a individual people and it was only near the very end that certain things were basically spelled out to the reader and my first reaction was "what really? No way..." because I felt like certain things I just didn't see coming. I excepted them to happen, given the genre and Carter's past books, but I didn't see the writing leading up to it. And the adults in the series, maybe it's because I'm technically an adult, but I felt like they were really simple. I know the story isn't about them but about the kids, but having seen better written adults in the other series, I just felt like comparatively, they were kind of stupid not only in their actions but in the way they reacted to situations.

The story itself is extremely fast paced feeling. Suddenly this was happening then that. I never felt like as I reader I was given the time to stop, process what had just happened, and continue reading. It all seemed thrown at me. I'd like to believe that because it's the first book of three, Carter had to do a lot of structural work for the rest of the series. Certain things just had to happen in order for her grand idea to play out in the end.

Plot wise, I got a little frustrated. A lot of plot seemed to be is Grace crazy or not when I thought it was supposed to be who killed Grace's mom. It's why I see this book as a prequel. Now that Grace has moved past the whole crazy/not crazy issue, the books can return to the mystery aspect. But I will not deny that the plot-twist at the end was on point.

Overall I am giving this book a three out of five. I expected more from a well established writer such as Ally Carter and can only hope that the sequel lives up to the writing I know she can do.

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