Late to the Party ARC Review – All Fall Down (Embassy Row #1) by Ally Carter

22571275Title:  All Fall Down (Embassy Row #1)

Author: Ally Carter

Rating:  ★★★★

Synopsis:  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.

Huge thank you to Scholastic Canada for this ARC!

Sam’s Review:

When I was at OLA back in January, I remember being handed an ARC for All Fall Down by a Scholastic Canada representative. I have never read an Ally Carter book, but many of my bookish and blogger friends all say she’s a fun read, and great for getting out of reading flunks. Considering this was my first book by her, I can say it likely won’t be my last because this book was a ton of fun.

Sometimes you just want a read a book that sweeps you through the story in a fast-paced way. It’s crazy, ridiculous, stuff is constantly happening, and this book is exactly that. The plot is constantly moving, you don’t get a breather, but you don’t mind because the story is just that engaging. In a lot of ways, readingAll Fall Down reminded me a lot of the television showsRevenge and Homeland. It’s the story of a young girl desperate to find the person who murdered her mother, but it still has all the elements of being a political charged story. Carter keeps the narrative moving at lightning speeds, and it helps considering how the events within the novel are laid out. Everything felt very well-plotted, carefully laid out, but with a ton of action and intrigue. I’m aware that Carter has written a lot of spy novels, and she definitely has a knack for it.

The one thing that drove me a bit crazy with this story was Grace, our heroine. At times she felt a little too one-note, because she basically spends a lot of the novel obsessing over a man she is convinced killed her mother. Grace is completely fixated, focused and obsessed, but she comes across lacking in other personality traits, which is odd given the rest of the characters in the story. I adored Rosie, Megan and Noah, and felt like in terms of characters, they contributed so much more than Grace did. Also Alexei was quite interesting, given his political position against Grace, even he had more personality than Grace did.

It was also weird to read a YA novel that didn’t have a romance. I mean, you get a sense that Grace is likely going to hook up with either Noah or Alexei at some point in the series, but I appreciate how much of this novel felt like “strictly business” and I was happy to see that no romance had been shoehorned in, because after completing it, it just would have came too out of left-field in my opinion. Sometimes it’s just nice to not have a romance in a story, especially when there’s nothing developing towards it.

I loved what a quick read this book was, and I do have Heist Society in my collection that I think I may now need to bump up in the ranks. Ally Carter is just such a fun writer and I totally understand why my friends like to read her books when they are in a funk — they are just crazy, and ridiculous, but you don’t mind because the ride is just so engaging. I’ll definitely be checking out book two when it releases next January.

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