Thursday, 10 September 2015

Review: All Fall Down by Ally Carter

Author: Ally Carter
Release Date: January 20th, 2015
Pages: 320
Publisher: Scholastic Press
Status: Embassy Row #1

Synopsis (from Goodreads):

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.

***

All Fall Down is a story filled with international intrigue, conspiracy, family drama and romance- it has all the signatures of an Ally Carter novel, however, with an a 'grown up' writing style for the lack of a better phrase.

Grace Blakely knows her mother was murdered, but everyone assumes its just shock. Concerned for her health, her father sends her to live with her grandfather, a very powerful ambassador, to "get better". However, in the country of Adria, amidst the politics and the overbearing control, Grace becomes even more determined to avenge her mother's death.

While the story did grab my attention, it was really hard not to compare it to Carter's other series, Heist Society and the Gallagher Girls. The comparisons were very easy to make: all the narrators lost one parent, and it plays a crucial role in their character development and their [respective] story's arc; they get tangled in bigger conspiracies and controversies; and they have the best support group ever- even though sometimes they take them for granted.

However, the biggest difference between the three series in my opinion [thus far] is their writing styles. The tone of the book was more serious than the tone of Heist or Gallagher, and I feel like that has to do a lot with Grace's character. She's more angry and driven than Carter's other narrators, and unlike the other two, has a long term goal, and she's very hard to like in the beginning, but her character develops into someone you can sympathize and enjoy as the novel progresses.

It's not like I'm saying that Kat or Cammie weren't driven, but Grace's character is fuelled with a lot of grief over her mother's death, anger over the adults who won't listen to her, and justice to avenge her mom, something that we don't see in the other narrators because they've had more time to process their [respective] parent's death and dealt with it differently, especially because their support system was different as well.

I think that's what I loved about Grace- her determination. When nobody wanted to listen to her, she felt completely useless and ignored (like most teenagers), but then and went something about it.

The story's overall plot was very Carter, although I did enjoy the ending a little bit, and like the way that this story is heading. While I do feel like I've read stories like this before (kids going off solving mysteries and uncovering secrets behind people's backs), Carter has this uniqueness to her writing that gives it a flare- she gives the story an edge that makes you root for the rough narrator, the sexy Russian, and the poor friend zoned guy.

Overall, the book was great, and I recommend this book to anyone who loves international conspiracies, and unexpected/mysterious deaths. I also recommend reading Ally's other series too.


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