Monday, January 19, 2015

All Fall Down by Ally Carter

All Fall Down 
by Ally Carter
Read: January 15 - 17, 2015
Published:  January 20, 2015 by Scholastic Press
Source: ARC from publisher. (TY, Scholastic!)
Category: YA thriller, foreign embassy

Series: Embassy Row #1
Find: Goodreads | Amazon | B&N | The Book Depository

Grace can best be described as a daredevil, an Army brat, and a rebel. She is also the only granddaughter of perhaps the most powerful ambassador in the world and Grace has spent every summer of her childhood running across the roofs of Embassy Row.

Now, at age sixteen, she's come back to stay - in order to solve the mystery of her mother's death. In the process, she uncovers an international conspiracy of unsettling proportions, and must choose her friends and watch her foes carefully if she and the world are to be saved.


Everyone will tell you that Grace's mother died three years ago in a tragic accident. Except Grace is certain her mom's death was not an accident at all, but murder. Grace know's she's not crazy, because she was there. She watched it happen. But no one believes her. With her soldier father deployed in the Middle East and her brother at West Point, Grace is back living in Embassy Row with her Grandfather, the most important US Ambassador to Europe. But Embassy Row is also where her mother grew up, and Grace is surrounded by her mother's memory, and her own growing determination to find her mother's killer.  

YA Thriller
In the letter I received with the ARC of All Fall Down, author Ally Carter calls her latest a "YA thriller set in a foreign embassy." Well that grabbed me immediately, and as expected, this is an exciting beginning to what I'm already certain is going to be a favorite series. While the first half of the story was slower paced, containing world building and set-up about Grace and her history, Embassy Row and it's inhabitants, the second half exploded into the rapid-fire thriller I was expecting, especially in the final quarter. I definitely did not see those last chapters coming! One of the many things I love about All Fall Down is how excited I am for what is to come in the future. I can't believe I'm going to have to wait so long for more.

Embassy Row
This book is set the American Embassy in a nonexistent country in European, though all the foreign Embassies surrounding the American Embassy are real - as are their relationships with each other. Some interactions are definitely more strained than others, and one wrong move could very well cause an international crisis. I loved getting to know Embassy Row and the other countries and inhabitants along the street. I usually struggle with books that take place in fake countries, but I can imagine that there's a bit more freedom for Carter setting her story in fictional Adria instead of a real nation. Thankfully, this book does have a small-European-country-located-along-the-Mediterranean feel, including a history of kings and conquest. 

I just want to give Grace a hug, only she wouldn't like that very much, especially if it was accompanied by pity. My heart broke for her. She has faced immense personal tragedy and upheaval in the past three years. Not to mention believing something that everyone else refuses to consider. Grace is fierce and fragile. Incredibly impulsive and vulnerable. She doesn't trust easily, but she is desperate for someone to trust her. There are many sides to this girl, and I felt them over the course of this story. But even when I wanted to yell at her to slow down and think, I was always rooting for her. Grace goes through an incredible evolution in this book, and I'm very excited to see how she transforms and develops as the series continues 

Grace is in desperate need of a support system, and relationships are always one of my favorite parts of Carter's stories. I love seeing the eclectic mix of friends Carter's characters amass. Grace doesn't go looking for friends, but they find her anyway, and in true Carter fashion, they all have their own special talents and involve themselves in quite the intrigue when they get together.  This is the beginning of what will hopefully turn out to be a close group, which is exactly what Grace needs. 

There is the barest hint of a romance in this book - one blink and it's gone. But I'm intrigued by the direction it's taking and I hope it sticks.  I am a fan of Carter's slow burn style, and the fact that the love doesn't take over the rest of the plot. There are two guys in the book, though one is firmly in the friend camp as of now. At this point, I'm not sure I could completely predict where the relationships are heading.  But, Grace has a lot more to focus on that isn't guys, and Carter isn't known for relationship angst or drama - or love triangles. Instead of nervous, I'm excited to see how this develops. 

Grace feels powerless and undermined throughout most of this book, and yet as the granddaughter of an ambassador, she is a representative of her country and expected to act in a certain way. (Of course she doesn't usually pay attention to what she's suppose to be doing.) What Grace notices very quickly is how men are mostly the ones with visible power in her grandfather's world. But, Grace also begins to notice the strength of women around her, even though it's often expressed less visibly. Ms. Chancellor is one of the most interesting women in this regard. It's clear that she has a lot more influence than what it appears on the surface. Grace's friend Megan is another who is more than she appears. I'm really excited to see how these themes progress in the series, and watching Grace gain confidence and learn to see her own power.  

All Fall Down ends after a mass of revelation, and now I'm itching for the next book. I can't wait to be inside Grace's head again. I'm eager for relationships continue to build, more information to unravel and the danger to increase. Don't miss this one. 

Love Triangle Factor: None - very little romance in this book. Only a hint of the direction. Carter does great slow burn, though. 
Cliffhanger Scale: Medium. This is definitely built as a series and I am DYING for more. Lots of revelations near the end of this book, but doesn't end in the middle of danger. 


  1. I think I'm going to wait for more novels in this series to release before diving in. I've enjoyed both of Carter's previous series--though I really just want her to return to THE HEIST SOCIETY books if I'm being honest--but this one hasn't grabbed me from the synopsis the way her other novels have. Still, Carter always writes memorable protagonists and her plot lines move at such a fast pace that it's impossible to breathe, which is sometimes exactly what you need. I'm thrilled you loved Grace as much as you did, Lauren, and I'm looking forward to the slow-burn romance. Fantastic review--I probably wouldn't have put this on my TBR at all if it wasn't for you. :)

  2. I'm unsure about this book, but I'm so glad you liked it Lauren :D Amazing review, as always. <3 But aw. No romance? Sad face. And two guys which might become a love triangle? Hmph. But I'm glad you have faith that it will not be that way :D Fingers crossed. <3 I do think the rest of the book sounds interesting, though :) Thank you for sharing about it sweetie. <3 I hope you will love book two as well :)

  3. Okay, well, maybe I should just go ahead and read this one??? Your review is making me REALLY curious. And it'd be great not to be behind on all these series haha. The MC's growth sounds fantastic (I can always connect to a girl who is longing for trust and companionship), and I love the idea of the story.
    Thank you for sharing!

  4. Hopefully I will have this in my hands within the next day or so. Very excited!
    Jen @ YA Romantics

  5. As you know, I didn't even know this (new) series existed -- not until you told me about it! lol! I've never read an Ally Carter book before, but maybe it's time I change that! I like the idea of a fun but complex read. I'm also impressed by Carter's decision to build her own world in a contemporary novel! I'm definitely curious about the fictional Adria. Then there's Grace. She seems like someone I would really like! Hopefully I can get around to this one later in the year, if not, I can't go wrong with the Heist Society. I know you really like that one too! :)

  6. I know a few people who read this and loved it. I think I'm going to have to get to it soon. I love the idea and Grace sounds pretty fantastic, especially if she's not focused on the romance!
    Great review, Lauren!

  7. I'm okay with little romance (though I do love my romance!) if the story is as awesome as you say. Can't wait to read this one -- maybe it'll pull me out of my slump!

  8. I know I'm going to want more romance as I always do in her books, BUT that's just the romance lover in me being greedy, I never feel as though her books are lacking. I can't wait to give this a try, meet Grace, and see what kind of crazy group of people she winds up surrounded by:)

  9. I really loved Carter's Heist series, but when I heard about this book I didn't think that it was for me, but your review does make me want to give it a go Lauren. Also that snippet of a romance would have me screaming MORE!!! I didn't know that this book was part of a series, but I'm glad this book has you excited for more. Lovely review! :)

  10. I'm so glad you liked this one. I'm still disappointed that Gallagher Girls finally ended. I never got into her Heist Society series although I feel like I should give it another chance. Still, this one is definitely a go for me. It sounds great.

  11. I acutally wasn't aplnning to read this because it felt a too fluffy book with faux-spies and conspiracies for me, but I think I just did a double take with your review, especially that there is no romance involved. I'm like WHAT NO ROMANCE?!?!?! I think I want to read it now O.O

    Faye at The Social Potato

  12. I haven't read ANY of Carter's book (I KNOW. I suck) but I've been meaning to give them a shot... when I say the blurb for this one though, I knew this was it. I am glad that it's now out because than I can go grab a copy and read the book!

    I am definitely excited to meet Grace and her group of friends!!! :DDD

    Lovely review, Lauren! :)

    Rashika @ The Social Potato

  13. I just love Ally Carter's books. They are the best kind of action and fun I love reading about. I was apprehensive about the romance part, but hearing that there was only a hint of it, I'm so excited for the book! I don't do well with books that jump into the romance, so this seems extremely promising. I welcome the slow-burn!

  14. I've never read Ally Carter before, but so many people seem to love her books. Maybe I'll check this one out…glad you loved it! ~Pam


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