Review: All Fall Down

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Title: All Fall Down [Embassy Row #1]
Author: Ally Carter
Publication Date: January 20, 2015
Genre: Young Adult Contemporary Mystery
GoodReads

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.

I actually thought I had reviewed this months ago when I read it in January. I didn’t apparently though.

I couldn’t love this book. There was so much that happened, but at the same time, I felt like nothing did. I’m used to the action-packed, suspenseful, mysterious plots that usually come with Ally Carter’s book. This one was trying too hard to do the whole PTSD thing. Grace has been traumatized by her mother’s death, or murder as she remembers it, but has been traumatized even more by the people around her telling her to let it go and that it was a mistake, not murder. Due to this, the whole book was like going around in circles – her screaming it was murder, her being told it wasn’t, her investigating on her own, and her again being told that nothing happened, and around in a circle it went. It felt empty, almost.

There was a lot of telling, and very little showing in this book, to the point where I couldn’t connect with any of the characters. Grace was a frazzled mess, and had very few concrete thoughts, and when she did, it was an obsessive focus; Noah was entertaining and cute, but that was all I could say about him; Rosie was fun, but I know basically nothing about her; and I can’t even remember the other partner in crime’s name – just that her skills and appearance were a little too convenient in line with Grace’s “clue-finding”.

Admittedly, the highlight was the end. It was not what I had expected, and it was enough to make me not totally hate the book. While this book could have had more action and more allure to it, I can see why some things were done as they were. Grace’s adventures are mundane, because she is mundane. She too far in her own world, even prior to her mother’s death, and she can’t seem to realize that she’s not like Cami or Kat – she has no training or skill in really anything except causing problems, jumping to conclusions, and diving in head first into brick walls and dead ends. In the end, I felt sorry for her, but prior to that, it was hard to get through internal complaints and frustrations. That may seem unsympathetic because no one wants to hear that someone with a mental health problem is being told to just be “fine”, but at the same time, it was a little extreme, everything she did, and it was her impulsiveness that annoyed me more than her thirst for the truth.

This book, overall, was not the quality that I’m used to from Ally Carter. It didn’t catch my attention as well, it didn’t draw me in, or keep me glued to the pages. It actually took me two weeks to finish this book, because I didn’t have an itch to run back to it everyday.

I enjoyed some of the twists of the story, but this story didn’t have the same connection and flow that all of her other books had. If I had to say one thing, it’s that I wish this had been another Heist novel instead of a new series.

Plot: 3.5/5
Characters: 3/5
World Building: 4/5
Writing: 4/5
Cover: 4.5/5
Overall: 3.5/5
GoodReads Rating: 3.79/5

ARC obtained via Scholastic Press in exchange for an honest review.

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