All Fall Down: A Book Review

Hi!

All Fall DownTitle: All Fall Down

Author: Ally Carter

Published: January 20th, 2015 by Scholastic Press

Pages: 320

Genre: Young Adult / Mystery

Source: Bought / Hardcover

Series: This is the first in Carter’s Embassy Row series – see Book Two’s Goodreads page here!

Summary: This exciting new series from New York Times bestselling author Ally Carter focuses on Grace, who 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. {Goodreads}

My Thoughts: It’s hard to pinpoint when my love of mystery and espionage stories actually began, but Ally Carter’s popular Gallagher Girls books certainly played a large part in forming my obsession. A talented writer, Carter is known for her stories of espionage, suspense, and relatable protagonists, and her newest novel, All Fall Down, lives up to her reputation. While the Embassy Row books are less spies and boarding schools and more international affairs and family secrets, Carter’s new series is bound to have the same thrilling effect on her audience of fans as the Gallagher Girls did years ago. The novel is a welcome addition to my bookshelf, and it truly shows why Ally Carter is a beloved – and skilled – author for the young adult market. I know I’ll be gushing about All Fall Down for months to come, but I’m thankfully in good company!

With her mother dead and her father away, Grace has only one other person to go to: her grandfather, a powerful ambassador representing the United States in the fictional city of Adria. The characters themselves deserve praise, but my attention was all on the intricate details of Embassy Row, Grace’s home-away-from-home. The setting is a key element to this story, as Grace explores the tunnels underground, runs through lands of different countries, and mingles at international balls. Though my knowledge on the function and structure of foreign affairs is limited, Carter provides an ample amount of information to not only inform the reader, but intrigue them. It’s clear she did her research; it’s shown throughout the plot to assist Grace’s narration, and it shapes a world unknown to many.

Another aspect to note? The novel’s teenage protagonist. Unreliable narrators are a growing trend in YA, no doubt spurred by the success of E. Lockhart’s 2014 thriller, We Were Liars. However, Carter is a forerunner in this literary fad with Cammie, the main character in the Gallagher Girls novels, and she once again shows her expertise with Grace. Overcome with grief and frustration after her mother’s death, Grace is a relatable character, even if readers may never share in the same intense experience she did at Embassy Row. Carter masters the balance between realism and fiction; you can emphasize with Grace when she’s shut down by those in power or read in awe as she describes meeting Adria royalty. Furthermore, Carter tests readers with their trust in Grace. My mind was racing with questions – can you believe Grace? who is right? who is wrong? – explaining why All Fall Down is a hard book to put down.

I will admit it took me a few chapters before I adjusted to Grace’s “voice.” The plot is woven with flashbacks of Grace’s mom and the time of her death, which I found to be a jarring change of pace the first time I noticed it. Nevertheless, it adds to the book’s mysterious tone and Carter manages to tie all of the details together at the very end. While Grace is a strong character, I was also hoping to learn more of the supporting characters, such as Grace’s older brother or the other young ambassador children, since they appear to offer more backstory or comic relief in such an intense story.

I had no problem stating that Ally Carter is one of my most favorite authors, and I certainly don’t now having read All Fall Down. I was worried it wouldn’t match my love for her previous novels, but I shouldn’t have feared. Carter has brought her trademark characters, suspense, and mystery in a whole new flavor, promising an exciting new adventure for future books in the series. As she’s known to do, Carter ends All Fall Down in a cliff-hanger, leaving me, and many others, I assume, anxiously awaiting the second book.

Pros: Complex and developed plot, realistic and unreliable narrator, and a well-researched setting. Thumbs up all around! :)

Cons: The unreliable narrator, while fleshed out, takes a few chapters to adjust too. I would have loved for the supporting characters to be strengthened as well, although it didn’t impact my reading experience.

Heads Up: The violence isn’t heavily described, but it is implied. Minor swears are included as well.

Recommended for: Fans of Ally Carter’s previous books, mystery or espionage lovers, and those who love a good unreliable narrator.

Around the Web: “Overall, while I didn’t love All Fall Down as much as everyone else seems to, I still really enjoyed it. It was fun, mysterious and the ending left me excited for the next book!” {read the rest of the review at The Secret Life of a Bookworm HERE}.

“All in all, it was an intriguing premise that worked in some areas and fell flat on its face in others… The pacing means that it’s a fast and tense read that will leave you with no idea where things are going from one page to the next” {read the rest of the review at The Review Diaries HERE}.

All Fall Down has stolen my heart, and head, for the rest of January, if not the rest of the year. Read it for a breath of fresh air. Read it for a slow burning romance. Read it for the impeccable cast” {read the rest of the review at My Reading Dress HERE}.

Have a terrific day! :)

B

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3 thoughts on “All Fall Down: A Book Review

  1. All Fall Down has now landed on my Goodreads to-read list! This book sounds so intriguing. I heard from other reviewers that the espionage part of the blurb is a bit misleading, but it still sounds like such a suspenseful book. I also can’t wait to read about the setting of this book, as it sounds so unique. I also love unreliable narrators because they often lead to huge plot twists and I love experiencing that when I read a book. Great review, Bella!

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  2. […] I have been a longtime reader of Ally Carter’s books, first picking up I’d Tell You I Love You, But Then I’d Have to Kill You in elementary school. I haven’t stopped devouring her books since then, right up to her newest 2015 release, All Fall Down. She’s made her name in the YA world, but if you haven’t yet checked out one of Carter’s novels, I urge you to do so. Espionage fans will not be disappointed! {reviews: 1 / 2 / 3 / 4 / 5 / 6} […]

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  3. […] All Fall Down by Ally Carter | “The novel is a welcome addition to my bookshelf, and it truly shows why Ally Carter is a beloved – and skilled – author for the young adult market. I know I’ll be gushing about All Fall Down for months to come, but I’m thankfully in good company!” […]

    Like

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