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.
It’s A Mystery: The action and pacing were very quick, and like in most mysteries or suspense thrillers, it had me guessing right until the very end – and I’m a guesser, so the fact that Ally Carter was, as usual, one step ahead of me right to the very end was a very good thing. I would say that the story here is less intricately twisted than Heist Society, but about as explosive as some of the early Gallagher Girls books.
|“Canada House” by James F. – Own work. Licensed under CC BY 1.0 via Wikimedia Commons|
Intricate World-Building: Ally has a way of creating a world that should feel foreign to her readers, but making it feel like home. They’re always worlds of intrigue and mystery, and they feel glamourous and dark at the same time. Adria is no different. I loved seeing its old world charm, its many embassies, and the secrets and red herrings that she left throughout the novel about the setting.
Strong and Weak Girls: The theme of the fragile teenage girl vs the strong teenager is really important in this book – and it’s a theme that Ally has spoken about at length in many interviews, saying that nobody is more underestimated than a teenage girl. Nowhere is that more apparent than in Grace, who has always been seen as a young girl who doesn’t know her own mind. That theme extends to whether people trust her as well, and whether she can be “contained” in her current state. It’s a fascinating theme, but it’s not one that really gets resolved in this book. I am curious to see whether it comes up again and as strongly in future books, because just the threads of it here made All Fall Down a stronger story.
Book Theme Song:
“And the walls kept tumbling down / In the city that we love…And if you close your eyes / Does it almost feel like you’ve been here before?”
The Final Word:
I wanted to love All Fall Down, but in the end, I just liked it. The fact that it feels like a prequel for the rest of the series was big part of that. It’s not an easy book to read at times because you feel just as off balance and frustrated as Grace, but at the same time, it’s a book that you know you have to read in order to make this series a series worth reading. Stick with this series – I have no doubt that Ally will deliver a really good payoff if you do!