All Fall Down (Embassy Row #1)
Initially, I was so completely immersed in the story. I started reading All Fall Down around 1:15 p.m. and finished by 6: 20 p.m.. I just couldn’t put the book down I had to know what happened to Grace’s mother. There were so many aspects of the book which I really enjoyed. For instance, how we are able to see the tension that there always there within the diplomatic community. Being able to see how the diplomats, as well as their children, always had to walk on eggshells around each other to avoid an international conflict. I thought that this was a fascinating aspect of the book and one that I enjoyed the most. My only issue with the politics is how much All Fall Down focused on it. It sometimes felt that we lost the focus that had been on Grace and her finding out what happened to her mother and instead we were reading about how careful you have to be when your neighbor is a world power. All Fall Down is supposed to be about Grace finding out what really happened to her mother and if her death was really an accident. Instead we spend a lot of time reading about Grace as she tries to deal with her emotions, confronting her mother’s death, and reintegrate herself back into the life of being a diplomats granddaughter. Which I was more than okay with because I was thoroughly invested in Grace’s story and seeing whether or not she was sane. I didn’t like how even though I was inside of Grace’s head the entire book I still didn’t feel that I was able to get to know her. That the book was so focused on making her an unreliable narrator that we were only able to scratched the surface of her personality. I felt like we were able to get to know better the side characters, Alexie and Noah, than the main character. I did, however, enjoy reading about the both of them and seeing their interactions with Grace. Noah seemed like a great friend and Alexie seemed like a potential love interest. However, I felt like they were too reminiscent of the male characters in Ally Carter’s previous novels. Like, Alexie was a mixture of W.W. Hale and Zachary Goode and Noah was Josh from the Gallagher Girls. I felt like All Fall Down was lacking on character development. Usually, Ally Carter nails this. I don’t know why there were so many characters in this book when it didn’t feel like any of them were developed. Overall, I found All Fall Down to be an okay book. I wish that the pacing of the book had a little bit more fluidity and that we were able to get to know the characters better. While the political intrigue and Grace’s struggle to accept her mother’s death was fascinating to read about, I wish that Grace was a more like-able character. I found the ending to be underwhelming but, I’m still looking forward to reading the sequel.
I found myself really enjoying this book. I’ve read a couple of Ally Carter’s Heist Society books and they were also very enjoyable but I liked the added element of the whole Embassy Row. It had the misfits coming together that I love and the Ally Carter feel of never quite knowing if what you thought was going on was actually right.
Grace was a very interesting character. Even when I didn’t agree with what she was doing, I could understand her motivations. She was being forced to live in a place that held countless memories of her mother, forced into playing a role she never wanted at political parties, and constantly treated like she was broken by the adults around her. She was determined to prove them all wrong, that she would find out the truth about her mother’s death without them, that she wasn’t crazy and there was a man with a scar. I loved her determination.
I really liked the cast of characters surrounding Grace. Noah, the boy who assigned himself as her best friend was my favourite. He was so cute and adorable and it was nice to see the friendship developing between them. Alexei, a friend of her brother’s, was always looking out for her and there was definitely some attraction there. Rosie was a lot younger than the rest and part of me wanted them to tell her to stay safe at home but she was fearless and definitely an asset. The two main adults, Grace’s grandfather and Ms Chancellor, were pretty much as I would expect people in their positions to act. It was easy to tell they cared for Grace and her well-being but they were also in very delicate positions and trying not to cause an international incident.
Ally Carter did a great job in making so many people and her actions suspect. There was always a feeling that the adults knew more than they were saying. I was able to predict the ending but I think that had more to do with my mind coming up with theory after theory until a final one clicked than it being obvious.
It was a little slow at first, setting up Embassy Row and the back story, but once Grace saw the man with the scar for the first time, it picked up. The more desperate she got to prove she was right, the faster the pages turned. It did feel a bit like a set-up book for the rest of the series but it’s a series I definitely plan on reading when the next book gets released.