Embassy Row Book 1: All Fall Down
by Ally Carter Published by Scholastic Inc.
on January 20th 2015 Genres: Action & Adventure
, Young Adult Format:
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A new series of global proportions — from master of intrigue, NEW YORK TIMES bestselling author Ally Carter. 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.
~A review copy was provided by Scholastic and Edelweiss~
All Fall Down was a “mehh” kind of read. Ally Carter is clearly a talented author, but info-dumping, a flat love interest, unrealistic character actions/reactions, and the whole ending didn’t make this book a five star read for me.
The basic idea of having an “Embassy Row”, or a whole street that has every country in the world inside one neighborhood, is genius. You live next door to Russia, China’s down the street, and France is your neighbor to the north. How cool is that? I’d be running all over the place. Ms. Carter expands by adding so much political intrigue and espionage, and the possibilities for plots and adventures became endless with political relations and peace at stake if one wrong move is made by your neighbor’s standards.
“For a moment, all we can do is watch as it floats over the cliff’s edge and down the hill. It is soaring over the trees and out to sea when the wind shifts and blows it towards a lone dark building on Embassy Row. There is nothing but a cumilative gasp as the scarf catches on the roof, flapping in the breeze over what is technically still the country of Iran.
“Okay, this is bad,” Noah says. His eyes are wide and filled with terror. “This is very, very bad.”
For the teens of Embassy Row, losing a scarf could cause problems of epic proportions. Actually, any kind of accident could.
“Do you know what happens if someone gets hurt at our party?” Lila asks. “If your little German friend does a backflip and lands on the Japanese ambassador’s daughter? What if the Australians or the French bring alcohol and then the South Africans try to drive home and get in a car wreck with the Egyptians? That could happen, you know. And believe me when I say none of us are ready for the consequences.”
I think Ms. Carter really set up a realistic, complex world, matching it with an addictive fast-paced plot. The things that fell flat for me became more obvious as the novel progressed, though, and they were hard to ignore.
First of all, info-dumping was present whenever things were explained about the Embassies or foriegn relations between certain countries. It didn’t have me pulling out my hair, but it had a constant presence that I noticed while reading. What did have me tearing my hair out was our love interest, Alexei. He was so boring and dull, especially when compared to Grace’s adorkable boy bestie, Noah (who might be my favorite character out of this bunch). Alexei just slowed down the flow of the story for me, and I felt like the plot would be exactly the same without him, maybe even better. I definitely think he dropped points for the character department in this book.
Grace, our main character, is a very complex girl. She’s so wild, impulsive, and a do-it-now-and-think-about-it-later kind of girl. I’m not surprised that some people question her sanity throughout the novel. Certain things she does in All Fall Down were too over-the-top and unbelievable in my opinion. I just couldn’t realistically picture her diving off a cliff and into the sea, swimming all the way to the Iranian Embassy just for a stupid scarf. She’s certainly a daredevil-and if her actions in this book happened in the real world, she’d either be a) arrested, b) put in a mental hospital, or c) dead.
Grace in one gif:
Oh, and the plot twist involving Grace at the end didn’t have as much impact on me as it probably was meant to. I thought the author took an interesting path for that ending, but it didn’t blow me away like Dangerous Girls or And Then There Were None. Essentially, I didn’t really think the novel packed the punch, which probably affected my enjoyment/shock at the big plot twist at the end. Nevertheless, I’m still ready to pick up Grace’s story in the sequel that’s publishing in 2016, because I want more Noah. And yeah- maybe I want to find out more about the big cliff-hanger that Ms. Carter left us with a year. Stupid cliffies.
To sum things up, All Fall Down was a mixed bag for me, with great basic ideas of plot, but annoying minor details that decreased my enjoyment.