Title: All Fall Down (Embassy Row #1)
Author: Ally Carter
Summary From Goodreads:
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.
** spoiler alert ** I cannot write this review without revealing spoilers. Because the end of the book entirely dictates the rating I gave this book.
First of all, All Fall Down should be very happy that I have several book “issues”. The first is that I cannot quit a book, even if I hate it. The second is that I love Ally Carter. Because the truth is, if I had quit this book and rated it on all but the last 20 pages, it would have been a one star rating. But I love Ally Carter… and I have my issues… so I continued to the end. And I did love the end. That is the only reason it go so high as 2 stars.
Lets start with the characters. I hated the main character (Grace). I can’t even express fully how much I hated her. I spent most of my time reading this book, texting my sister, telling her how much I wished she would just shut up and die. She was immature, whiny, self-centered. She treated her friends poorly. She was extremely disrespectful to those around her. She was pretty much everything I hate in a character. She refused to listen to anyone else, convinced there was some big plot against her and that she was completely right. And then there was the constant feeling sorry for herself and the whole shoving it in other people’s faces that she had seen her mother die. Like she had to shock people at every turn. It was just really… painful. I honestly have nothing positive to say about Grace.
The other characters, however, I found interesting. I did not understand why they latched on to Grace and were so intent on being her friend. I also thought they were shallowly developed. First there is Megan. The person who wanted to be Grace’s friend every summer Grace came to visit. I am a little confused on why she was so quickly to be friends when it had been 3 years since they had seen each other. But she was actually a cool character and I found myself wanting her to go be a Gallagher Girl. Then there was Rosie. My only issue with Rosie is that there is no way she was only 12. No way her parents would let her have so much free reign at that young of an age. I feel like if she had been given a more realistic age, everything about her character would have been perfect.
And then there were the boys. Which brings me to one of my biggest book pet peeves. Instalove. I do not get it and I do not like it I mean, I don’t know if these boys exactly love her, but there is that idea of like an instant bond or something. The first time Grace and Noah meet, he proclaims himself her official best friend. I’m sorry, but what? That isn’t awkward at all. And then the story proceeds like they have been best friends their whole lives and he acts all super hurt when she didn’t tell him that she had accused multiple people of being her mother’s murderer and that she had been committed as a crazy person before. I mean those are some pretty heavy secrets. Then there was Alexei… He just seemed really… random. Like he was there and then he would disappear and then he would show back up again. I didn’t really get it.
The only thing that saved this book for me is the end. I spent most of this book being like “great, this is going to be one of those books where at the end, main character is going to be proven right the whole time about her mom being killed by scarface and then she is going to be vindicated.” I was actually extremely angry at this thought. But thank you, Ally Carter, for not going down that path. It might not have been the most believable ending, but at least it wasn’t horribly cliche.
Anyone else think “her mom was a Gallagher Girl” at the end of the book? Oh how I wanted that to be the case. Mainly because I love the Gallagher Girl books. It is one of my favorite series. I love the characters and I love the focus on friendship. I just really love them. And so I thought it would be cool to have a little tie in to that in this book. Probably won’t happen, but a girl can dream.
Will I read the next book in the series? Probably. Because… well it is Ally Carter and I love her books. But also because there are questions that need to be answered. And I like knowing answers. But I probably won’t buy it. Just borrow it from the library. Because, honestly, don’t know that it is worth my hard earned dollars.