Sunday, January 18, 2015

A Fantastic Series Starter: All Fall Down

All Fall Down by Ally Carter (Embassy Row #1)
Scholastic, Expected Release Date: January 20, 2015

*ARC Provided by the publisher as part of their #AllyAmbassador program - thank you! This in no way impacted my opinions of this book.*

I've been a fan of Ally Carter's YA books for quite a while now. I think Heist Society is so fun and Gallagher Girls is a wonderful addition to the many boarding school books I've always adored. Yet All Fall Down, the first book in Carter's new Embassy Row series, is her best work yet. And for me to say that, that's saying something.

Grace's life has never been normal necessarily, but at least she used to be happy. Normal is hard to come by when you're an Army brat and your grandfather is the US Ambassador to Adria and one of the most powerful people in the world. But for the last three years, life has been hell because Grace knows that her mother didn't die in a fire. She saw her get shot. She saw the man with the scarred face. With her father being deployed back overseas, Grace is now 16 and back living on Embassy Row, still seen as crazy, and still determined as to make whoever is responsible for her mother's death pay.

Carter states in a letter to the reader that came with the ARC that she set out to write a story that combined life in the foreign service with a sort of YA version of the tv show 24, and let me tell you, she hit the nail on the head. Grace was a character I could immediately relate to. She feels alone. She's never had any special training on how to do what she wants. She's struggling and afraid, and yet fearless (or is it really just reckless)? Supporting characters are just as well thought out. I'd love to have a group of friends like Noah, Meagan, and Rosie. And Alexei, the Russian boy next door, is a great supporter of Grace once she's ready to let him in (not to mention I was doing some serious swooning!).

The pacing of this novel is brisk while the plot was full of twists. Some I saw coming (anyone who isn't Grace probably would, too), but more often than not I was shocked, especially with the ending! I know I was lucky to read this book before it came out but I was immediately in need of the sequel!

If you're looking for an action packed read with a worldly flare, All Fall Down is the book for you. Ally Carter continues to raise the bar and I can't wait to see where this series goes!

Comments welcome, and, as always, happy reading!

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