The first stop on Embassy Row- All Fall Down (Review)

Saturday, December 19, 2015

all fall down by ally carter

TITLE: All Fall Down
AUTHOR: Ally Carter
RELEASE DATE: January 20, 2015
PUBLISHER: Scholastic Press
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“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.”

RELATED: Heist Society seriesGallagher Girl series

My Review

I decided to read and review the first book in the Embassy Row series when I noticed that the next book was due out just before Christmas (See How They Run is coming out on the 22nd). I have a weird relationship with Ally Carter books. I always like them, but have yet to love one. They are always interesting and intriguing but fall just short of their potential. I'd heard that this series showed Carter's development as a writer, so I was hoping that this would finally be the book I'd fall in love with.

It was not.

In fact, for the first 2/3 of the book, I was actively disappointed. It was just as interesting and exciting as all of the author's other books, but it had the added 'bonus' of having an unlikable protagonist. I understand she's been through a lot, but some of the things she thought/said/did just made me take a moment to think: What a bitch. She's so abrasive, self-righteous, self-centered, and unkind that I found it hard to sympathize with her despite everything. None of which I expected. I was praying that the heroine actually would be mentally-ill, because it was the only way I could think of that would make her behavior acceptable. I do need to give the book credit for keeping the reader guessing, both about Grace's reliability and the antagonist's motives.

I won't spoil anything, because one of the best things about this book was the mystery, but I will say that the ending saved the book. It wasn't what I was expecting, but it really tied things together. It didn't erase all of the things I'd found annoying throughout the novel, but it did satisfyingly deliver on it's premise.  It also has a sort of open ending that leaves you wanting more.

Words To Live By

"She really wants to be my friend, I realize, and suddenly I feel very sorry for her. She doesn't know what a terrible thing it is she's asking for."


Like all Ally Carter books, All Fall Down has left me with the dilemma of whether or not I should pick up the next book in the series. I might, because the book left some intriguing morsels on the table and I want to see where it all leads. But I'm hesitant, because I don't really want to read more of Grace being Grace. At least she mostly knows she's awful... hopefully character development in subsequent books will make her more bearable.

So, if you like Ally Carter's other books, you will probably like this one. If you hate Carter's work, than you will probably hate this. If you are new  to this particular author, All Fall Down is as good a place to start as anywhere else, just read the summaries and choose a book based on your personal taste. Happy reading!
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Stephanie is a tutor who loves helping people improve and excel. She loves a good story, so is obsessed with books, films, TV, and comics. A regular geek with a heart of gold ;)


  1. I'm sorry you were disappointed by this one. I hate it when that happens. I've never read anything by Ally Carter, so I don't know if I'll like this one or not. I'm a character-focused reader, so if the protagonist of this one is pretty unlikable, I might try to avoid this one. Thanks for the review!

    ~ Lefty @ The Left-Handed Book Lover

    1. Thanks for the comment!

      I don't mean to put people off of her books. They are very readable, and I know people who love them. I just feel like they could be better, you know? Anyway, if you are character focused and want to read Ally Carter, I suggest trying 'Heist Society' I found the protagonist in that book to be a lot of fun.

  2. Oh, I'm sorry you didn't like this! I love Ally's books, and really enjoyed Grace, but I do understand how so people might not.

    Are you going to give See How They Run a try? I'm looking forward to that one, but it's not published here until next month.

    Sophie @ Sophie Reads YA

    1. I can see how Grace is tough and cool, but she's just not for me. I'm glad you like her though! And Ally Carter books are always a good read, she has fun interesting plots and (usually, lol) likable characters. For some reason I just can't quite connect with them. I might try See How They Run, because the ending of this was borderline cliff-hanger-y. It stinks that it wont be out where you live until next month!

      Thanks for stopping by!

  3. I'm sorry you didn't like this book! I really enjoyed how different Grace was from every other protagonist in YA novels. I had a hard time connecting with her, but I really enjoyed this book. Everyone has their own opinions though, right? (:

    The Gallagher Girls is my favourite books by Ally, although I haven't read Heist Society (I didn't really like the protagonist in the first book :/ )

    1. Thanks for reading! Grace was definitely different, and her problems made it harder to connect to her, but the plot and pacing were pretty good so the book was pretty good too. I just feel like Grace is borderline abusive in her relationships with other people and I find that distasteful. Like you said though, people always have their own opinions based on their own experiences and I'm glad you enjoyed the book! :D


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