Monday, April 13, 2015

Collab Review: All Fall Down by Ally Carter

Title: All Fall Down
Author: Ally Carter
Publisher: Scholastic Press
Release Date: January 20, 2015

A new series of global proportions -- from master of intrigue, NEW YORK TIMES bestselling author Ally Carter.

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.

This review is done in collaboration with Kate at Read and Dream. You should totally go check out her blog.  For this review, Kate will be talking in Teal while I will be talking in Purple


This was a rough spot for me. I felt uncomfortable with Grace, the main character. I think her sort of "craziness" and her inclination to act on impulse was a bit disturbing and instead of feeling for her I found myself distancing myself from her as a reader. That made the entire book a bit distanced from me and didn't give me reasons for her doing the things she did and acting the way she did. I loved Ms. Chancellor. To me she didn't feel like the sugary-sweet counselor who pretended everything was okay. She understood what was going on, and she was okay with it.

Noah and Megan, I really liked. I think that their characters were well defined and described, and I found myself sympathizing for them, especially Noah. Alexei, however, I didn't like as much. I didn't feel the old relationship between him and Grace and their history. He was very...distant.

ChristinaOur main character, Grace, suffered a severe trauma three years before the start of All Fall Down.  This leads her to be quite mentally unstable.  Many of the antics that she gets herself are quite comical.  One of the things that annoyed me about this book was the lack of character growth from Grace.  Yes, she's grief-stricken.  But by the end of the book, I felt like she could have changed some and learned how to deal more with her grief.  I love reading about people's takes on mental instability.  So I really felt like there was so much room for personal growth here.

I really loved some of the minor characters.  Ms. Chancellor and the Scarred Man are so complex it's almost impossible to guess who they truly are and what their loyalties really are.  They had me guessing all the way to the very end.  The two of them had me going thinking, "Is Grace really that crazy?" up until near the end of the book.  I liked Alexei, but I wish he were better developed.  It was almost like he was thrown into the mix for the sake of having a love interest.  And then taken out at the last minute when the author realized that it wouldn't work.  What was that?  Cliffhangers are at least supposed to make sense... right?


It was interesting enough. The entire idea of her hunting after the Scarred Man and trying to get her revenge was really interesting. However, I feel like a lot of the plot was a bit expected, and some things happened "coincidentally" that wouldn't have happened in real life. I also saw the main plot twist coming at the end, which kind of downed the entire book. Also the ending. Who end a book like that? Just cut it off. Like what. the. hecky.

I really liked the idea of this plot. I started reading this without having read anything about it, so I honestly didn't know what it was about. But the idea of a disturbed girl hunting down her mother's killer in a foreign embassy. That's kind of neat. Some super silly things happened that made me seriously laugh. But that ending. I felt like Carter was attempting to do a cliffhanger but it just fell flat. It doesn't really lead me to want to care about the next book.


THIS. This was beautiful. Even though it was a bit of a fantasy setting, I could totally see the embassy happening in real life. The different nations and their embassies coming together on one island and having issues was plausible, and I also found it fascinating to think about. How would it feel to go to the next building and be in a country that is normally half way across the world? Love it.

Adria.  What is this place?!  A small Mediterranean country that is peaceful, and super powerful in trade... okay??? A made up country, I get it.  The real setting, though, is Embassy row - the street lined with the houses of different embassies for different countries.  This is actually a pretty cool concept.  With it, we can mingle so many different nationalities of teenagers and have people correct our stupid Americanisms (it's football!).

Overall Opinion:
An interesting plot with a great setting. A fresh concept.

I think the book was okay.  It wasn't great.  The main character and some of the minor characters seemed underdeveloped.  And the plot was a little cliche at times.  This book probably could have been better.  But it was still an enjoyable, short read.

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