A mostly Young Adult book review blog run by a mother and daughter team.
Ally Carter’s All Fall Down had the kind of premise that made me want to jump for joy. A whole city where embassies from almost every country are next door to one another and where political scandals can occur from one wrong movement? That alone sounded interesting. Throwing in a main character whose mother was murdered and whose killer may or may not be coming after her next? That definitely sounded like my cup of tea. Having read Carter’s Heist Society, I was interested in seeing what she might do with a young female protagonist whose story takes place in an entirely different setting. All Fall Down was shocking and exhilarating and I’m not too sure I would want to experience the kind of dangerous lifestyle found in Embassy Row. I’ll stick to reading about it, thank you very much!
After the murder of her mother years prior, sixteen-year-old Grace Blakely finds herself shipped off to live with her Grandfather, an American Ambassador located in Adria where he lives in Embassy Row. Though Grace feels out of place, it hurts her to know that nobody believes her about the cause of her mother’s death. Officially, documentation claims that her mother perished in a fire. But Grace remembers the night of the fire and she remembers a man with a scar murdering her mother. Reunited with her childhood friends, Grace just might be able to find some peace. However when the man with the scar resurfaces inside of Embassy Row, she realizes that there might be no time for peace, and that having friends in Embassy Row are connections worth every while.
The world of All Fall Down is innovative and original. Never have I read of a setting quite like Adria and its embassy. Adria is (obviously) a fictional country that has the potential to allow teenagers to start World War III all for setting foot on the wrong soil. To say the least, it’s a place that is as glamorous as it is dangerous. Embassy Row itself is an interesting setting. The way that Carter introduces readers to the setting is done with clarity. There is no room for confusion on just what is going on in Adria or Embassy Row which is always a positive.
Grace was a character who I could get behind for the most part. I loved her drive. I loved her ‘I don’t care’ attitude. She reminded me a lot of Kat from Heist Societyoverall in terms of her personality. I did find however that for a sixteen-year-old girl (and speaking as a teen of the same age demographic) that there were certain sections where she did not act her age at all. There were others where making her sound ‘young’ and ‘badass’ felt forced and unnatural. I’d read certain passages and just cringe with secondhand embarrassment for our protagonist.
The mystery that unfolds in Embassy Row was one that kept me on the edge of my seat. All Fall Down is a story that makes you wonder about fact and fiction, what’s real and isn’t real, and the many ways that the mind might play tricks on you. Upon possibly seeing the man who killed her mother, Grace is thrown onto a path that will lead her to the truth, though the truth might not at all be what she expected. All Fall Down is a story that is definitely carried by its diverse range of secondary characters. The son of the Russian ambassador, son of the Israeli and Brazilian ambassadors, daughter to Germany’s ambassador, and the daughter to a CIA agent all carry the plot of All Fall Down.
I would recommend All Fall Down to readers who are fans of Carter’s previous works. Readers who are looking for a good mystery/adventure story should also give All Fall Down a read. Any readers who are looking for a novel that is unique or want a novel that has an imaginative setting should also give it a read.