Friday, 16 January 2015

Book Review: All Fall Down by Ally Carter

All Fall Down (Embassy Row #1)Title: All Fall Down
Author: Ally Carter
Series:  Embassy Row, #1
Pages:  320
Publisher: Orchard Books
Date of Publication: 5th February, 2015
Source: NetGalley for review*
Synopsis from Goodreads: Grace 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.


My Thoughts:
I am a huge fan of Ally Carter, as you probably know if you've been following me on Twitter and on the blog at all since last summer when I first read I'd Tell You I Love You But Then I'd Have To Kill You. I've read all of the Gallagher Girls novels, all of the published Heist Society books, as well as her mini crossover novella Double Crossed and her recent short Christmas romance in My True Love Gave To Me (note: if you haven't read any of those, GO NOW.) Anyway, she is my joint most read author (with Richelle Mead) and so clearly I had very high hopes for All Fall Down. While I think I still like Gallagher Girls more, All Fall Down was an incredibly promising start to a series which I'm sure, in true Ally Carter style, will only get better. I can't wait for more!

Grace has had a tough few years away from Embassy Row, where she used to spend her summers as a child. Now she's back, this time to stay, and to finally find out what really happened concerning her mother's death - a labelled 'accident' that she's been sure for years was actually a murder. Finally, with friends to back her up as she uncovers more and more details, she's determined to reveal the truth, but she must be careful not to accidentally start World War Three in the process.

I loved the world that Ally Carter has set up in All Fall Down. A huge part of all of Ally's novels are the settings and the worlds in which her characters live, which are always magnificently imagined and constructed, in such a way that while they're pretty far fetched in real life terms, they don't seem at all unusual within the novels. The world created for Embassy Row is no different and I loved reading about the different national embassies all on one street and how culturally they all differ so hugely from one another despite lying only a few metres away. I also particularly love reading about the conflicts and the politics involved - I usually hate politics but it was so interesting to read about who's annoyed with whom and the tension that occurred as a result. Brilliant. I definitely think that this world has a huge amount of potential for future sequels!

Grace, the main character, is fantastic. She's a little unhinged from three years of being convinced that her mother was murdered but having no one believe her and having to be physically restrained as a result, and Ally portrayed her instability and fragility perfectly. I was frustrated with her when she wasn't believed, but on the flip side I could also completely understand why her family and friends didn't believe her, which meant that I felt I could connect with the characters and really become immersed in the story. I didn't always agree with Grace, which made it exciting and very tense and as a result I could not stop turning the pages (or, you know, pressing the next page button on my Kindle, but that doesn't sound quite as good ;) ).

All Fall Down also has a fabulous cast of secondary characters. Each of her friends and acquaintances from all the different embassies were so individual and fleshed out that I could easily imagine them all and when combined with the twists and turns of the super fast paced plot, it was simply such fun to read. I haven't enjoyed reading a book so much for such a long time what with school and work and so All Fall Down  really is a fabulous read and a great start to a series which, I'm sure can only get even better.


*Huge thanks to Orchard Books and NetGalley for allowing me access to this title in exchange for an honest review. In no way has this affected my opinion of the novel. 
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