Publisher: Orchard Books
Released: February 5th 2015
My Rating: 4 stars out of 5
Find it on 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. (from Goodreads)
Ally Carter is just awesome. I've loved all her series so far, and All Fall Down is another great start to what looks like a promising new saga. It's perhaps not my favourite of her books (but the series do tend to get better as they go along) but it was definitely engrossing and I have to say I am very excited for the next book!
Grace was quite different from Cammie or Kat but I think she was a really good main character. It was easy to understand her frustrations and her rebellious behaviour. No-one believed her when she said her mother was murdered. No-one listened to her, no-one would investigate the incident, it was just chalked up to an accident. Grace was forced to talk to therapists and take medication and be told again and again that she was seeing things, that her mind was playing tricks on her because of the trauma she suffered. But Grace refused to believe that. She had been there, and she saw the gunshot wound, the blood, the man with the scar. Her mother was not killed in a fire, and she was determined to prove it. It was easy to sympathise with her. She was struggling so much, and half the time she didn't know what to do or how to convince everyone that she wasn't crazy. I think if she hadn't had her friends around her, things would have gone downhill very quickly. Somehow, without even asking, she had three new friends and a boy who always seemed to turn up in the most unexpected of places. I wish she had used technology to her advantage sometimes; using her phone to record/take pictures of what she was witnessing would have made persuading people a little easier. There were times where even I as the reader was questioning whether Grace was actually seeing what she thought she was. But in the end, it all led to the same thing.
I really liked the side characters in this book too. Noah, Grace's self-appointed best friend, was my favourite. He was so trusting and supporting of Grace. He didn't need to be convinced, he just went along with Grace's ideas because he really wanted to help her. I loved that there wasn't anything romantic between them either (Noah had a soft spot for Meghan); their friendship was enough and they made each other laugh and had each other's backs. Meghan was another great character because she persisted in trying to help Grace even when Grace was not being very nice to her (for reasons explained in the book, though I still felt bad for her at times). And Meghan, while not as open and easy-going type that as Noah, did kind things in her own way and ended up being a pretty loyal friend. Rosie was the youngest of the group, but probably the most excitable, and while I wish we had seen a bit more of her, I loved all the scenes she was in.
Alexei was the boy next door (next door being the Russian Embassy). He was a friend of Grace's brother, who had asked him to look after her, and was a bit of enigma. We didn't get to find out much about him, which was probably on purpose, though it was clear he cared about Grace. If you're looking for romance, there's hardly any in this book, but if anyone is going to be the love interest in the future, it will likely be Alexei. I was curious about him and the way he always managed to show up when Grace needed help, and while he isn't my favourite of Ally Carter's romantic leads (that title still goes to Zach, with Hale as a very close second) I definitely want to see more of him (especially after the way things ended).
Plot-wise, this book was probably one of Ally Carter's darkest books yet. The Gallagher Girls series did end up taking a pretty dark route as the books went on, but this series has started off darker still, and honestly, I kind of love it. There are so many possibilities and I'm really looking forward to see which way the story will go. There were a lot of things I didn't see coming in the book (I mean, I guessed but literally only ten minutes before the big reveal so that doesn't count) and after the ending, I don't even know what to expect. All I know is that I am very excited for the sequel!
Overall, All Fall Down was a fab book and I highly recommend it, especially if you're an Ally Carter fan (and if you haven't read any Ally Carter books yet, then you seriously need to fix that).