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BOOK REVIEW: All Fall Down by Ally Carter

| 7 February 2015 | Reply

BOOK REVIEW: All Fall Down by Ally Carter.

Scholastic Press
February 2015
Paperback, £6.99
Reviewed by Aly Locatelli



The cobblestones are ancient. Every tourist to ever visit Adria has heard about the Romans and the Mongols, the Crusaders and the Turks. They all came to Adria. They all came and saw and conquered.
And fell.
Lila was right about that part. Eventually, everybody falls.

Grace is an army brat, a daredevil, a rebel but she is also the granddaughter of a powerful US ambassador and every year she spent her summers at Embassy Row, in Adria, in the company of other kids her age.
That was, up until three years ago, when Grace just stopped going. After the death of her mother — the death she is convinced was not accidental but was, in fact, murder — Grace spent a lot of time in psychiatric care. She’s spoken to doctors and family members, she has taken tablets and undergone treatments because everyone says that what she saw wasn’t real. Her mother’s death was an accident.

I don’t tell my grandfather that my mother’s antique store was ransacked. I don’t say that when the building burst into flames, it sounded like a bomb.
These are the things I never say to anyone anymore. Not because I don’t want to say them — I want to scream them. But these are the things that no one else can bear to hear.
“It was an accident, Grace. Your mother died in a terrible, tragic accident.” His voice cracks. Tears well in his eyes.
“I’m not crazy.”

Yet, Grace won’t give up. She will find her mother’s murderer and make him pay.

“Why are you doing this, Noah?” I ask before I even know the words are coming.
Noah looks at me, stunned. “What do you mean? I’m your friend. Friends help each other when they are… you know… going up against international hit men and stuff.”

In All Fall Down, there are secrets and lies and a race to uncover the truth. Grace won’t go down without a fight.

As my first Ally Carter book, All Fall Down was disappointing. Maybe I’m getting too old and intolerant of YA or maybe it just wasn’t my cup of tea, but I found Grace to be too juvenile, naive and rather immature. The idea that Grace has suffered a great trauma is forced on the reader rather than eased onto them — they don’t get the chance  to come to grips with the storyline before it takes a nosedive into more troubled waters. It is difficult to find compassion for Grace when she constantly defies her grandfather, the ambassador, and embarrasses him in front of the world because, ‘I am not crazy!‘ (which is the general excuse she gives whenever she is told off). It is difficult to care for a teenager who jumps head first into trouble and then moans when she is caught out and places the blame on someone else, rather than accepting that it was her fault.

It was also difficult to enjoy it when it went from light-hearted humour to Lifetime TV drama in the space of two paragraphs. The pacing, especially, was all over the place — going from sloooow to too fast to comprehend what was happening and then back to sloooow.

However, by 80% it was easier to fall into step with the storyline and start to somewhat enjoy it. The ending was too easily cleaned and wrapped up for my taste. It felt a lot like no one really knew how it was going to end until they ran out of options and decided to dump a bucketful of confusion into the plot and leave in a generous cliffhanger to get the fans riled up.

Not my cup of tea, unfortunately.

(All Fall Down is book 1 in the Embassy Row Series.)

Category: Book Reviews, Other Reviews

About the Author ()

21. A reader, a writer, a reviewer and a full-time sloth lover. I am addicted to coffee and my laptop, and love reading especially when it's rainy outside.

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