Tuesday, 10 February 2015

Review of Embassy Row Book 1

All Fall Down 
(Embassy Row #1)
By Ally Carter


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

This exciting new series from NEW YORK TIMES bestselling author Ally Carter focuses on Grace, who 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.

Source: Goodreads

My rating: 3.4 / 5

My Thoughts:

**I received a free copy of this book via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.**

I devoured the Gallagher Girls (GG) series by Ally Carter but unfortunately I wasn't as impressed with the start to the Embassy Row series. It was good, but in a different way. 

If you've read the GG series, you'll know that towards the end of the series the story ventures towards a darker direction, whereas the ER series starts on an ominous note. In All Fall Down, the reader is surrounded by Grace's search for her mother's murderer. At the age of 13, Grace recalls a man with a scar on his face shooting her mother, but the official report is that her mother died in a tragic fire accident and none of the cameras say otherwise. 

After the ‘accident,’ Grace went through a difficult phase and was seen by countless psychiatrists to drill into her that it was an accident, not murder. However, she refuses to believe that she's crazy and there’s no one that can persuade her from her search for the scarred man. After accusing a handful of men with scars, Grace is certain she has finally found the one. The problem is that she has no proof, she’s cried Wolf too many times and the man in question happens to be the Head of Security for the Prime Minister.

Grace’s flaws brought her character to life. It was clear that the walls she’s built around her are to keep everyone away so she doesn’t get hurt again, but at the time she's incredibly lonely. Her reckless behaviour is her way of trying to prove that she's not helpless, even though she really is. Although she didn't want anyone's pity, I couldn't help but feel sorry for her.

At the same time, Grace's unrelenting mission to frame the Scarred Man, regardless of logic and reasoning irritated me. Her recklessness was funny to begin with, but soon became annoying, especially when she doesn’t think of consequences and leaps into action. Her position as the US Ambassador's granddaughter is very fragile, her smallest actions could mean war and the worst thing was that Grace knew this but overlooked it so many times, often getting out of trouble only because of her recent loss and mental instability, harsh but true.

Boy, her grandfather wound me up. I understand that he's super important but seriously, how could he be so cold hearted? He acts all charming and friendly with the other ambassadors, but he doesn’t think to show a leeetle love or support for his granddaughter. I did not like him at all.

My favourite characters were Ms Chancellor and Noah; Grace’s self-appointed official best friend. He had the nerd/funny thing going for him and some of his comments made me smile, especially his infatuation with Megan. I want to like Alexie but there’s something dodgy about him. He’s always around in an almost stalker-like fashion, until the very end when he abruptly disappears. Alexie reminds me of Zach from the GG series and I have a feeling he has a lot of secrets.

If I hadn’t read the GG series, I would have given this a 4/5. Unfortunately, this book did not meet the high expectations I have come to expect from Ally Carter. This was a good but not a great start to the ER series; certainly not as fun or addictive as the GG books.

Zed (:
Favourite Quotes:

My life is a never-ending conversation of the things that people do not say.

He looks tired, older than I remember. Of all the changes I’d been expecting, this wasn’t one. I mean, old is old. I’d never really thought of it as something that has degrees.

“Here. Put this on.” “That’s a duffle bag.” “OK. Then put on something else. But that’s a really nice bag. It would really bring out your” – he gestures to me oddly with his hands – “personality.”

I’d rather live in a war zone with my father than with people who call me sweetie.

“I'm not an idiot! I’m just twelve. I’m a twelve-year-old girl and neither of those facts are my fault.” I was thirteen when I saw my mother die, when I told my story. When I started “having a hard time,” as my grandfather likes to say. Would they have locked me up if I’d been thirty? If I’d been a boy? It’s a question I do not dare to ask.

I don’t need Megan’s worry. I do not want her pity. I only have so much “care” inside of me and right now I can’t waste an ounce of it on her.

In other words, I should save myself. It’s the smart thing to do. But the downside of spending most of your life having people tell you you’re acting stupid means that, eventually, you stop trying to do what is smart.

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