[497]: All Fall Down by Ally Carter

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GOODREADS SUMMARY | Scholastic Press | Hardcover, 320 pp.
January 15th, 2015 | Young Adult Fiction | 3 out of 5 Stars


Ally Carter’s introduction to a new series didn’t quite live up to my expectations. Mind you, I didn’t really know what to expect from a novel about the lives of those who live in a fictional community known as “Embassy Row”. All I know is that I expected more from what I’ve gotten. I thought for sure this would be a cool novel. I mean, imagine all the rich culture we could learn from it, right?

Unfortunately, I was disappointed that this novel couldn’t really offer more than what we already know as far as the state of affairs between countries: Russia and the United States hate each other. Iran and Israel can’t be seen together. There are balls. Gowns. Men in Black. Assassination attempts. It didn’t get much more interesting than that, sadly.

Grace is a character worn down by a baggage she was lugging around. Her mother was killed in a fire; her father is a serviceman dedicated to his country; and her brother, well on his way to following their father’s footsteps. She was dumped in the care of her grandfather, who happens to be the Ambassador of the United States to the island of Adria. She was, for the most part, your typical character in a YA novel: abandoned, parentless, with a past that even she can’t remember.

I like the pace of the novel right up to about a quarter to the end. But because Carter took her sweet time developing how Grace’s past will be revealed, the pace suffered greatly towards the ending. Beware of whiplash.

I think I share everybody’s gripe when I say that the infinite unanswered questions got old pretty fast.  Just when a piece of the puzzle will be revealed, Carter yanks it out of a reader’s hand and swallows the clue whole like a freshly-shucked oyster. It was infuriating. I lost my patience with this book on a couple of occasions, but the story was engrossing enough that I couldn’t abandon ship.

Adria is a fictional island off of Mediterranean. Regardless of its size, it somehow managed to have several embassies congregated in one area. This could’ve been way cool. But honestly? You could take this plot element and plop it on any random teen novel. Halfway in, you would’ve forgotten already that this series is called, Embassy Row. Because by then, it bore no relevance to the plot. You’d forget that these kids are global representatives living in one community.

Regardless of my struggles with this novel, I’m still curious to see where this is going. Hopefully, Carter will have a better direction in her next instalment.

 

  • I was unimpressed by this one too. It took too long to get answers, there were too many mental breakdowns and I am rather disappointed by the twist and I have no clue what that ending alluded to. But I still read this one easily and would like to see where this series go. I just have no clue where it’s going to rank and how quick I am going to pick up book 2.

  • Erin @ The Hardcover Lover

    This was my first Ally Carter book, so I didn’t really know what to expect going in, but I ended up liking it. I felt like it read a little younger than most YA books though, and because of that, I had a harder time connecting with it. I think I ended up giving it four stars after figuring out that’s it’s for younger teens. I guess being a teacher made me see it through a different lens than the one I originally planned.

    I still want to see how everything else plays out now that I’ve started the series.

  • Precious

    Awww, sorry you didn’t like it that much. But I’m glad youre interested enough to continue the series. This has been in my wishlist for a loooong time. I’m not sure if I should push through with it now. Kinda nervous. Thanks for the great honest review! 🙂

  • Ahh that’s basically the reason why I’ve been avoiding this one, even though I’ve heard good things about it. It’s all about politics and I’m not that big of a fan of politics or these types of novels. I hope your next read is better Joy!

  • Aww. Sorry this wasn’t so good for you. 🙁 I was excited about this mainly because of the cover. I haven’t actually read anything by Ally Carter but I’ve seen good reviews of her past work and was thinking I’d start with this one. Well, maybe now I’ll just pick up another book.

  • Three stars seems to be about the norm for this one. Sorry you weren’t crazy about it – hope the next one is better!

    Nicole @ Feed Your Fiction Addiction

  • you are kinder than me, J.! 🙂 I wouldn’t give it another chance. It was too disappointing!

  • Aw, I love Ally Carter’s Heist Society books, but those also have a galloping pace and while there certainly are secrets, they’re doled out steadily. I definitely still want to read this because I’ve found others of her books so delightful, but I’ll definitely curb my expectations for it.

  • ‘You’d forget that these kids are global representatives living in one community.’
    YES! THIS! As much as I enjoyed this one Joy, that’s the same issue I had with it too. With so many embassies sharing the one community essentially, I wanted more politics and conflict. I was hoping we’d be introduced to the other nations, adding more intrigue to the storyline, but sadly that wasn’t the case. Hopefully book two explores those traditions and relationships. Grace peeved me off as well, thank goodness for Noah, he added much needed personality to what were essentially dull characters. And Alexei? What was HIS deal. Surely he wasn’t the ‘hot’ Russian love interest *yawns*

    Great review Joy, sorry you couldn’t have enjoyed this one a little more <3

  • See I felt exactly the same things as you Joy, I wanted so much more out of it especially more back stories about the countries and the embassies and that felt like the only unique part of the novel. Instead it was a rather predictable story in the end. I’m hoping the sequel is better.

  • Omg absolutely agree Joy! I just finished this book yesterday and I must say it was definitely not as I expected. I wanted political intrigue and what we got was a girl being annoying and getting into all sorts of trouble. Even the ending was quite lame…I enjoyed it overall but it had so much potential that was just not delivered.

  • I’m very curious about this one. I love the sound of its fun premise and settings, but as you mentioned having the clues yanked out too many times can lead to endless frustration. I’m glad you want to see where the series goes though. I’m going to keep my on this series.
    Thanks for the great review!! 🙂

  • I haven’t heard much about this one so I’m glad I came across your review. I think I’ll wait to see how the series pans out before diving into this installment. Thanks for your honest review, Joy! 🙂

  • Oooh, so many people loved this book. Sucks you didn’t fancy it much. Great review, Joy! 😀

  • Sorry to hear this didn’t quite live up to your expectations, Joy. I don’t like it when everything is revealed at the very last moment. Little bits revealed throughout is better, IMO and far less frustrating. Throw a girl a bone! Great review, but this is a pass for me. 🙂

  • I haven’t ever read an Ally Carter book but I do have the first one in her other series and I am looking forward to when I can try that one! I think that this was a shame it couldn’t be as great or more of an eye opener when it came to the politics of things. For a YA reader with lower expectations I am sure they will like this one. Great review!

  • I have never tried her books, so maybe one day

  • I read this and agree with some of your observations about the pace. This book didn’t really get going until the very end.

    Try Heist Society. I loved that one. It’s fast (and consistently) paced throughout and it’s clever and funny — the main character is a whip-smart girl who puts together a team to pull a heist. It’s really fun. The audiobook is great too if you like that kind of thing. I downloaded it for a sick friend to listen to and she loved it!

    Thanks so much for stopping by! Jen @ YA Romantics

  • She that is part of what I am hating about YA right now. All the character types are the same. It’s so typical to find the YA heroine to be parentless, or have absentee parents, or have been abused etc and be essentially on her own. Characters can be interesting if they come from a stable background as well without missing parents. Sometimes I wonder if authors make the parents absent just so they don’t have to be bothered finding creative realistic ways to have their teens work around having parents in the picture.

  • I´ve read some mixed reviews about this book, so I´m not sure if I´m going to read it soon.
    thanks for your review.

  • Gah I love her books because they are always just so much fun but I think this one might frustrate me if I didn’t already have book two out to read after it. I think I will hold off starting this one.
    Wonderful review Joy!!

  • Yay! You’re back! I would be really bothered by the lack of answers too. That’s just really annoying. I don’t know if this book is for me, I’m still conflicted, but this is definitely not a book I’m running to purchase.
    Great review, Joy!

  • Sorry it didn’t live up to your expectations, Joy. Hope the next one is better!

  • Aw, I’m sorry this book was disappointing Joy :\ That is no fun at all. Sigh. I have seen this book sometimes, but I haven’t really been interested to check it out more, lol (A) and now I’m pretty sure it won’t be for me. Sigh. But I am happy that you did like many things about it 😀 And that you are curious about what happens next. That is a good sign. Fingers crossed book two will be awesome, if you read it. <3

  • This sounds like it could have been a good idea, but that it was sort of taken over by the usual YA stereotypes. Great review Joy! :]

  • SOOOO many people love this book, and because of this I’ve been so close to picking it up. But then I never do lol. It’s just . . . idkkk, I’m still debating on whether or not I actually want to read it. * sighs * Even though you rated it 3 stars, do you think it’s still worth the read? I trust your opinion greatly lol.