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.