All Fall Down, by Ally Carter

It pains me to say this, but All Fall Down is one of Ally Carter's weaker efforts. I have no doubt things will improve as the series progresses, but so far things are only fair-to-middling on... well, almost every front.

Carter's heroine is sixteen-year-old Grace Blakely, who has been shipped off to live with her grandfather, the American ambassador to the fictional European country of Adria. Grace hasn't been back to Adria since her mother's death three years before—a death that Grace believes was murder, and everyone else insists was a tragic accident. After three years of questioning her own sanity, Grace is surprised to suddenly acquire a trio of intensely loyal (and remarkably useful) friends, all fellow Embassy Row kids. But when she catches a glimpse of the man who killed her mother, Grace realizes she'll need her new friends' help to hunt him down.

I'm not saying people shouldn't read All Fall Down, but they might want to wait until the next book is closer to release, because it just isn't very satisfying. The relationship between Grace and her allies is cute, but Carter doesn't provide much of an explanation for their sudden die-hard loyalty. I'm clearly supposed to find their bond heartwarming, but I mostly found it hard to believe. The mystery/suspense stuff is intriguing, but I warn you: there is very, very little actual resolution in this installment. Thus far my favorite thing about this series is its setting, which is as exotic and glamorous as an old spy movie. Unfortunately, even the awesome setting gets short shrift in All Fall Down, and readers will be stuck waiting for future installments before it—or anything else about this series—is properly developed.
Posted by: Julianka


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