Wednesday, April 1, 2015
All Fall Down by Ally Carter
All Fall Down by Ally Carter is the first book in her new Embassy Row series.
When she was 13, Grace saw her mother die -- she heard the explosion; she saw the scarred man with the gun. But nobody believes her. The fire that killed her mother, she is told, was a tragic accident, not a bomb. There was no scarred man, no gunshot. Now, at age 16, Grace has been sent to live with her grandfather, the US Ambassador to the small European nation of Adria. Last time she was in Adria, she broke her leg jumping off the wall between the German and Canadian embassies, so she has something of a reputation for being a daredevil and a troublemaker -- not the best combination for an ambassador's granddaughter. Add to that the new accusation of craziness, and you can see why her grandfather's staff seems to be watching over her with a high degree of solicitude. But Grace still manages to find herself in places she's not supposed to be, overhearing conversations not meant for her ears. The Scarred Man is is Adria -- and he's about to kill again. The only people who believe Grace are her new friends, other misfit children of diplomatic staff. But what can a handful of teenagers do against an international assassin?
I found this book interesting, but a little frustrating. Part of the problem, of course, is that it's setting up a new series, so a lot of the hints dropped in this book presumably foreshadow major plot points in future books. The ending, while not exactly a cliffhanger, does leave readers wanting more, as it ends with Grace just about to get some answers regarding her mother's death. I thought that there were some obvious questions that Grace never asked (like, why would anyone want to kill her mother, an antiques dealer and wife of a minor military officer?). I also thought that the tunnel network under the city was way too convenient -- easily discovered by Grace, but apparently not by anyone else in the city. And there's a very slight romance angle that I just didn't buy. In many ways, this was a typical Ally Carter novel -- action, suspense, and a generally fast-moving plot, with lots of snappy dialogue -- but I didn't find it quite satisfying.
(Reviewed from a finished copy, courtesy of the publisher.)