A friend recommended these books to me a few years ago and I finally just finished the trilogy. I read the first book about a year ago, returned to book two a couple months ago, and just finished book three. Definitely not the fastest turnaround for a recommendation but I finally finished and that’s what matters!
**SPOILERS: There are some spoilers in the Goodreads summaries as the series progresses!
All Fall Down
Grace Blakely is absolutely certain of three things:
1. She is not crazy.
2. Her mother was murdered.
3. Someday she is going to find the killer and make him pay.
As certain as Grace is about these facts, nobody else believes her — so there’s no one she can completely trust. Not her grandfather, a powerful ambassador. Not her new friends, who all live on Embassy Row. Not Alexei, the Russian boy next door, who is keeping his eye on Grace for reasons she neither likes nor understands.
Everybody wants Grace to put on a pretty dress and a pretty smile, blocking out all her unpretty thoughts. But they can’t control Grace — no more than Grace can control what she knows or what she needs to do. Her past has come back to hunt her . . . and if she doesn’t stop it, Grace isn’t the only one who will get hurt. Because on Embassy Row, the countries of the world stand like dominoes, and one wrong move can make them all fall down.
There were a few things that initially drew me to this book. The first, and most obvious, is that my friends recommended this series to me after gushing about it. That’s more than enough to get me excited about a book, but a couple things in the summary had me interested too. All Fall Down sounded like a book comprised of a strong lead, a mysterious love interest, secrets, and politics.
I’ve never read Ally Carter’s books so I can’t compare it to the Gallager Girls like a lot of Goodreads reviews do, so I think that was an advantage because I really liked the first book of the Embassy Row trilogy. The mystery elements were great, the constant discovery of secrets kept me hooked, the friendship dynamics were fun, and the general sense of paranoia added a lot to the overall tone of the book. This was definitely a strong start to the series and leaves off on a cliffhanger so the reader has to read book two!
See How They Run
Inside every secret, there’s a world of trouble. Get ready for the second book in this new series of global proportions–from master of intrigue, New York Times bestselling author Ally Carter.
Grace’s past has come back to hunt her . . . and if she doesn’t stop it, Grace isn’t the only one who will get hurt. Because on Embassy Row, the countries of the world stand like dominoes, and one wrong move can make them all fall down.
The twists get twistier and the turns get even more shocking in the second thrilling installment of Embassy Row.
The summary Goodreads provides is really vague (as you can see above) but the book definitely has the twists promised in the summary. The second installment to Embassy Row maintained the pace of the first book, keeping me on the edge of my seat with the new developments and secrets uncovered. The gang goes deeper into the past of Adria and discovers more from Grace’s own past. I enjoyed the deeper exploration of the characters and relationships in See How They Run, especially Graces relationships with Alexi and Jamie.
That being said, the characters didn’t totally click with me this time around. Grace’s reckless behavior got tiring after awhile, Alexi didn’t have as much depth as I would like, and the other friends seemed to pop up only when convenient. The storyline was definitely engaging and fast-paced but it seemed to be that way at the cost of better-developed characters.
Take the Key and Lock Her Up
The princess is dead. Long live the princess.
Centuries ago, the royal family of Adria was killed…or so everyone thought.
Now Grace Blakely knows the truth: There was one survivor, and that survivor’s blood runs through her veins. This simple fact could cause a revolution—which is why some people will stop at nothing to keep it from coming to light.
There is only one way for Grace to save herself, save her family, and save the boy she loves. She must outmaneuver her foes, cut through the web of lies that has surrounded her for years, and go back to the source of all her troubles, despite the risk.
If she wins, she will inherit a throne.
And if she loses, she will inherit the fate of all the dead princesses who came before her.
Aaaand…it lost my interest. I didn’t mean for it to happen. I was genuinely excited to read this one after picking back up with book two. I just couldn’t really get into it. The pacing felt slower (even though stuff was always happening, so that’s weird), the characters were so dull and boring, and everything seemed to click right into place by the end.
There were parts I enjoyed (mostly those with Alexi tbh) but the secrets, anticipation, and backstabbing fell flat because I didn’t feel as close to the story anymore.
Embassy Row as a whole is a well-designed web of paranoia, secrets, lies, deception, and betrayal. Thrown in with all of this is friendship, examinations of mental health and grief, trust, and courage.
I love the friendship elements in this series, especially since everyone was from a different country in Embassy Row. It was cool to see the kids of diplomats, CIA agents, and other government officials break so many rules. I loved the relationships that developed throughout the course of the book, though I do think they tended to be overshadowed by the drama of the main storyline. I wish the characters had been more well-rounded, including Grace. A lot of the story focused on her and how her past influenced her present actions which was interesting at first quickly grew tedious when there wasn’t much character development.
I will say that grief and mental health were main points of the story and didn’t seem to be used in superficial ways. Grace’s mother was murdered in front of her, that’s bound to leave a mark. I think it was interesting to see Grace battle her PTSD, grief, and guilt throughout the series, even if I think it could have been developed more.
The overall plot of the trilogy and the subplots of each book are very interesting. The mystery elements are on point and the secrets that are uncovered are very captivating and kept me turning pages. Like Grace, I wanted to keep digging to reveal the truth.
All Fall Down and See How They Run grabbed me right from the beginning, and my lack of interest throughout Take the Key and Lock Her Up could be due to the time it took me to finish the series or the fact that I just wasn’t in this headspace when I started it. I’d still recommend this series, especially to people more interested in the plot of a book than the characters.
Have you read the Embassy Row trilogy? What did you think of it?