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All Fall Down

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By: Ally Carter

An Embassy Row Novel

Grace Blakely is back in Adria, where her Grandfather is US Ambassador and her mother grew up. Her mother is why she is back, and there are so many memories. And memories are a big part of the problem, because Grace knows three things with certainty; that she isn’t crazy, that her mother was murdered and she is determined to find the killer and make them pay. No-one else believes her. Her issues mean she has no-one to trust.

Into this comes Noah, her new self-proclaimed best friend, he simply won’t take no for an answer when he pushes his way into her life. To complicate matters, Alexei the Russian, has promised to keep an eye on her because her brother has asked him to. Then she sees the man she swears killed her mother. Who can she get to help to prove it? It’s all more complicated because everyone on Embassy Row has to constantly be aware of scandal and international implications of what happens between them. Every move, every little action can have big ramifications, even going through the wrong door can cause an international incident. How will she convince people she is not losing it?

Carter has created a city with a story centred on the complexities of growing up in a truly international street. The gravitas provided by the knowledge everything that happens could have impact outside of the small contained world these characters live in, gives the story a whole other dimension. Grace is a damaged character and whilst it is good to see things such as anxiety and the like represented I find the extremes a little too intense. The brief moments of relief somehow don’t seem long enough, even though it does make sense eventually. Even though I did have a few niggles with Grace herself the story was entertaining and I went straight onto the second book.

Publisher: Scholastic

Published: 1st February 2015

Key Words: Politics, Family, Conspiracy, Thriller

ISBN: 9781743628942

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Pawn

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By: Amiee Carter

Kitty Doe is a III, brash and annoyed with herself for messing up her one chance to become a IV. Feeling as if it was all a waste she decides to celebrate by stealing an orange, a silly thing really but if she gets caught that could mean the end of her life, but right at this moment she doesn’t much care, as long as Benjy doesn’t take the blame he still has a chance. Then she gets thrown a massive curve ball, offered the chance of a life time and join the most powerful family in the country and become an VII. The catch, she will be masked, surgically transformed to look like the Prime Minister’s niece, Lila Hart. There is more, it will be her job to stop the rebellion, a cause Kitty believes in. The deeper she goes down this path the more she uncovers and Kitty isn’t the only one who believes in the rebellion, it was a cause Lila herself secretly supported and in all likelihood what got her killed. Kitty has to uncover the truth and decide what is most important to her. She needs to figure out how to play the political game she has been thrust into.

A familiar plot, someone is thrust to greatness from poverty only to find that all is not as it seems. Kitty thought she had nothing to lose but when she digs down into it she discovers so much more about herself. It is a good story, an interesting world. Carter has handled the complexities of the situation Kitty finds herself in well. I would perhaps have enjoyed this more if it had not come out at a time when there were several other books with very similar themes on the new releases list. Now we are further away from that I have to say it will appeal to those who like their stories gritty, their characters multi-layered and a little flawed, and a good bit of political manipulation and conspiracy.

Publisher: Harlequin

Published: 1st December 2013

Key Words: Dystopian Fantasy, Politics, Conspiracy

ISBN: 9781743564974

The False Prince

This book was sent to me by the publisher.

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By: Jennifer A. Nielsen

Sage is an orphan, one who causes trouble and takes risks. He is one of four boys who get kidnapped. Four boys who look remarkably similar. There is something devious, even dangerous, going on, failure will result in death. The boys embark on an intense round of training, the end result of it being that one of them will be chosen to impersonate the kingdom’s missing prince. This is a perilous time for not only the boys but also the kingdom.

This was a riveting read. Sage is an appealing and cheeky character. He is a troublemaker who refuses to give himself over to the will of the man behind this risky charade. The characters are well written, each very different and they fit well together.  The story is engaging, Sage is a character you can grow attached to, he has a particular code and he sticks to it. He has a strength the other’s don’t and a depth that shines through. The story is very much about the characters, particularly Sage, his choices and reasons, however they fit into a world that feels very real. In future stories I am hoping Neilsen will expand on the world.

Well worth a look. (Recommended for ages 10+)

Publisher: Scholastic

Published: 01 Dec 2012

Format: Paperback 352 pages

Categories: Adventure, Fantasy, Conspiracy

ISBN 13: 9781407133058

Purchase: here or use Booktopia link on the side of the page

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