I used to be the blogger called YAL Book Briefs, but I grew bored of the handle and changed my name to Howdy YAL. I also respond to MJ. I like to read, write, eat truffles, and watch bad Lifetime movies.
Alfred Hitchock was considered to be the master of suspense. While his movies normally don’t contain an obscene amount of gore (unless it’s that awful shower scene in Psycho) they have had a lasting impression on film and how crime was portrayed in film and TV.
The man even made a movie about psychotic birds scary. Unfortunately, Ally Carter is no Alfred Hitchcock.
Not that I’d expect her to be a master of suspense (or even intrigue like the blurb suggests), with Ally Carter I expect light frothy capers. I loved her Gallagher Girls series and her Heist Society books. Both series had an element of mystery, but weren’t suspense novels or a psychological thriller like All Fall Down.
I take that back, the fifth Gallagher Girls book was a little bit on the dark side, but compared to All Fall Down that book might as well had been Legally Blonde, Cammie’s weirdo amnesia included.
All Fall Down is not terrible. It had some things going for it. Like the whole embassy angle, that could work for it’s advantage. However, it didn’t utilize that angle to the extent that I was hoping. In fact, the embassy stuff was more or less an after thought.
What the book was more or less focused on was the sanity of our main character, Grace.
And I don’t like her.
I wanted to, but I couldn’t.
And that’s probably why I couldn’t connect because in order to like this book you have to like and sympathize with Grace because it’s all about her psychological torture as she tries to go all Batman on some scar faced dude, but without the Batarangs or the common sense.
Plus, I bet she’d use a gun.
Oh, wait…not going to say it because spoilers.
I get it. I’ve seen several Hitchcock films where the Not Crazy individual is gaslighted through the entire movie, but here….I couldn’t even sympathize once with Grace she was just annoying. And mean (cough, slut slamming, cough).
Oh, yes, there is some heavy slut slamming in this book. Random hating. And well, everything was really random about the relationships in this book.
Noah is basically Grace’s best friend because he’s told to be her best friend by Grace’s caretaker. His twin in randomly a bitch. Megan, who would seem like an ideal candidate for being a best friend, helps Grace even though Grace treats her like crap for being feminine. And Alexi just has really pretty blue eyes/hot accent and is just helping Grace because her brother told him so.
I couldn’t get into any of these characters.
Oh, then there’s grandpa and the caretaker lady. Caretaker lady is a bit like Julie Andrews version of Grandmere (dyed red hair included) and Grandpa has a Southern accent.
And that’s all I know about the characters.
I think in novels such as All Fall Down, there needs to be more exploration with character since they play such a large role in the novel. I get that this book is first in a series, and that many of these characters are going to be fleshed out as the series continues, but right now it’s just not working. And in a storyline like All Fall Down had, they needed to be fleshed out some more.
The plot itself was fairly typical for a psychological thriller. You knew a twist was coming. You knew that the character was being gaslighted to a degree. And honestly, the reveal wasn’t that exciting to me just cliche.
I applaud Carter for trying something new. Many authors stay in their niche, but she tried something different. While All Fall Down wasn’t an awful, it definitely had some major faults. I’m willing to give its sequel a chance, but I probably will library it.
Overall Rating: C+