Fictional High-Stakes Politics, or my review of See How They Run

See How They Run

See How They Run (Embassy Row #2)

By: Ally Carter

Publisher: Scholastic Press

Publication Date: December 22nd, 2015

Format: Hardcover

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.

  

4 star (griffin)

I’ve started patronizing the Chapel Hill Public Library very heavily, mostly to try and mitigate the usual sleepy boredom of summer. This means that I’m not necessarily reading super-cool new ARCs, but I am catching up on some series and anticipated books that I haven’t had the chance to read yet. This is how See How They Run came into my hands–I posted a review of the first book in the series over a year ago, but never bothered to read the rest of the series (in fact, I’ve never finished any of Ally Carter’s series). I’ve since decided to change that.

All Fall Down is a fast-paced, wild series that starts out with the delicate politics of Embassy Row and then throws in a mentally unstable, PTSD-afflicted protagonist. She’s still haunted by her mother’s death and the toll it’s taken both on her and her family. And as she’s spending the summer with her ambassador grandfather, she’s slowly learning how she and her mother fit into the delicate local politics, and the consequences of it.

If I thought that All Fall Down piled on the diplomatic drama, I was wrong–See How They Run starts out with Grace’s Russian friend Alexei being accused of killing her brother’s friend and fellow West Point student John Spencer. Of course, Russian-American relations aren’t hot as it is, and the accusation ramps up the tension across the whole of Valancia. Grace is convinced Alexei’s innocent–it’s just trying to prove it, when everyone else from the local police to her brother is determined to pin the blame on Alexei, that’s difficult.

Although this book was just as fast-paced and crazy as the first one, it felt somewhat familiar. I was used to the cast of characters, from Noah to Megan to Rosie, and how they worked together to try and figure out the mystery. The ties to Valancia’s storied history were fascinating, and the intrigue and danger kept my heart racing even in some of the quieter moments. I can’t imagine not reading this book in one sitting–I don’t think it’s possible.

Again, I enjoyed Grace’s character the most. Although there are still moments where she’s clearly having some issues, she’s incredibly competent and capable. I especially enjoyed the moments when she learned to tamp down the panic in order to get out of the situation, and her relentlessness in figuring out what the adults aren’t telling her. But at the same time, she knows by now that she doesn’t have to rely just on herself, and it’s awesome. I loved how she assembled the old group and knew exactly how to make use of each of their talents.

I also enjoyed the escalation of stakes…from Grace’s personal demons in Book One to what is almost certainly some sort of insane governmental conspiracy. The cliffhanger at the end was a shock, but it felt grounded, not just thrown in to sell a third book. That being said, I am VERY interested in reading the third book as soon as I can get my hands on it. The escalating tension plus Grace’s growth as a character and leader plus the continuing mystery all promise one hell of a final book.

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Disclaimer: The synopsis and cover picture were pulled from the book’s Goodreads page. Neither belong to us.

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