by Ally Carter
First sentence: “I don’t know where I am.”
Support your local independent bookstore: buy it there!
Others in the series: All Fall Down
Review copy provided by the publisher.
Content: There’s some deaths, off screen, some mild swearing, and a lot of intense moments. It’s in the YA (grades 6-8) section of the bookstore.
Spoilers for the first book, obviously.
The last thing Grace remembers was finding out that she killed her mother (by accident, but still), and then her grandfather’s chief of staff shot the Adrian prime minister (who is currently in a coma). What she’s being told, however is that the prime minister had a devastating heart attack, so Grace is still questioning her sanity. That and said chief of staff happens to be part of a secret 300-year-old organization of librarians who also happen to be assassins. Oh, and Grace’s mother was part of that society as well.
To make things worse, her brother Jamie shows up with a friend in tow, and after a party on a nearby island, said friend turns up… dead. The person being targeted is the son of the Russian ambassador (obviously) and Grace’s almost love-interest, Alexei. And Grace is determined to prove what she knows: Alexei’s innocent.
While this is a darker turn for Carter, it’s still very much her fun, engaging writing. I adored the chemistry between the characters (though I ship Grace and Noah, but that’s just me. I need more Noah in these books.), and the twists and turns kept me turning pages. While it was predictable at times (yeah, I figured something bad would happen to the new guy who just showed up and was a bit of a jerk) I never felt bored by it at all. I loved the intrigue, the history and mythology Carter is weaving around her invented country.
That said, I did want more of the assassin-librarian group, and Grace and her PTSD were often annoying. But, I was able to look past the second one, especially as the book wore on and Grace became less fraught with emotion and more invested in proving Alexei’s innocence.
In short, it’s a good, solid series and I’m curious to see where it goes from here.