“See How They Run” by Ally Carter
4 1/2 out of 5 stars.
Grace Blakely discovered that the Scared Man of her nightmares, the man she had believed to be her mother’s murderer, is innocent, and that her mother was actually a part of something important enough for someone to want her dead. Grace’s already upended world is shaken once again when she’s told a great secret that has been kept for centuries, revealed only to a select few in all of Adria.
Still reeling from what she has been told about the true history of Adria and her mother’s past, tragedy strikes Embassy Row. When someone closely connected to the Blakely family is found dead on one of Adria’s beaches, Grace and her friends have to uncover the truth behind what happened to the victim before one of their own is accused of being the murderer. Soon they discover that the victim’s death is closely connected to the untold story of Adria, and Grace begins to realize that her fate and the fates of friends depend upon her uncovering the truth buried beneath the ancient city. She just hopes that she can expose it before her time and luck runs out in Embassy Row.
Wow, I had a lot of fun while reading this book! Ally Carter is one of my favorite authors because of her clever writing and fast-paced plots, and whenever I pick up a book written by her, I know that I will enjoy reading it. In January of last year, Ally Carter had released the first book in her new “Embassy Row” series, and I had enjoyed it a lot, but it did not capture my heart quite like the “Gallagher Girls” and the “Heist Society” books had. I could appreciate that “All Fall Down” was a fast, enjoyable read, but I was not in love with the characters of this new series and that kept it from becoming an instant favorite for me. With Ally Carter, though, I always know to just sit back and wait, because each successive book in her series gets better and better, and I am quite happy to announce that “See How They Run” was not an exception to the rule.
“See How They Run” was instantly more interesting and enjoyable to read than the first book, and now that I knew Grace a little bit more, I could really get into the story and mystery that Ally wrote in this book. When I read “All Fall Down” in January of last year, I had liked reading it, but I had found it to be a bit more predictable and some of the suspense was taken away because of that. With “See How They Run,” however, I did not know what Ally Carter would do next and was just along for the very fun ride that it took me on.
Grace was a harder perspective to read at times because of her darker, more negative outlook on life. Obviously she had valid reasons to feel the way she did, but her point of view did not make for the most lighthearted or funny reading experience like the “Heist Society” and the “Gallagher Girls” had been. Ally Carter has an amazing sense of humor that comes across in her writing really well, but the “Embassy Row” books have been quite serious compared to the other books due to Grace’s fairly constant stream of negative thoughts. Although Grace’s was not the most reviving or refreshing of perspectives to read from, I still enjoyed “See How They Run,” and after the first half of it, Grace definitely curbed some of her internal pessimism. Once I reached that point in this book, I found myself caring a lot about Ally’s beaten down heroine, and I wanted to see her forgive herself and get a fresh start.
One of the many reasons why I love Ally Carter’s writing so much is that her books and series always become more and more layered as they continue. “See How They Run” was so much more intriguing than “All Fall Down,” and I loved that I learned more about the history Adria and the secret circle that Grace had been invited into. All of those new additions to the plot and background of Adria created an extremely interesting dynamic between the main and secondary characters in this book, which only added to the fun of it! Besides the added mystery of “See How They Run,” and that I had grown accustomed to Grace’s slighter dark perspective, I loved that Ally Carter had Alexei play a much larger role in her second “Embassy Row” book.
As great as the other characters in this book were, Alexei Volkov was by far my favorite!
Alexei reminded me a bit of Zach Goode from Ally’s “Gallagher Girls” series (in the best possible way!) while still feeling like a new, fresh male character, and I really enjoyed getting to know him better in “See How They Run.” Alexei was introduced in “All Fall Down,” but he did not play a huge role in the story other than occasionally making an appearance, which I was okay with at the time. I had really liked Noah, Grace’s friend, in the first book because he was in it the most and was the comedic aspect of it, but then Alexei effortlessly stole the show in “See How They Run,” and I just fell in love with this character and wanted him to be in every scene possible. I loved getting to know Alexei a little bit more in this book, and the secrets was keeping created some extra suspense. Alexei was a really interesting and mysterious character, and I ended up massively enjoying the second “Embassy Row” book because he played such an important role in it. Another reason why I liked “See How They Run” was because of the tension that existed between Alexei and Grace.
I wouldn’t say that there was an actual romance in “See How They Run,” but it was obvious that there was something between Grace and Alexei that went beyond just having known each other for years. I seriously loved seeing Alexei and Grace together, the history they had with one another, and I thought that they were, or would be, really good together. Alexei was Grace’s pillar at times in this book, and I think that Grace made him a little bit softer, kinder. Yeah, I am definitely shipping the two of them, and I am excited to see where Ally Carter will take them in the next “Embassy Row” book.
Besides Alexei being amazing and Grace making my heart hurt, I really enjoyed the other characters that Ally Carter wrote. Ally has a knack for creating fabulous secondary characters, and I loved the dynamic all of her characters in “See How They Run” produced. I felt a little nostalgic at times reading this book because I missed some of the characters from Ally’s other series, but I thought that all of the characters in the “Embassy Row” series were still great, and they were already growing on me while I was reading the second book.
As good as “All Fall Down” may have been, “See How They Run” was a much better book! The mystery was so much fun and did not seem predictable, and all of Ally Carter’s characters and their adventures were even better in this book! I thought that the mystery Ally Carter wrote into “See How They Run” was interesting and it kept me reading quickly, and I definitely did not expect that kind of ending! It was getting down to the last few pages and the mystery Grace and her friends had been working on was still unsolved, and then, on the last three pages, the big reveal came. It was one of those endings that you reread two or three times and end up thinking about how long the wait for the next book is going to be.
I was mildly stunned at first, and then it set in that there would be no more Alexei until the next book came out!
Overall, I really enjoyed “See How They Run”! It was a fun and fast-paced read, and I loved getting to know all of Ally’s new characters better. I just wish that I didn’t have to wait so long for the next book to come out…*sits here and waits*