Saturday, February 28, 2015

how perilous

I pre-ordered Ally Carter's new book All Fall Down: An Embassy Row Novel. When it arrived I couldn't remember who had told me to read it. Was it a John Green recommendation? A New York Times favorite? I can't remember. It is the first in a series of  YA political thrillers - not usually my style.

But I did like it, and I can see teens flocking to the strong-willed, rebellious heroine, Grace.

The book is set in an American Embassy in the fictional country of Adria. 
"On Embassy Row, the countries of the world stand like dominoes, and one wrong move can make them all fall."

One of my favorite parts of the book: 
We walk silently down the gallery, the portraits looming large over us - kings and queens still keeping a watchful eye over the land so many people had died for.
"What about them?" I ask, pointing to the only portrait in the room that shows an entire family.
"Oh, well, in many ways, they are our most famous royals." The prime minister laughs, but it is not a joyful sound. "That is King Alexander the Second, his wife, and their two sons. There was a daughter, too, but she was just a baby at the time - so young they hadn't even commissioned a portrait of her yet. Alexander ruled during a terrible famine. The wells were dry. The crops were dead. And almost the entire region was at war. The people were hungry and frightened, and they grew to distrust the monarchy. One night, the royal guard rebelled. They left their posts and threw open the gates. The people stormed the palace and dragged Alexander and his family from their beds."
"They were murdered?" I ask.
The prime minister nods grimly. "Power has always corrupted, my dear. Even the promise of power. It is a hard thing to look at through a fence for hundreds of years without wondering what it would be like on the other side."
"But Adria still has a royal family?" I say, confused.
"We do indeed," the prime minister says. "The great tragedy began what is known as the War of the Fortnight. In the end, the rebels surrendered and the king's brother took up the throne. The monarchy was restored - this time with a house of parliament and a prime minister." He gives a slight bow, as if the tale had conjured him out of magic.

I think I loved this part of the story because I had just read the book, The Family Romanov: Murder, Rebellion, and the Fall of Imperial Russia by Candace Fleming. And, I had just watched the Crash Course video on Iran's revolutions... and V is studying about the French Revolution and we were just discussing the Habsburg family. But, maybe I loved it the most for Grace's realization and following comment:
"I look back at the painting of the dead king and queen and the two little princes who were dragged from their beds. For the first time I realize how perilous peace can be. I appreciate the tightrope that my grandfather has spent his whole life trying to walk. And now, more than ever, I grow terrified that I am going to make us all fall down."

This is a great book for teens who like reading about political intrigue, exploring the idea of nationalism, and the illusion of power.

Two quotes to keep in mind as you read All Fall Down:
"Power is always dangerous. Power attracts the worst and corrupts the best."  - Edward  Abbey  
"Power corrupts, and absolute power corrupts absolutely." - Lord  Acton 
Get this book for the teens you know who are studying politics and revolution. Get it for those you know who love guarded secrets and surprising revelations.

No comments:

Post a Comment