Book review | “See How They Run” by Ally Carter

See How They Run by Ally Carter | 4 stars @ The Unprinted Protagonist

See How They Run by Ally Carter | Review @ The Unprinted Protagonist

Title: “See How They Run”
Author: Ally Carter
Series: Embassy Row #2
Publisher: Scholastic
Release Date: Dec. 22, 2015
Genres: Young Adult, Contemporary, Mystery
Format: ebook
Length: 304 pages


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.

Bring on the international drama!

“See How They Run” picks up exactly where “All Fall Down” leaves off but veers off in a totally unexpected direction. The beginning is a little slow — the background info takes a lot of time to settle in — but it doesn’t take long for the drama to start up again.

While I was hoping for a book that focused only on the ancient secrets of Adria, I am more than happy with the way Ally Carter went about this book: lots of modern politics manipulated by an old society. (In case you’re wondering, yes, I am being intentionally vague to avoid spoilers.)

“History almost always repeats itself. And it is almost always written my men.”

The central conflict of “See How They Run” focuses on what I like to call “Cold War 2.0.” Relations between Russia and the United States strain even further as bombs are detonated, rumors are spread and nobody can be trusted. And — because this is Embassy Row — Grace and Alexei find themselves at the center of the drama. Every single move they make can mean international breaking news or death.

“See How They Run” has a darker, more dangerous, heart-pounding tone than any other Ally Carter book I’ve read before (except maybe “United We Spy”). It’s full of booby-trapped passages, murders (attempted and successful) and scary assassin ladies.

The cliffhanger at the end literally made me yelp. I had guessed the secret, but the final chapter still left me jaw-dropped and eager for more.

Alexei fans, rejoice!

If you and I are on the same page, you’ve been dying to learn more about a certain Russian boy-next-door since Ally Carter first tweeted that the love interest in her new series was named “Sexy Alexei.”

Quite a few holes in Alexei’s story are filled in “See How They Run.” We get an intriguing revelation about his mother ad learn more about his background. I particularly liked the tidbits about his friendship with Jamie.

This book provides a glimpse under the surface of overprotective-Alexei and reveals a boy who is brave, noble, loyal and cares deeply about Grace and Jamie. Alexei never shows weakness, but there are moments that reveal raw emotion: passion, jealousy, anger and even fear. A cold, emotionless Russian soldier this boy is not.

Bonus: He’s super kind and caring with Rosie, and calls her Rosemarie. It makes me melt inside.

 Neither Alexei nor Grace admit their mutual attraction, but Grace x Alexei shippers have tons of material to fangirl over. I’m talking about whispers in dark alleys, protecting each other, forehead touches and late-night swimming. The moments between them are emotionally charged and reveal a million unsaid things about their past and what they mean to each other now.

“I’m okay,” I say, to the boy and to the stars.
“I’ll be okay,” I say, praying it’s true.

Fantastic characters, new and old

Grace —  I love Grace as a protagonist. She’s strong-willed, brave and snarky. However, it can be difficult being inside her head at times. Her thoughts constantly drift back to “I’m crazy” or “I’m a terrible person,” and — in addition to being repetitive — gets in the way of my understanding of the plot and of Grace as a character. In the next Embassy Row book, I hope to see Grace overcome those self-destructive thoughts.

Alexei — *see section titled “Alexei fans, rejoice!”*

Rosie, Megan and Noah — The gang’s all here and just as awesome — if not more so — than they were in “All Fall Down.” Their interactions are still hilarious, full of banter and teasing (mostly at Noah’s expense).

Lila — Lila seems to be the Macey of Embassy Row. In the first book, she came across as a total Regina George, but when Grace and Lila get forced together a different side of her comes out. I’m still suspicious, but I know she’ll never do anything to betray her brother, Noah.

Jamie — Throughout the entirety of “See How They Run,” I was torn between wanting to hug Jamie or punch him. He cares so much about Grace and would do anything to protect her, but — most likely because I was reading from Grace’s perspective — he can be overprotective. Like Grace, he is So. Damn. Stubborn. He was such a jerk to Alexei despite the fact that Alexei is his best friend. It took so long for them to make up. I wanted to scream, “JUST BRO-HUG AND MAKE UP! YOU ARE BEING RIDICULOUS!” I can’t wait to see more of Jamie and Grace’s sibling dynamic, and the renewed friendship between Jamie and Alexei. They are my Brotp.

Spence — This guy gave off sketchy vibes from the beginning. He’s an intriguing character, especially as the story progresses, but he rubs me the wrong way. I’m glad he got punched in the face.

Dominic — Not quite Joe Solomon level. But he’s pretty awesome. Mysterious, protective, able to kill a man with his bare hands and make him disappear. Yep. I like him.

Bottom line

“See How They Run” is everything I could want from an Ally Carter sequel, plot-wise: dark, dangerous and full of international drama. The ending left me desperately begging for the series finale.

There wasn’t as much Grace development as I’d hoped for, but I love the addition of Jamie to the Embassy Row cast. The character development of Lila and Dominic are heading towards a path that is very familiar for Gallagher Girls fans, and I am totally O.K. with that. But my favorite development of this book is the focus on Alexei.

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