I received a copy of this book from the publishers in exchange for an honest review.
After placing All Fall Down in my Top 15 Books of 2015 list, See How They Run has been one of my most anticipated reads of 2016. Because of this, I partly put the blame on myself for hyping this book up so much. The reality was bound not to meet my expectations. Normally, Ally Carter’s books are a definite fave for me, but See How They Run wasn’t what I thought, or wanted, it to be. Here’s why…
P L O T & P A C I N G
Following the shocking twist at the end of All Fall Down, when Grace’s crumbling mental health is finally given an explanation, and the Scarred Man, who’d been haunting her every move is not quite so threatening, See How They Run starts with Grace being given an explanation of the society in which she lives, and all it’s secrets.
Later, her brother comes to Adria to see her with a mysterious and handsome friend, who has a terrible accident, which Grace’s love interest Alexei, is involved with. This conflict sparks the main plot point for the novel, as the gang must try and clear Alexei from the crime scene’s suspect list.
It all sounds rather thrilling, but by the time the plot starts to pick up, you’re all ready 40% through. The book was slow, sometimes laboured and didn’t get a clear direction until the final quarter. Second book syndrome to the max, I’d say!
C H A R A C T E R
Grace was cool. I liked her as much as I liked Cammie and Kat. But, in See How They Run, I started to see all of her flaws. She was so melodramatic and whiney, unwilling to let anyone help her and couldn’t see how people were trying to protect her for her own good. Overall, she felt extremely ungrateful towards her family, who knew how fragile she was.
Taking the events of book one in to account was fine the first time, but having to remind the reader of how tortured she was every few pages was just insane! The point was driven home with a little too much force.
Alexei was the guy I really liked in All Fall Down. Ally Carter is very good at writing mysterious love interests, but I wish their relationship had progressed more. I’m done with the non-consequential flirting. I need honesty and romance. Of course, it didn’t really fit with the tone of the novel, but their relationship read more like brother and sister rather than a potential couple. Alexei still had all the charm of book one, but I needed more.
The rest of the gang, Noah, Rosie and Lila, felt a little abandoned in this book. Their personality traits were generic, ‘the funny one’, ‘the cute one’ and ‘the mean one. I don’t have a problem with that (heck, it’s what all my own characters are like) but it’s not satisfying for a second book. There needs to be more character development and backstory given to them, as well as the world.
G E N R E
Maybe the true flaw of See How They Run was that it was trying to do too much. As I said, I couldn’t figure out the direction of the plot and that really stopped me from truly enjoying it. More effort was put into explaining Embassy Row, which I appreciated, but I had a general sense of confusion over how it was all going to fit together.
The revelation at the end of the novel, however, did intrigue me for the third book. I hope it’s a trilogy, and everything comes to fruition by the end. Until then, I’m not going to condemn the series, because there’s a lot of potential to be grasped. Grace needs to get her act together first.
V E R D I C T
I’m giving this 2 stars, because, sadly, it wasn’t what I wanted from the second book. Second books are hard, especially if the first one is excellent. I can only hope the next book will save the series’ reputation in my eyes!