Book Review: Take The Key and Lock Her Up By Ally Carter
WOWZA I can't believe that the Embassy Row series is now coming to an end! I am a long time Ally Carter fan and it feels like just yesterday that the Gallagher Girls series ended. In reality though that was about four years ago! I can't believe how time flies!
Ally Carter is great at writing stories with sisterhoods, amazing friendships, swoon worthy boys and really smart execution. Take The Key and Lock Her Up was no exception to this! We got answers to questions I didn't even know I wanted. As well as the reveal of a not-so-friendly-after-all character, which TOTALLY threw me for a loop!
Lets be real, See How They Run left us off with a pretty big cliffhanger. We had no idea what was going to happen to Grace, Alexei, and most notably, Jamie! I really enjoyed how Ally Carter created a believable situation in one what seems really crazy on the page! There was no instantaneous healing or magical plot solutions and that's something I've really come to appreciate as a reader. Ally never gives her characters an easy out. She always, ALWAYS invents incredibly smart (sometimes insane), but wholly engrossing ways for her characters to find their solutions! There were so many awesome plot twists in this book and I kept thinking "how on EARTH is she going to get Grace out of this one??". Yet Ally masterfully blew my mind every time.
Another thing that I love in not only this book, but the series as a whole is how Ally treats Grace's anxiety and trauma. In so many books that I've read lately we find that the heroine who is magically fixed of her problems by falling in love or instantaneously growing out of said problems as the going gets tough. But Grace never loses her anxiety. She battles with it throughout all three books and even here in the last book there are times when it threatens to overwhelm her, but she deals with it as best she can and has an awesome support group. This, to me, is a real and responsible way to acknowledge and write anxiety and mental health issues and I so appreciate it done in a believable and constructive way.
Another thing that Ally has always been great at is never letting a romance get in the way of the actually story. I also appreciated this in the Gallagher Girls series with Cammie and Zach as well as in Heist Society with Kat and Hale. There is always so much more going on in Ally's books that, though the relationships are there, they never overpower the actual story. They are like little easter eggs for all of us who ship Grace and Alexei, but it never overshadows the fact that, oh yeah, these kids are totally fighting for their lives and country! But don't you worry, this book has more Grace and Alexei than they other two and you will looove it!
My singular criticism of the book was at the end *HUGE SPOILER ALERT* when they had Ann committed. I understand that she did a whole lot of horrible things, but for some reason this still didn't sit very well with me. Maybe it was because Grace, Alexei, and Ms. Chancellor were the ones having her committed and not Ann's actual family. Or maybe it was her begging and not being heard. That part just reminded me a lot of what Grace went through herself and was something that really triggered Grace when they freed Karina. I know Grace said that she'd get her revenge and all, but this felt a bit off to me.
All in all, I really enjoyed this series and can't wait until Ally's next one! She truly never disappoints and has remained one of my favorite YA authors since I was in 7th grade. She is one author that has absolutely withstood the test of time for me and I appreciate the consistency and talent that goes along with crafting her books.