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What: Take the Key and Lock Her Up (Embassy Row #3) by Ally Carter

Who: Scholastic Australia

When: February 1st 2017

How: A copy of this novel was provided by Scholastic Australia for review.

The princess is dead. Long live the princess.

Centuries ago, the royal family of Adria was killed…or so everyone thought.

Now Grace Blakely knows the truth: There was one survivor, and that survivor’s blood runs through her veins. This simple fact could cause a revolution—which is why some people will stop at nothing to keep it from coming to light.

There is only one way for Grace to save herself, save her family, and save the boy she loves. She must outmaneuver her foes, cut through the web of lies that has surrounded her for years, and go back to the source of all her troubles, despite the risk.

If she wins, she will inherit a throne.

And if she loses, she will inherit the fate of all the dead princesses who came before her.

After really loving both the first two books in this series I was incredibly keen on finally seeing how Grace’s story came to a close in Take the Key and Lock Her Up. Unfortunately, it didn’t quite live up to the previous Embassy Row books.

For one thing, Take the Key and Lock Her Up felt like it was rehashing a lot of the things that we already knew about Grace – like her mental health, the death of her mother, etc. So I felt like these insights were repetitive because most aspects of Grace’s life pre-Embassy Row had already been thoroughly explored in the first two books.

One of the aspects that I loved the most about All Fall Down and See How They Run was the mystery/thriller tone to the story. There were always people that you weren’t sure that Grace could trust, there were murders, and there were secret meetings. All those lovely things that give a book that sense of ‘what’s going to happen?’ Sadly, a lot of that was missing in this book. There were some moments of questionable trust regarding a few characters but overall you knew who was evil and who was pulling the strings. I sorely missed the mystery/thriller aspect in Take the Key and Lock Her Up.

I WANTED MORE ALEXEI. I love his character, and I love Grace when she’s with him, so there needed to be at least twice as much Alexei page time than there actually was. As for the shipping aspect, there was just too much angst and drama between Grace and Alexei in this book when all I wanted was for them to be happily in love.

When I was close to the end it was definitely one of those moments where I wondered how everything was going to be tied up in the way I wanted it to be tied up. And everything did pretty much turn out the way I wanted to, but it all felt a little rushed to me, especially considering some of the BIG things that happened in such a short time.

Speaking of the end … I wanted more about characters other than Grace. I wanted to know how Noah was doing, and all of the other Embassy Row kids. There was hardly any ending given to those characters which was a bit of a letdown because I ended up caring about them quite a bit.

Now I know that it seems I didn’t like Take the Key and Lock Her Up very much, but I did enjoy it! I still liked Grace as a character, the writing style was engaging, the romance was lovely, and the plot was intriguing. It was certainly a solid conclusion to the Embassy Row trilogy, but I just felt like it was missing that extra spark that made me fall in love with the series to begin with.

© 2017, Chiara @ Books for a Delicate Eternity. All rights reserved.

trigger warning: attempted murder, reference to manslaughter of mother, abduction, forced incarceration of parent (psychiatric hospital), reference to attempted murder of brother, and hostage situation in this novel

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Posted on: March 17, 2017 • By: Chiara

12 Responses to Take the Key and Lock Her Up by Ally Carter: A Solid Series Finale

  1. I’m glad to hear you enjoyed this one overall – and the series in general – but sorry it felt a bit repetitive and was missing some of what you really loved in the first two! Thanks for sharing your thoughts, as always. :)


    • Chiara says:

      I’m glad I did, too! The repetitiveness did get on my nerves, but it was still worth the read to find out everything that happened. My pleasure :D

  2. I really enjoyed the first two books of this series but I don’t know if I’ll continue this because I can’t remember much from the previous two books!

  3. Amy Shaw says:

    I love how we always read this books close together! So my thoughts are pretty close to yours. There were parts I REALLY liked and parts I felt were a little lacking. But man, just when I was getting more and more on board with Grace and Alexi (because my shipping feels towards them have been gradual), she moves into the castle and I actually started liking the prince better than Alexi! Oops. I also thought the ending was a little rushed, and just a little too cruel. I mean, that woman was so awful but I don’t know, it was kind of terrible thing to do. But overall, this book did wrap things the series up pretty well.

    • Chiara says:

      It’s great! Yeah, I was not on board with the separation thing when it came to Alexei and Grace. It almost felt like a device to just make us wait longer for their happily ever after. The ending was definitely rushed, and I know what you mean about the terrible thing. It seemed so intense! I think it was a solid conclusion to the series for sure, but book one will always be my favourite.

  4. I totally agree that it felt a little repetitive at the start! I got a little bored of Grace mooning over everything again and again. Like, “I get it! Move on!” A majority of the book is so isolated on Grace that you miss out on the rest of the world and that bored me.

    I’m glad you enjoyed it!

    • Chiara says:

      Yeah, I felt like this one was a little too similar to book two for me to really fall in love with it. But overall it was still an enjoyable read, which was good :D

  5. Karen Blue says:

    I have heard a lot about this series. Glad to hear you mostly enjoyed it. Great review and thanks for keeping it spoiler free!

  6. Kenzie says:

    I loved ‘Take The Key And Lock Her Up’ it was intriguing but I have the same feelings as you. I would have loved a little more romance between Grace and Alexei though. I love Ally Carter’s books and I want to read more!

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