Death is no stranger to the royal family of Adria. Centuries ago, the royal family was murdered, which changed the political landscape of Adri. However, the infant princess survived and was hidden; those who hid the child wanted her to take her rightful place as queen. Now, two hundred years later, there are still some that believe the princess’ descendent should sit on the throne.
Grace discovers that the princess’s blood runs through her veins. If people find out that Grace is a lost princess, the news could spark a revolution. Some people want to use Grace as a pawn, others want to silence her forever. Grace must figure out a way to save herself and the people she loves. Danger and deceit hide around every corner, and if Grace fails, she will pay with her life.
Take the Key and Lock Her Up is the exciting conclusion to the Embassy Row trilogy. The third book in the series ramps up the suspense because Grace isn’t sure who wants to help her and who wants to kill her. The romance heats up, but the kissing scenes are tame and appropriate for younger readers. Even though the book is written for readers as young as twelve, there are some readers that will not be ready for the more mature themes. For younger readers, the content may be disturbing because there are several scenes that focus on a mental institution and how the drugs affect the patients. In addition, Take the Key and Lock Her Up has more violence than the first two books because there are several factions that want Grace dead. The ending of the story is a bit predictable, but that doesn’t detract from the story’s enjoyment.
- Grace and Alexei kiss five times throughout the story. The first time, Grace brings “my free hand up and weave my fingers into Alexei’s dark hair, pull him close, and kiss him. Like maybe it’s the last thing I’ll ever do.”
- Alexei kisses Grace. “. . . Alexei’s lips are on mine, and I’m not aware of anything anymore. It’s different from the kiss on the bridge. There’s no urgency now. . . This is about now—right now. No future and no past.”
- Alexei and Grace kiss. “. . . His lips are on mine and my fingers are in his hair and everything fades away, the streets and the darkness. . .”
- After Grace is drugged and taken to an unknown location, she escapes. “I just pick up the candlestick and throw it over my head as hard as I can . . . I can hear the chaos behind me, cries of pain and fury and fear.”
- Someone is trying to capture Grace. In order to help her, Alexei throws a man over a bridge.
- When a man tries to grab Grace, Alexei fights him. Grace watches “him twist, launching himself over the bigger man, and in a flash Alexei has his arms around his neck and he’s squeezing . . . The orderly slumps as Alexei cuts off his . .” At the same time, an orderly tries to drug Grace, and she throws her “hands up, catching his wrist with both hands, pressing up as he presses down.” She makes the man put the syringe in his own leg, and she and Alexei are able to escape.
- Grace’s friends blow up a car. “Flaming debris fills the yard. Windshields are smashed. Tires are flattened.” No one is injured.
- For no reason, a woman attacks the prince. She “slaps him hard across the face and starts kicking and clawing.” Several people pull her off of him.
- Someone poisons the king, and he “pitches awkwardly forward and crashes down the massive staircase. . . (he) has landed, limp and broken, on the polished parquet floor.”
- When Grace discovers a secret, someone hits her, knocking her out. Later, this person shoots a man in the chest, “and he drops to the ground.”
- When a woman attacks Grace, her son shoots her. “The gun is tumbling from his hand as his mother crumbles, blood-soaked, to the floor.” The woman survives.
Drugs and Alcohol
- Grace drugs someone’s tea. When Grace drugs the person, “she slumps slowly to the ground, getting mud and grass stains all over her pretty white suit.”
- A guard drugs Grace. When it happens, she feels “a pinch in my neck. I turn to see a guard behind me holding a syringe.”
- While walking down the street, Grace passes some drunk people and goes by a café where people are drinking wine.
- Alexei’s mother was in a mental institution, where she was prescribed drugs. Grace thinks, “I don’t know what they were giving her at that facility, but I can imagine. I know better than anyone that the medicine can be far worse than the disease.”
- A woman is put in a mental intuition where she is given a vial of medication. Grace thinks that the medicine is “supposed to feel like peace, like bliss. But to me they always felt like your heart was covered with frostbite. They made me so numb I actually burned.”