Publishing Info: October 7, 2014 by HarperCollins
Genres: Horror, Paranormal, Retelling, Young Adult
Find it on the web: Buy from Amazon // GoodreadsDate Completed: September 28, 2014
Related Posts: The Fall
Madeline Usher is doomed.
She has spent her life fighting fate, and she thought she was succeeding. Until she woke up in a coffin.
Ushers die young. Ushers are cursed. Ushers can never leave their house, a house that haunts and is haunted, a house that almost seems to have a mind of its own. Madeline’s life—revealed through short bursts of memory—has hinged around her desperate plan to escape, to save herself and her brother. Her only chance lies in destroying the house.
In the end, can Madeline keep her own sanity and bring the house down? The Fall is a literary psychological thriller, reimagining Edgar Allan Poe’s classic The Fall of the House of Usher.
I’ve actually read very few original Edgar Allan Poe stories but when I was looking for a good, creepy Halloween read, I immediately turned to THE FALL, a retelling of Poe’s The Fall of the House of Usher, for a good book with just the right amount of scary for me. See, I’m a total chicken when it comes to the scary. I like creepy, but I don’t like my books (or movies or TV shows) to be too scary. Fortunately, Bethany Griffin’s THE FALL was just the perfect mix for me!
I actually can’t really compare too much to the original Poe tale since I haven’t read it, but upon finishing, I definitely wanted to! The book revolves around Madeline Usher and her family. The chapters are quite short and each one details a different point in Madeline’s life from her childhood all the way through teenage years, meeting up with the “present-day” story line in the novel. Sometimes it’s hard to jump around from age to age, but I think just focusing on Madeline and not having a second point of view in the mix really helped and I also found it really interesting to slowly get the pieces of how the family curse worked, how it affected Madeline and her family, and getting that information in a strategic way. I’m always impressed when authors are able to manipulate a timeline like that to remove things from chronological order in order to maintain a mystery.
At times, the short chapters seemed like both a blessing and a curse. I really like short chapters because especially during times when I don’t have a ton of time to read, the short chapters really help me feel like I’m making progress with a book. At the same time, having so many chapters did make me feel like I was progressing really quickly and then it came as a surprise how much of the book I really had left. I’m not saying I would have done it differently but it was definitely something that I was aware of while reading.
I think the reason THE FALL worked so well for me as a good, creepy book was how much the actual house itself was involved in the story. I am not a ghost person. I don’t handle ghost stories well because they’re just too real and I always get a little too creeped out. There were ghosts in THE FALL, but really the culprit behind all of the actions — and actually part of the reason why the ghosts are even present — is the house itself. There’s more to the curse and the explanation as to why, but that’s more for the reader to experience! Anyway… I just really enjoyed how the house was its own character. It had its own reasoning, a sense of feeling, and it interacted with the other characters. I loved its daunting presence and exactly how big of a role it played in the book.
The other characters were fascinating as well. Madeline was a very interesting character, being the main point of view as well as the “favorite of the house” so she had the most insight to the curse and everything that went on in the book. The interactions of the other characters and the house was really interesting as well. I was totally sucked in, analyzing exactly how the curse affected each person in turn and how the house chose to manipulate each of them.
Pretty much everything about this book worked for me! It was such a perfectly dark and spooky book with a fantastic gothic-horror feel and such a great horror read for a person like me who doesn’t like being scared pantless. I was still able to totally enjoy it without getting so scared that I wanted to stop reading and yet it never felt like anything was really missing either. It was really just a great balance for me and one I’d recommend for a creepy read!
“The View from Goodreads” is a new featured section in my reviews that I decided to incorporate! I tend to update my Goodreads status a LOT when I read — reactions, feelings, notes — so I thought it would be fun to share the sort of “reading process”! All status updates are spoiler-free (no specific plot points will be revealed) but will contain reactions to certain pages and/or characters!
Madeline // Character Obsessions: The House of Usher, mysteries, family, her brother.
I really liked Madeline’s character! I remember feeling a few twinges of “hmmm” while reading, but I admired her determination to fight and figure out exactly what was going on with her family’s curse and trying to survive it. The family traditionally died young, had weird illnesses, and often fell victim to the curse in many ways so it was really interesting to see Madeline go through the same things and at the same time, try to fight it.
Kept Me Hooked On: Horror. I am not a horror person but I really enjoyed this book! A big thank you to Bethany Griffin for just the perfect amount of scary for a scaredy cat like me!
Left Me Wanting More: From secondary characters. There were plenty of secondary characters in this book but I guess the only thing I could say is that I wish I had felt a bit more connected to them. I actually think the house is the most important character after Madeline so the other characters felt a little pushed to the side (and actually, saying it like that seems totally reasonable considering how the book went! The house really did push them to the side…) but I did want to feel just a bit more connected to some of them.
I really enjoyed this one and I hope others do too! If you’ve read the original story from Poe, I’d love to hear what you think of it as a retelling! I think I’ll have to go read the original now so I can compare and be even more delightfully creeped out!
BOOKS LIKE THE FALL
(Click the cover to see my review!)
9 thoughts on “The Fall – Bethany Griffin”
I did read Poe’s story a loooong time ago. I don’t really remember a lot of details, but I do remember the story puzzled me. I didn’re really understand it.
This retelling sound sso very intersting. Thanks so much for sharing it. I think I’m going to hunti it down 😉
I love the book I could not put it down. The one thing I didn’t like was how she ended it. I’m trying to find out if there is a sequel but I have not been able to find anything. I hope there is a sequel because there are so many ways of adding on I mean Madeline , Roderick and Noah could make it out of the house and move to the city. Noah and Madeline could fall in love and have a child but then the house comes back and finds the child and draws the child to where the house used to be and when Madeline and Roderick and Noah realize where the child went they go back to the house only to find out that the child has already been affected by the house and they have to figure out a way to save the child.
I really liked Bethany Griffin’s spin on Poe’s “Masque of the Red Death,” and THE FALL looks pretty awesome as well. I’m happy to see that it didn’t disappoint. Also, I love your View from Goodreads feature – pretty cunning!
I don’t know if I will ever read this because I tend to avoid all creepy/spooky if I can help it but I think it is cool that it is based on a Poe story and it sounds like a good October read! I’m glad you liked it!
I love that you included your goodreads progress! such a good idea. This sounds like it would be just the right amount of spooky for me. 🙂 I’m a wimp!
I get scared easily. I’m glad it’s just the right amount of scary. It sounds intriguing!
I don’t love horror but I do love this author! I adored her other series and have read it and re-read it, but for some reason I neglected this one. I think it was because the cover is so creepy! I should read it, though!
After watching The Following, I am totally creeped out by anything related to Poe, so I know this one will scare me, but I’m glad to hear it’s not toooo scary!
Oh I will definitely check it out! I’m on the lookout for good spooky books to add horror to the genres of books that I enjoy… Great review… Looking forward to more by you 🙂
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