Monday, September 1, 2014

Review: The Fall by Bethany Griffin

Goodreads Summary:

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.

Publication Date: October 7, 2014

A Poe retelling? A cursed family? An unreliable narrator? The Fall was a book I knew I was going to love. Griffin didn’t disappoint and I ended up loving The Fall more so than her previous retelling of The Masque of the Red Death.

I was familiar with The Fall of the House of Usher and I was curious to see what direction Griffin would take the story. Since Madeline is such a mystery in the short story, I was glad The Fall was written from her POV. But Madeline is a victim of the Usher curse and the reader never can fully distinguish if Madeline is telling the truth or if she is succumbing to the madness that has affected her family for generations.

I love haunted house books and I really took to the idea of the ancestral home being a malevolent being. The plot jumped around from the past to the present as Madeline tried to unravel the mysteries surrounding the house and plotting out ways to break the curse. I didn’t feel lost during the time jumps and I found the plot moved at a good pace.

The secondary characters were well developed. Many of the character’s intentions were hard to decipher, so I liked trying to figure out who was good and who was evil. Madeline’s suffering was hard to read about at times, since she becomes a victim of not only the house, but also is treated cruelty by her mother and the doctors who are brought to study the family’s strange illness. My only complaint is I would’ve liked more of Roderick in the second half of the novel and to see more of the twins’ interactions to fully understand their complication relationship.

Although I read Poe’s story, Griffin added in her own twists and turns. The climax was a nail-biter and I thought the conclusion was solid. There were a few unanswered questions, but I think the reader is supposed to figure out on their own what had happened. Overall, I loved the gothic feel of the YA novel and I hope Griffin continues to write more Poe retellings in the future.

Rating: 5/5 Stars

Thanks to the publisher for a copy for review! 


  1. Wow! It sounds really interesting, honestly. I am a huge Edgar Allan Poe fan, too. :)

  2. Whoa. You got two in a row :) Awesome. This sounds like an awesome book. Fantastic review, Heather! WRITE ON!