Book Review: The Fall
By: Bethany Griffin
Published By: Greenwillow Books
Publication Date: October 7, 2014
Page Count: 400
Source: ARC Kindly Provided by Publisher via NetGalley
Audience: Young Adult - Gothic, Poe Inspired
"The Fall of the House of Usher" has always been my favorite of Poe's stories. I have been excited to read this one. This was my first experience with Bethany Griffin's writing, but I enjoyed it. It was interesting to see an old favorite unfold in a new way. Finally Madeline Usher has a voice and she drives the story.
Like the original, this story is saturated with gothic horror. There were moments when chills danced up my spine and I reached for a light. This one also will play some wicked tricks on your mind. My dreams were restless while reading this one. I found it to be deliciously creepy. The mood of this novel would have made Poe proud.
While I enjoyed this one, it did take some time to get used to the complexity of the narrative. Each chapter features a scene from Madeline's life, but the timeline bounces between Madeline as a child, Madeline as a pre-teen, and moments in her present. Once I settled into this narration style, I found it to be a creative way to allow the story to unfold. Prepare to battle the confusion in the beginning - the payoff is worth it. The style truly sets this novel apart from other gothic retellings in YA.
One of my biggest complaints was the pace. The scenes did allow me to understand Madeline better, but things felt slow for a majority of the novel. There was a tremendous sense of foreboding that lingered, but it took forever for the real action to begin. I loved trying to unravel the complicated twists and turns Griffin planted.
The Fall is a perfect autumn read. I highly recommend grabbing a pumpkin latte and curling up with this one. You're in for a gothic treat.
One Last Gripe: My only major complaint was mentioned in the review - the slowness of some segments.
Favorite Thing About This Book: I always enjoy seeing characters previously denied a voice who are given their chance to tell their side of things.
First Sentence: The first thing I notice is that my blanket is gone.
Favorite Character: Madeline
Least Favorite Character: Madeline's mother
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.