I received this book for free from Publisher in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.The Fall by Bethany Griffin
Published by Greenwillow Books on October 7th 2014
Genres: Horror, Young Adult
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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.
“What. Just. Happened.” I said to myself, about every chapter or so. The book gave me no answers. So, what happened? Who knows! Well, that’s not entirely true. If you’re familiar with the original, you might be able to keep up with this book. If you’re not, you’ll probably end up as crazy as the main character. It made me question my sanity for sure. I started to wonder if I was still hangover from New Year’s Eve or if I was just reading a really confusing 400+ page book. Probably both.
The Fall is a very difficult book to review. Even though the writing is atmospheric and exquisite, I have no idea what I read. Let’s take a second to understand why I’m so confused:
What I know about this book:
– It takes place in a creepy house and it follows the story of Madeline and her twin brother Roderick.
– 420 page YA retelling of Edgar Allan Poe’s The Fall of the House of Usher
– 147 chapters (for real)
– I sorta kinda liked it.
What I don’t know about this book:
– EVERYTHING ELSE
I think one of the biggest issues with this book is the way it is organized. You get bits and pieces of Madeline’s life and excerpts of a diary—all mix together in a very random way. Nothing ever made sense. I’m not even entirely sure what happened in the last chapter. I am THAT confused. Even though I’m a huge fan of Edgar Allan Poe (which is why I had to read this book), The Fall of the House of Usher is not one of my favorites. I don’t think there’s a lot to work with so I am amazed that the retelling is so long. It doesn’t make a lot of sense to expand a short story into a very long novel. Maybe that’s why I feel like nothing really happened.
Even though I was beyond confused and frustrated, I couldn’t stop reading. I loved the writing and the way the house was treated like character. The story itself is not terrifying but the way everything is written makes Madeline’s delusions and the way everyone responds to the house feel extremely creepy. There’s something about this book that grips you, which is likely due to Griffin’s descriptive writing. I’ve never been so on the fence about a book before so The Fall deserves a reread. In the meantime, I think you should read it so we can discuss. And…go!
I agree with both your issue with the book with the timeline and with liking the creepy factor. I was not familiar with the Fall of the House of Usher going in so it was a different experience. I read the original immediately after finishing. I was still totally creeped out by that house and I loved the personality she gave to it.
I could have done without the time switching I think, but it did definitely build up the drama I suppose.
Amanda recently posted…Review (and Giveaway!): Dirty Chick
I love that you read the original after this one! Reading both of them is important to get the full experience 😀
I got this for Christmas and I’m looking forward to checking it out – I definitely keep your review in mind though. I’ve always been a fan of Poe, so it’ll be interesting to see what happens in this retelling.
Lauren recently posted…Pegasus by Danielle Steel – Review
Yay, a fellow Poe fan! I hope you enjoy it!
HAHAHA! I’ve had this feeling before. You read a book enjoying the writing, but leave it completely fucking confused.
Brigid recently posted…Waiting On Wednesday: The Vanishing Throne by Elizabeth May
Hahaha I don’t know if I love or hate that feeling!
Hmmm. I’ve never read TFotHoU. It’s good to know that you really should be familiar with the original story first before diving into this one. Do they mentione on the jacket copy that it’s based on Poe’s work?
looloolooweez recently posted…Book Review | We Are Pirates by Daniel Handler
I don’t think it does! But I’m pretty sure it says so online 🙂
Wow, sounds like maybe you just read it for the descriptive language? 😀 Glad of the review though! I don’t generally read horror stuff.