Review: The Fall by Bethany Griffin

22 January, 2015 Reviews 9 comments

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.

Review: The Fall by Bethany GriffinThe Fall by Bethany Griffin
Series: Standalone
Published by Greenwillow Books on October 7th 2014
Pages: 420
Genres: Horror, Young Adult
Format: Hardcover
Source: Publisher
Amazon Good BooksBook Depository

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:


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!

Paola Carolina

Paola Carolina

Reviewer at Cuddlebuggery
Anglophile, bookworm, and occasional fangirl. Find me on Goodreads.

9 Responses to “Review: The Fall by Bethany Griffin”

  1. Amanda

    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.
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