A copy of this book was provided by the publisher in exchange for an honest review.
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.
First, the cover of The Fall is so creepy! I couldn’t help but be drawn to this book, especially in October. I found The Fall to be well done though it really wasn’t as scary as I wanted it to be. There were a few spots that gave me the shivers but overall it was more of a strange read than a scary one.
I have not read Edgar Allan Poe’s The Fall of the House of Usher in a long, long time so I had trouble recalling the details of the original this was based on. I think if I had reread the classic I would have found more enjoyment in this book. I felt like I was missing small details that would have enriched my reading experience. Taken as it was, with no regard to the story it was based on, it was still a good read though the ending confused me. I hate to admit it but I was very lost in the last few pages. I had to DM some friends to get their take on it. I will say that it makes me want to reread it and pay closer attention.
Griffin was very good at creating an intense and creepy atmosphere. I found her descriptions of the Usher house to be vivid and very easy to imagine. The house’s presence did feel like an additional character.
The Fall starts with a flash-back and this continues into the story. The chapter titles are Madeline’s age and the story unfolds in a non-linear way which adds to the confusing yet intriguing nature of the book. Since the story jumps from different time periods in Madeline’s life the reader gets to see her struggles and the toll the house and curse have taken on her. Though this storytelling method was confusing at times (I had to check back to the chapter headings a couple of times to verify which age she was at) I thought it was a successful method.
Because of the central theme of the family curse the Usher’s suffer from Madeline was an unreliable narrator. I never knew for certain what was a true account and what was only in Madeline’s mind. I loved this aspect of the story. I thought that Griffin was successful in still making her relatable and though we know she’s cursed I did feel that she might be the sanest person in the household.
If you can, brush up on Edgar Allan Poe’s story before diving into this one if you want to get all the details and references I’m confident Griffin threw into her version. Taken by itself, The Fall was still intriguing and gripping though I was confused a few times especially with the ending.