Review of The Fall by Bethany Griffin

The FallThe Fall
By: Bethany Griffin
Release Date: October 7th 2014
Publisher: Greenwillow Books
Format: Hardcover
Source: Publisher

A copy of this book was provided by the publisher in exchange for an honest review.

My Rating:

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.

My Thoughts:
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.

Final Thoughts:
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.


  1. says

    I have been very intrigued by this book for quite a while and having an excuse to re-read some Poe is always welcome!
    Great review Kristen!

  2. says

    This one sounds definitely interesting! I’ll follow your advice and read the Poe’s story beforehand though, I’ve always wanted to try out something by this writer anyway 🙂
    Great review!

  3. says

    The shocking thing here should be the fact that I’ve never read any Poe. Poe’s not really enforced in Aus and I’ve never really sought any of his works out which is a shame because it seems like I’m missing out on a lot. I might read Poe’s Usher first before I take a crack into this one, just so I can see all the comparisons, you know? To be honest, I was a lot more drawn towards this book in October than I am now. I walked past this one today and just had no desire to pick it up D; It must be a seasonal thing. I’m curious about this non-linear element but am definitely worried that I’ll get confused. Hopefully not though! Lovely review, Kristen! x

  4. says

    Amazing review Kristen. <3 I'm glad you enjoyed this book 😀 But sorry you didn't love it, and had some issues with it 🙁 but I do understand. <3 though I did love it, hiih. But I get what you mean, still 🙂 I haven't read any Poe stories, but maybe someday 😀

    • says

      I felt the SAME way. I really have no clue about the ending. I thought I’d go back and reread at some point and try to figure it out :-/

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