Title: The Fall
Author: Bethany Griffin
I will admit to not knowing of Edgar Allan Poe’s “The Fall of the House of Usher” before getting this book. So I looked the story up and read it. And became thoroughly creeped out. And then I picked up Griffin’s story. And got the chills.
The Fall of the House of Usher makes up only a portion of The Fall. Griffin takes Poe’s story and expands on it, turning it into a novel about growing up in a house that makes you crazy. I even felt a little off while reading it. Madeline was born in the house, grew up in the house, and understands that the house will eventually destroy her. Generations before her have gone mad, the house pushing them to insanity and death. Madeline and her brother Roderick are next. Roderick was sent away to school with the hope that keeping him away from the house will keep the curse from harming in.
This causes Madeline to face the brunt of the house’s feelings. The house feels heavy. It feels cursed. But the house also protects Madeline and gives her a dog for a companion. Growing up, her feelings about the house aren’t completely black and white. As the story progresses, it’s clear that the only hope for Madeline and Roderick to escape the curse is to destroy the house.
Through flashbacks, Madeline’s life story is told. I really felt for her. She didn’t have the same opportunities her brother had, and she was subjected fully to the house’s whims. She was lonely, aching for human companionship. Her brother is away at school, the doctors that live at the house only want to test her, and the only friend she’s ever had is a dog.
Based on the opening chapter, as well as Poe’s short story, you know where the story is going. But getting there is horror-filled and chill-inducing. Just reading about the house gives the feeling of heaviness and of evil. The history of death and insanity flows through every page and it honestly made me uncomfortable at times. I loved it.
The Fall is a fantastic paranormal horror novel. My only complaint is that sometimes the pacing didn’t feel right to me. However, this is definitely a good book to read if you want to get that creepy feeling. It’ll give you chills from first page to last.
Thank you to Edelweiss and Greenwillow Books for an advanced copy of the novel in exchange for an honest review.