New Review: The Fall by Bethany Griffin

Title: The Fall
Author: Bethany Griffin
Rating: ★★★★

The Fall

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.

If you’d like to read The Fall, you can purchase it here:
Barnes and Noble

Thank you to Edelweiss and Greenwillow Books for an advanced copy of the novel in exchange for an honest review.

Review: Dance of the Red Death by Bethany Griffin

Title: Dance of the Red Death
Author: Bethany Griffin
Series: Masque of the Red Death
Rating: ★★★★

I’ve been waiting a while for Dance of the Red Death, so when I was given an early copy, I was ecstatic to start reading. The dark tones of Masque of the Red Death were different that the other books I had read before and I found I really enjoyed it. Dance of the Red Death has those same dark tones, but sprinkled in with a little bit of hope.

Dance of the Red Death picks up right at the end of Masque of the Red Death. They are on the airship, trying to escape the city as it falls into chaos. April has been infected with the contagion, Araby’s got a horrible shoulder wound, and the tension between the conflicting parties is thick enough to feel choking. Araby has agreed to be with Elliot in order to give him a better appearance, but things are getting confusing between them. On top of that, Araby isn’t sure what her feelings toward Will are and she doesn’t know what to do about their relationship.

Araby is a strong character. She doesn’t let things stand in her way and finds creative ways to get around obstacles. She’s not self-sacrificing in the superficial way a lot of heroines in today’s Young Adult books are. She thinks her choices through and figures out which option is best for her and everyone involved. She knows how to be a part of a team and that sometimes strength is in numbers.

Elliot and Will are two very differing boys. Will takes a bit of a quiet, more backseat role for part of this book, and I think that works well for his and Araby’s relationship. He knows and understands that Araby doesn’t quite trust him anymore after what he did, and he knows that beyond apologizing, the only thing the can do is prove to her through actions that he is there for her. Elliot is the leader, he wants to take control of the city and fix it. At times, it was hard to know if he really cared for Araby or if he only liked the contentedness she brought with her. I enjoyed how this love triangle played out. This is how they should be done; each boy with his own merits, but not openly competing like children.

The actual story was fantastic as well. The contagion is spreading, but so is the new disease called the Red Death. Araby and company know they must do something to try and heal the city, and they know that means getting rid of Prince Prospero and cleaning the city’s water. Prospero won’t go down without a fight, and without any idea of if the water filtration system is even real, Araby and company are fighting against the odds.

Dance of the Red Death is a stunning conclusion to Griffin’s reworking of Edgar Allen Poe’s Masque of the Red Death that left me feeling happy and hopeful. It is a bit of a darker toned book, but don’t let that stop you from reading the series. It’s imaginative and fantastic and well worth a read.

If you think Dance of the Red Death is your kind of book, you can purchase it here:
Barnes and Noble

Thank you to Edelweiss and Greenwillow Books for an advanced copy of the novel in exchange for an honest review.

Masque of the Red Death by Bethany Griffin

I’m having a difficult time with this review. Not because the book was bad or problematic, but rather because it was good. I wasn’t all that excited about reading this book. It hadn’t really been on my radar and it just didn’t seem like the kind of book I’d fall into and love. I bought it because it was on sale, and I read it because I was waiting for other things to be published.

Why am I telling you how reluctant I was to read Masque of the Red Death? So that you don’t make the same mistake I did. You need to get this book, sit down, and just read. You’ll thank me for it later.

Araby is living a guilty life. Alive, but not really living. At first, I was confused as to why she was the one that got involved with everything happening in the book. She isn’t the bravest or the strongest or the smartest character I’ve ever read. She didn’t have that special something. But then I realized that was why she was involved. Because she was normal. She was in the right place at the right time and had something necessary. Her importance isn’t apparent at first. But as you read, you’ll discover that despite all her faults, there’s a reason people need her like they do.

The love triangle. One of the things I dread the most on Young Adult novels. They usually annoy me because they become more important than everything else in the novel, instead of acting as a tool to help build the strength of the story. Not in Masque of the Red Death. Yes it’s there, but it doesn’t take over the story. Neither guy is completely perfect and I question both their motives. I’m not sure I trust either one, but I like that. It adds more mystery to the novel and more confusion.

Masque of the Red Death is a dark, edgy book that draws you in and won’t let go. It wraps around your mind until you can’t resist and then it seeps into your blood, making sure to bring you right into the story. It’s a fantastic read and I can’t wait for the next book.