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The Fall

The Fall [Kindle Edition]

Bethany Griffin
3.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)

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Product Description

Book Description

For Madeline, the House of Usher is a nightmare to live in - but impossible to leave - in this brand new Gothic novel from Bethany Griffin, author of the Masque of the Red Death sequence.

Product Description

Madeline and her twin brother Roderick have the Usher name, the Usher house - and the Usher disease. Something is wrong with the family's blood - and it seems to have spread to the house itself. Sometimes Madeline even thinks that the house is alive... When Roderick is sent away to school, the house seems to want revenge on the one member of the Usher family left behind: Madeline herself.

A gorgeous, eerie, darkly Gothic tale, THE FALL is guaranteed to intrigue and enthrall its readers, winning legions of new fans for the talented Bethany Griffin. Perfect for fans of Laini Taylor, Becca Fitzpatrick and Cassandra Clare.

Product details

  • Format: Kindle Edition
  • File Size: 614 KB
  • Print Length: 432 pages
  • Publisher: Indigo (2 Oct 2014)
  • Sold by: Amazon Media EU S.à r.l.
  • Language: English
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Average Customer Review: 3.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #120,020 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews
3.0 out of 5 stars Okay story, but had it's slow moments 10 Oct 2014
By Sarah
Format:Kindle Edition
(Source: I received a digital copy of this book for free on a read-to-review basis. Thanks to HarperCollins and Edelweiss.)
Madeline and her twin brother Roderick live in a cursed house, and they wonder how long it will be until the house drives them to commit suicide.

This was certainly a haunting tale, but I found it a little hard to follow.

Madeline was a bit of a strange girl, but I did feel sorry for her. The way she was looked down upon while her brother was the golden boy wasn’t very fair, and that she should be stuck in a house and subject to a curse, while her brother was sent away to school also wasn’t very nice.

The storyline in this did have a bit of a creepy feel to it, but I personally wasn’t scared as such. I found the way the story jumped around – Madeline is 18, Madeline is 9, Madeline is 15, Madeline is 9, Madeline is 9, Madeline is 15, a bit confusing, and the fact that the curse wasn’t fully explained made this even more confusing. There were also some very strange statements from Madeline –
“I rest my hand against the wood – too long, because feelings seep into me that are not my own.”
And her father –
“The house is seductive, It reads our deepest desires.”
The pace in this also felt really slow. I wanted to know what was going on, but the story felt like it went on forever.

The ending to this was again hard to follow, but I think I worked out what happened!
Overall; did find this story enjoyable, but I didn’t appreciate the slow pace, jumpiness and confusion.
6 out of 10.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on (beta) 3.7 out of 5 stars  10 reviews
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Malevolence and Madness 7 Oct 2014
By Pop Bop - Published on
Format:Kindle Edition
Poe's "The Fall of the House of Usher" is a magnificently imagined and realized work, and richly deserves its status as a classic example of American Gothic literature. I must admit that when I began to read "Fall" I was predisposed to believe that there was little to be gained in revisiting the House of Usher as a novel, and I suspected that "Fall" would be mostly a wan retread, and perhaps a gimmicky one at that. Well, please excuse me for being such a superior little snot. "Fall" is a substantial and entertaining work that owes no apologies for its existence.

Ms. Griffin has pulled off the nearly impossible feat of expanding on Poe's story without diminishing it, and of maintaining the air of watchful, sinister and ambiguous malevolence that is one of the hallmarks of the original story.

The author has made one wise and fundamental change in the telling of the story. While the original tale was told by an anonymous narrator, the unnamed "childhood" friend of Roderick Usher, this book is narrated, more or less, from the point of view of Roderick's twin, Madeline. Some analysts question whether the Madeline in the original story even existed or was just a figment of Roderick's fevered imagination, and choosing to make her the central character in the novel allows the author to take on all of the trappings of the original, while adding new plot points and a fresh perspective. As a consequence we really do get a reimagined, or at least a "re-presented" Usher that is both faithful to the original and fresh and interesting.

But all of this sounds way too dry and academic. More to the point, this book is creepy, subtle and exceptionally well-written. It isn't in the minimalist style in which maybe two odd and disturbing things happen after four hundred pages. It isn't in a gory or blood-and-guts style. It's more like a psychological thriller, but there is a thrill or two on every page. All of the Ushers are mad. Everyone they interact with is mad. Every Usher who ever lived was mad, and they haven't really left the House or the underground crypts. The House of Usher is evil, unrelentingly malevolent and vicious, and exerts a terrifying destructive and cursed force on everything that ventures within its control.

Especially interesting is the character Madeline. She alternates between lucidity, madness, fits, fainting spells and hallucinations, but she is also fascinating. When lucid she is courageous, funny, and heartbreakingly vulnerable. She knows what the House is doing to her and to her brother and what it has done to her ancestors. She has the will, if not the power, to fight back. Her struggle to overcome the House adds the drama that keeps this from being a one-note Gothic, and it saves the book from becoming just an ultimately dreary moody grey downer.

So, this is a Gothic novel I can get behind. It is sharp, sly, crisp and never self-indulgent or sloppy. This is why, when fishing for books, it's good to throw the net wide.

Please note that I received a free advance ecopy of this book in exchange for a candid review. Apart from that I have no connection at all to either the author or the publisher of this book.
4 of 5 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars An okay YA horror, if you aren't too picky about needing explanations. 11 Oct 2014
By Jessica@RabidReads - Published on
Format:Kindle Edition
While Poe's The Fall of the House of Usher isn't my favorite of his short stories, I'm familiar with it, and I appreciate it. And more importantly it's the kind of horror I can get down with, the more cerebral kind of horror. It's written from the POV of Roderick Usher's boyhood friend, who has come to visit at Usher's request. The setting is exceedingly ominous, and someone is inevitably buried alive.

So when I saw The Fall by Bethany Griffin, it was a no-brainer---how cool would it be to use Poe's original story as the foundation of an entire novel, told from to POV of Roderick's sister? SO cool.

Unfortunately, it didn't quite live up to my expectations.

I rarely read horror (b/c chicken). That being said, when I do read horror, especially when it's October, Autumn (my favorite season) is creeping in, and Halloween is looming in the distance, I want to be, at the very least, seriously creeped out.

The creepiest part of this book was the expectation of a taboo brother/sister relationship, which is, yes, seriously creepy, but it was not the kind of creepy I was looking for.

I wanted sinister, I wanted malevolent, I wanted foreboding . . . and I didn't get it. Not really.

Maybe that's on me, maybe it isn't. I don't know.

But that wasn't the only problem.

Roderick and Madeleine Usher are twins. They are the only children in their household, so it's no surprise that they are very close. Even as children, there were hints of something more between them (ICK), but they are separated when, in their mother's attempt to stave off the family illness from her favored offspring, Roderick is sent away to school, leaving Madeleine alone.

Except for the house that has chosen her as its heir.

Okay, so that's sufficiently creepy.

But while the idea itself had a definite creep factor, the overall feel of the book, the setting, many of the evidences of the sentience of the house . . . did not. Which is surprising, b/c given the scenario, it should have been like shooting fish in a barrel.

Or not . . .

And that's not even the worst of it.

When Roderick goes away to school, Madeleine decides to start a garden. We're told that both the house and the surrounding area are cursed, and specifically that the curse causes every growing thing on the grounds to become diseased and/or rot, yet Madeleine is inexplicably able to grow ivy. And not just any ivy, ivy that can ultimately counter the evil of the house.


And sure, I suppose that in a world where a house and family can become cursed, there can be other types of magic as well, be where this alien ivy magic comes from is never revealed.

There is also no explanation for the survival and reappearance of a certain proper noun (sorry, can't tell), presumed dead, after sacrificing itself to save Madeleine from the friendly neighborhood KRAKEN (or monster octopus/squid/whatever---it's unclear, so I went with KRAKEN) that lives in the noxious waters of the House's tarn (a small mountain lake).

The frenetic shifts back and forth between past and present would be a nice illustration of the madness that plagues the Ushers if it wasn't so distracting.

Then there was the open ending. *sighs*

But despite all those things, it wasn't all bad. Dr. Winston was a superbly diabolical character, and many of the other characters and situations that were merely hinted at in the original were fleshed-out beautifully in The Fall. I'd recommend this anyone who thinks they might like horror-lite.
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars 4 Stars 7 Oct 2014
By SandySomewhere - Published on
Format:Kindle Edition
The Fall, as the description says, is a retelling of Edgar Allen Poe’s The Fall of the House of Usher. I’m not very familiar with that specific Poe story. The only Poe works I’ve read are The Raven and The Tell-Tale Heart. So I didn’t know much going into The Fall. However, I think that was a good thing because The Fall was unlike anything I’ve ever read before.

The Fall jumps around in chronology but is narrated by Madeline Usher with occasionally a few journal excerpts from a prior ancestor, Lisbeth Usher. The jumps in chronology help to keep the reader a little confused about what is really going on in this house and family. Essentially what we have is a cursed family. The entire Usher line is cursed, but there does seem to be a particular affliction for the female members of the line. Madeline has always been able to “hear” the house. She knows that it has its own consciousness. Madeline’s twin brother, Roderick, is terribly afraid of the house as a child, but he has never been as attuned to it as Madeline. When Roderick is sent away to school, he steadily leans on logic and distances himself from the house and the terrors he faced while living there. Because Madeline is so attuned to the house—as a matter of fact, she is the house’s favorite—Roderick in turn distances himself from Madeline as well. He refuses to believe. Madeline starts out believing that he house is protecting her, but over the years she learns to see the house for what it really is and it’s true intentions. It thrives on chaos, confusion, fear, and grief.

I felt so bad for Madeline. Her mother favors Roderick, but her father has a particular fondness for her—when he’s lucid. Eventually both parents die, Roderick lives at school and his visits become less and less frequent and the duration of each visit becomes shorter and shorter. The servants seem to think the curse is related to Madeline herself rather than the house. And the two doctors and the doctor’s apprentice who also live in the House of Usher offer no comfort or support. They poke and prod her with needles, studying her Usher blood, and chronicling her behavior. But she’s so utterly alone. And not just alone, but constantly living in fear.

Bethany Griffin’s writing style fit this story just perfectly. It wasn’t a style that blew me away with its beauty, but it was free-flowing, smooth, and fitting. Her writing had the appropriate amount of creepy, thrill, and mystery in keeping with an Edgar Allen Poe retelling for sure. I don’t know that The Fall could have been better or more suitably written.

My favorite quotes:
-Except, in this house, the secrets hide behind secrets, and tight places like this hole in the earth make my stomach clench with fear.

-The house rewards cruelty. It loves darkness and despair and death. And I am its favorite.

-He’s horrified by this place, by the things he cannot explain. And yet he leaves me here. At this thought, he turns, his eyes wide and surprised. He’s sensed my resentment, through the bond we share, but he won’t acknowledge it. He can’t, not when he’s already thinking of leaving.

-I blink over and over, holding back tears. My fingers come away from my cheek stained with blood. The house hurt me. My legs give out, and I collapse to the floor in a heap of skirts and anxiety. The planks of the floor grow unnaturally warm. I place my hands in my lap. I should have listened to Mother. The house was not trying to hurt me. No. It’s so big, it lacks finesse. It wants me to stay close, so it can protect me. I sit completely still, showing the house that I do not plan to leave it, not now, not ever. The blade of the ax quivers back and forth. I do not move. I sit, watching the ax. Letting the house know that I trust it.

-“The house is seductive,” Father says. “It reads our deepest desires.” But if that’s true, then why was Roderick sent away? Father laughs softly, still mixing the paint. “It doesn’t always give us our desires, Madeline,” he says, as though I asked the question aloud. Did I?

-He has been waiting; I’ve seen it in his demeanor. I understand waiting. But what he’s been waiting for isn’t me. He’s falling in love with the house. “I wish you’d come before,” I say. When I still trusted the house. Because I can never trust it now, and while he’s in its thrall, I can never trust him.

-There is safety in being cursed.

-”The house is speaking to you, isn’t it?” he asks. “Saying that it loves you most of all.” Is there jealousy in his voice?

-“The spirit of the house—the consciousness of it—gets inside our heads. It sees through our eyes and feels what we feel, especially moments of extreme emotion, moments of passion. Or grief. It loves grief.”

-There is no point loving the one who is cursed, is there?

-I have what I wanted. It is bitter.

The Fall was definitely a creepy read in keeping with what I know of Edgar Allen Poe. Since I’m not familiar with Poe’s The Fall of the House of Usher, I can’t tell you how accurate or true of a retelling The Fall is, but I can tell you that I enjoyed it immensely. It felt like the perfect Halloween type of read, perfect for this time of year. I struggled a bit with the ending. I don’t know how true to the original ending The Fall is, but it left me wondering what the point of the story was—other than just a super weird and interesting story. I’m still giving The Fall 4 stars. Have you read The Fall? What did you think? Let me know!

For more book reviews, check out Somewhere Only We Know -
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Another Wonderfully Dark Read 8 Oct 2014
By kindlemom1 (My Guilty Obsession) - Published on
Format:Kindle Edition
I was memorized by Griffin's debut duology last year and devoured every single book. Her dark attention to detail and the vivid images she presented were hard to resist. Throw in a classic retelling of a Poe story with lots of equally dark twists and you have one heck of a story. I was so very excited to learn she was doing writing another one and was eager to start it.

I shouldn't have expected anything less from her latest twist on an old Poe tale, The House of Usher.

Once again this was deliciously dark and macabre. Everything you would expect from an Edgar Allen Poe tale with those small steps Griffin takes to truly make this her own story.

This one is hard to explain except to say that if you like those dark stories that will keep you thinking, keep you guessing and completely mess with your mind, this is one you need to try and experience for yourself.

I loved every single minute of it and ended up devouring it.

The ending left me feeling empty and longing for more as well as guessing if there would be a book two, which I am really hoping there will be. I wasn't ready for Madeline's tale to be over or the Usher curse to be broken.
4.0 out of 5 stars Wonderfully Creepy 22 Oct 2014
By acaito - Published on
I'm not entirely sure what i just read, but I don't necessarily mean that in a bad way. The Usher family has been cursed for generations and it's all connected to the house. I at first thought that the house and the fact that it was "alive" was just some sort of metaphor or an old story to scare children into behaving, but as the novel continues I realized that this is not the case. The house is indeed alive, or some variation of alive anyway.

Growing up, Madeline assumed that the house loved her and was protecting her but as she grew older, she understands that the house is evil, possessive, and jealous. Told in a narrative that jumps around in the time, but is in no way confusing, the tidbits of family history and Madeline's own experiences within the house keep the reader in suspense and urge you to keep reading because WHAT IS GOING ON?! Bethany drops info as we need it, not necessarily as we want it.

I took an immediate liking to Madeline and I love seeing how her reaction to the house changed as she got older and began to understand the house's motives. She is bound and determined to get her family, especially her twin brother Roderick, away from the house and keep her distance from the doctors that have taken residence in the house to study the family's illness. Her parents end up sending Roderick away to school and although she wishes she could go to school as well, she knows the house would never allow her to leave. She is, as her father informed her, the house's favorite.

While there were moments when the plot seemed to drag slightly, these moments just added to the suspense of the novel. The Fall is a creepy book. There where times when, I kid you not, I thought the house was watching me.

If you're looking for that Halloween read that's wonderfully/creepily written, an interesting plot with a unique narrative that keeps you guessing at every turn, and an engaging main character attempting to escape her family curse, you'll definitely enjoy The Fall. Just maybe try not to talk negatively about the house, it never ends well for those that do.
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