|Image from Goodreads
Title: The Fall
Author: Bethany Griffin
Publication Date: 2 Oct 2014
Synopsis from Goodreads
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.
In the end, can Madeline keep her own sanity and bring the house down?The Fall is a literary psychological thriller, reimagining Edgar Allan Poe’s classic The Fall of the House of Usher.
REVIEW BY JACK 9:6
I don’t normally read Gothic novels, so I found this fascinating but difficult. The Fall is an extremely complicated book based on Edgar Allan Poe’s “The Fall of the House of Usher”. Chapters throughout the tale show Madeline Usher, the main character, at different ages, ranging from 9 to 18. Also interspersed are chapters from the diary of a relative of Madeline’s, named Elisabeth.
The Usher family is cursed with fits, mental illnesses and a conscious, evil house. The curse damages Madeline worse than most, choosing her as the heir to the house. Various people stay at and then leave the house during the book, each affected by the house and curse in a different way; as well as many killed leaving when the house shows its displeasure.
The part of the story I like best is around chapter 100, when Madeline finally works out what is happening to her, her friends and to the house. My favourite character is Madeline’s father, who is little affected by the curse. He does so much and is so determined to try and protect his sister, his betrothed, his wife and his children from the curse. Eventually, though, he succumbs like generations of Ushers before him, beaten and battered.
Although this book keeps jumping between narratives, it is only moderately difficult to follow due to the clever way in which it is done. I did find it confusing how some key events in the book are never expressly stated, you are just left to infer them. This left me struggling to work out what happened when in some cases.
Additionally, the ending left just a few questions unanswered, such as why Roderick had to leave his school, who he loved and what happened to the doctors. I believe that tying up these loose ends would be a huge improvement.