Friday, 17 October 2014

Review: The Fall

The Fall
Publication Date: October 2nd 2014        
Publisher: Orion Childrens
~A copy was provided by the publisher in exchange for an honest review~

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.
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

I don't know much about The Fall of the House of Usher, and I think, in the case of The Fall it was better for me that way, since whereas it might be familiar to others, I got to see this story with fresh new eyes and it was delightfully strange.

Between chapters of when the characters were younger, we got to know them through the ages, up until that disturbing opener. I thought it was a little slow in the beginning but it was needed to show  how exactly the pull and trance the house has over the family line of Ushers- even the distant relations with watered down blood. It built the pace and plot perfectly, making the atmosphere and setting creepy and the perfect for this kind of story. You see the difference from the slightly unsettling to the downright crazy intense tone it took on as things got impossibly madder as things start to unravel around them.  We also have chapters from an ancestors diary that doesn't dictate the time or era but as you get to know more about the house and about Lisbeth Usher as we sort of see through eyes the poison of the house, it also gave us a sense of the ancestry line.

It's hard to see how the effect the house has on the characters, especially our main ones because they've always lived there, grown up there. Though it's easier to see a change in one, our main Madeline, is a hard one to figure out, but she's strong. Now, with Dr Winston you see it, how the house can take something in you, it becomes obsessive and unhealthy and it can twist you into the worst version of yourself. It's flawlessly Gothic and not so pretty and at times hard to swallow, especially when it came to a certain relationship as the house changes and toys with it for its own gain and I'm not going to lie, it's a little warped and sick, but luckily, it's only one scene, so I could deal with that.
Considering most of the book is inside of the House of Usher, with brief scenes on the grounds and sometimes a little further, I was never bored, and while some things are repetitive, it never felt repetitive, it kept bringing new things to the table at every cruel turn that kept me reading and I finished it in three hours. The only problem I had with it is the ending, it's sort of open without being open and implied, it's just as strange as everything else about it, and in a way, matches the story and suits it in a way that you wouldn't see it ending any other way, if that makes sense.

The Fall is very atmospheric and strange and creepy yet endearing and an compelling Halloween read with characters that you won't necessarily get- since there is a sense of detachment-but they are  eccentric and ever-present and feel a part of the house more than their own character

Rating: 4/5