What worked: Griffin once again weaves magic in her retelling of a Poe novel. This novel starts off with a horrific scene and then goes back and forth in time, showing young Madeline Usher and what leads up to her being buried alive. Madeline's family has been cursed for generations. Readers see how the house slowly drives the Ushers insane or worse. Madeline's twin Roderick is sent away by their mother in an attempt for him to escape the grisly fates of the rest of the family. We see Madeline as a young girl, before the madness hits, and then later when she makes a choice to destroy the hold the house has over all of them.
I loved this book! Creepy images of life inside the Usher mansion come to life whenever Madeline is inside. Secrets, ghosts, and creepy inhabitants pulse within the house. The curse has a tight hold on all of the Ushers, including Madeline. Her struggles, conflicts, and even fears drive her to question what is happening. There are times when she finds hope in a pet(how she finds Cassandra is creepy), a new doctor, and even her own brother. She longs for the love of her bitter mother who admits she loves Roderick more. Madeline might seem frail and invisible but inside pumps strength and courage she'll need to fight against the house.
The house is a major character in this novel. It breathes life and also shows it's displeasure when Madeline or the other Ushers try to take control. There are some real creepy scenes which include a armored knight throwing a knife at Madeline when she tries to escape. Also the newer doctor is beyond creepy. His obsession with the Ushers and with Madeline gave me the shivers.
Fast-paced action had me turning the pages, not wanting to stop until I found out the fate of Madeline and her twin. There's hints of other grisly things that go on inside the Usher house. Madness is shown throughout and you can't help but shiver more than a few times.
A great retellling of Poe's THE FALL OF THE HOUSE OF USHER that will please not only fans of Griffin but those who love a good, creepy tale.