The Girl From The Well
by Rin Chupeco
Young Adult / Horror
255 pages / 313 pages
Published 2014 / 2015
This duology claimed a spot in my Spooky October Reads because I ADORE this author’s later work, The Bone Witch trilogy. I’d heard great things about this set, and I’m so glad I finally read it. I don’t care for much horror, generally, and this was just the right amount of iffy morality and spooky ghost stuff.
The books are told from the viewpoint of Okiku, a 300-year-old ghost who drowned in a well but came back to take vengeance on her killer before continuing to hunt down killers of children. The other main characters are Tarquin, a half-Japanese boy with strange, unnerving tattoos, and his older cousin Callie. The mystery of who Tarquin’s mother really is, what happened when he was a toddler, and why she’s tried to kill him every time she’s seen him since, is at the heart of the first book. The pacing and reveals are expertly done, so I won’t say much more about the plot.
Okiku is appropriately terrifying, and her backstory is equally tragic. We learn much more about what happened to her in the second half of the first book, and it’s fleshed out even further in the second book. The second book is largely Okiku and Tark having an adventure in Japan, and less about their individual histories. I think it was a great sequel, though, and definitely needed to finish Okiku and Tark’s story. It takes place almost entirely in Aokigahara, Japan’s “suicide forest.” The Suffering is also told from Tark’s point of view instead of Okiku’s, and definitely suffers for that.
Overall, the first book is better than the second, but the second is still good, and finishes the story. Terrifying ghosts, creepy dolls, ancient rituals, and secret societies abound in these two books, and they’re the perfect amount of spooky for a scaredy-cat like me. These definitely cement Rin Chupeco as a must-read author for me. She’s fantastic.
From the cover of The Girl From The Well:
The dead do not always rest . . .
Okiku knows anger and pain. They are what she last felt before her life was brutally taken from her more than 300 years ago. Now a restless spirit, she wanders, seeking out those who viciously take the lives of children. Okiku always gets her vengeance. She has no remorse for the wicked.
Until she meets seventeen-year-old Tark . . .
From the cover of The Suffering:
The darkness will find you.
Seventeen-year-old Tark knows what it is to be powerless. But Okiku changed that. A restless spirit who ended life as a victim and started death as an avenger, she’s groomed Tark to destroy the wicked. But when darkness pulls them deep into Aokigahara, known as Japan’s suicide forest, Okiku’s justice becomes blurred, and Tark is the one who will pay the price . . .