Review: The Girl from the Well by Rin Chupeco

the-girl-from-the-wellSource: Library
Publisher: Sourcebooks
Series: The Girl from the Well #1
 Hardcover, 267 Pages
 Young Adult Horror
Purchase: Amazon / Barnes & Noble / Book Depository*
*I receive a small monetary kickback from Amazon purchases
Rating: 4/5

You may think me biased, being murdered myself. But my state of being has nothing to do with the curiosity toward my own species, if we can be called such. We do not go gentle, as your poet encourages, into that good night.

A dead girl walks the streets.

She hunts murderers. Child killers, much like the man who threw her body down a well three hundred years ago.

And when a strange boy bearing stranger tattoos moves into the neighborhood so, she discovers, does something else. And soon both will be drawn into the world of eerie doll rituals and dark Shinto exorcisms that will take them from American suburbia to the remote valleys and shrines of Aomori, Japan.

Because the boy has a terrifying secret – one that would just kill to get out.

The Girl from the Well is a novel centered around the lore of Okiku, a popular ghost story in Japan, and would great for people who love horror movies but want a little extra to the story.

I love books that expound on the idea of the classic villain/monster, so instead of simply being told to fear this being you get a glimpse of what makes them tick. There a little slice of humanity in there that makes you feel for them, even despite the fact that crawling on ceilings still makes your skin crawl. That’s precisely what The Girl in the Well does. The opening chapter shows the best of both worlds. We get to see Okiku as that horror movie monster, and we also get to see the vital service she provides for spirits chained to their murderers. She tells us the story, but rarely ever speaks a loud and so we are given a sort of inside narrative of the events as she watches and acts. I didn’t know I needed a book from the view point of a vengeful spirit but I now know I need more of them.

Okiku is a character that has embodied her circumstance entirely, and so we get little flashes of the girl she might have been but we do see through her relationship with Tarquin that she’s managed to hold on to little bits and pieces. Tarquin’s story was one that I thoroughly enjoyed. I won’t say it’s something I haven’t encountered before, but the imagery and wonderful wording used by Chupeco really makes it stand out and even it’s in super tense and scary moments it’s sort of beautiful.

I’m so glad I decided to use this book for my Read Harder challenge this year, because not only is it in a genre I rarely read but it turns out that it has a sequel and I need more of Okiku and Tarq…especially with the way things closed out at the end.

4 stars

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