The Girl from the Well
by Rin Chupeco
Ebook, 272 pages
Published August 5th, 2014 by Sourcebooks Fire
I am where dead children go.
Okiku is a lonely soul. She has wandered the world for centuries, freeing the spirits of the murdered-dead. Once a victim herself, she now takes the lives of killers with the vengeance they’re due. But releasing innocent ghosts from their ethereal tethers does not bring Okiku peace. Still she drifts on.
Such is her existence, until she meets Tark. Evil writhes beneath the moody teen’s skin, trapped by a series of intricate tattoos. While his neighbors fear him, Okiku knows the boy is not a monster. Tark needs to be freed from the malevolence that clings to him. There’s just one problem: if the demon dies, so does its host.
When I first saw this book, my first impression is that this is a retelling of The Ring. I absolutely hate that movie. It still give me nightmares. Maybe because the first version I saw was the Japanese one, which as we all now, is so much more creepier than the US one. But anyway, I expected to be fully creeped out when I started it. This book managed to do it, but there are other factors that failed for me too.
What I Liked
- How Japan was written in this book. I love how train takes such a huge part in this book and how the author managed to capture all the weirdness and awesomeness of Japan in a book. How the whole religion/supernatural aspect and how it is viewed in the country is also very well written.
- The legends. Like I said, when I first saw this book I thought it was The Ring retelling and the author named the ghost Okiku. Even as the story goes, I couldn’t piece together the clue that it’s that Okiku. I also loved how it mentioned famous Japanese story such as Kaidan.
- The atmosphere. For most of the book, the atmosphere is pretty ominous. While we know what happened and I had a vague guess how everything will went down, I still can’t help worrying for our characters and dreading the ending. It’s very well done.
- The writing. I know a lot of people don’t like stream of conciousness writing, and I don’t either, but for some reason it works in this book! It showed polarising nature of Okiku, her thoughts, feelings, and hundred years of experience. It’s interesting to see the world through her eyes.
- The ending.
What I Didn’t Like
- The characters. I don’t feel like they are fleshed out enough?? The father is typical absent parent. Callie is caring, and it seems like that’s all she is. The mother has an interesting background and I wished it was explored more. I couldn’t phantom Tark at all, because I didn’t know which is him and which is the darkness.
- The hint of romance. Please no. Romance is the exact reason why I dislike Anna Dressed in Blood. Can we just stop having unecessary romance please?
- The plot is very straightforward and it kinda make the story unremarkable for me. It’s a shame because Okiko and the book’s atmosphere is amazing, yet the plot is forgetable.
Overall, I really liked it! The atmosphere is perfect and Japan is very well written here. I just wished the characters are more developed and *fingers crossed* there will be no romance. I also wished the plot will be more memorable in the next book.
And yes, there will be a second book. It sets in Aokigahara *brb preparing my heart and soul*