Title: The Girl From the Well (The Girl from the Well #1)
Author: Rin Chupeco
Publication Date: August 5th 2014
Publisher: Sourcebooks Fire
My Rating: 3 out of 5 stars
“It is not in my nature to be interested in the living.
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 YA Horror novel pitched as “Dexter” meets “The Grudge”, based on a well-loved Japanese ghost story. – Excerpt to Goodreads.
I read this as one of my books during October because I was reading nothing but scary stuff. I thought this looked pretty cool but it didn’t live up to its potential for me.
The Girl from the Well started off really great. This book has a surprising narrator – a young girl named Okiku, who just happens to be dead. She also happens to be a spirit that gets revenge on child murderers – I can get behind that! The atmosphere around her is quite creepy and you have to figure out what is real and what isn’t. Yes folks, we have an unreliable narrator. This will be the point where a bunch of people shake their heads and say, “no way in hell am I reading an unreliable narrator.” I normally am on that same boat but it worked well here. It actually made the story a little more interesting. I didn’t find it confusing but there were certainly lots of questions unanswered.
The protagonist of the book is Tark, he’s a 15 year old boy who has some weird shit happening to him and his loyal cousin, Callie is along for the ride. They are pretty good characters and I liked that their was no romance with any of the characters. We don’t see that often enough. I also love that the location wasn’t just North America – nope! We get to go to Japan. That was a welcome addition.
Is this book scary? I don’t really know how to answer that. I didn’t find it scary but it certainly has the potential to freak some people out I’d say. If you aren’t used to scary stories or horror films than this might be quite disturbing. For the average horror fan, this book will be tame. The Girl from the Well obviously was very inspired by The Ring andThe Grudge This book is practically a love letter to those movies and while I loved the films, the book didn’t work that well for me.
I mentioned I liked the characters and I did. I actually LOVED the Okiku’s presence and story line. She was by far the most interesting part of it for me. The murdered children were also quite spine -tingling, yes spine-tingling! I don’t get to use that phase often! Let me be!! I have zero complaints about Okiku. I don’t even have any real complaints about Tark or Callie either. I also liked Tark’s weird mother and the stuff surrounding her. The problem is it started really creepy and strong and then dragged all through the middle for me. I had to push like crazy to be kept mildly interesting. It also started turning into an Exorcism basically and that sort of thing bores me to tears. There wasn’t anything in particular that made me lose interest – it just wasn’t the right story for me.
I’m still giving this book three stars because it was pretty good writing and the characters were strong. The relationship between Okiku and Tark was also kind of special and one of the things I liked watching evolve a lot.
This wouldn’t be a book I’d personally recommend but if you are looking for a book that plays our like Japanese horror flicks than this might work for you.