The Girl from the Well by Rin Chupeco
Genre: YA Horror
Release Date: Aug 5 / 2014
Publisher: Sourcebooks Fire
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.
*A copy is provided by the publisher for an honest review*
Thank you, Raincoast Books!
So, I wanted to read something spooky for Halloween and this was on my review pile. This is practically a win-win situation. I'm not that good with anything that's scary so I thought I'd challenge myself to read horror books when Halloween finally got around. I just need to get in that spirit, y'know.
Sadly, the Girl from the Well isn't scary at all. Even for someone who is scared shitless of all things that go bump in the night. It's either that this wasn't scary or that I had suddenly developed a very good immunity to scary things. I think it's the former, mostly. Don't get me wrong. This is still a pretty good book, but it didn't deliver the terrifying part it promised.
This book's protagonist is Tarquin and Okiku (the girl from the well). Most things are written as Okiku observes them. Okiku doesn't actually do much of anything except observe Tark and what's happening to him. Okay, maybe she killed people once or twice but other than that, she just observes. Sometimes, the point of view switches between first person and third person which is really confusing. Also, Okiku changes the way she refers to some people like Tark suddenly becomes "the boy" and Callie suddenly becomes "the girl" for a short while before switching back again. Speaking of Tark and Callie, I don't really find myself connecting to them at all. Tark is more understandable than Callie with his moody sarcastic teenage moods though.
There's also a lot of poetic stuff. I don't know if I appreciate those or not. I'd rather be terrified than read bunch of weird repeating phrases that's trying to terrify me. There's a few japanese words in the novel too (to make it feel more authentic, I guess?). If I didn't watch a whole lot of anime like I do, the normal reader wouldn't understand them. I understood most of them fine, but there were a few that I didn't get and just skipped over because I'm too lazy to google the words.
Overall, I think the Girl from the Well is pretty alright for a debut novel. It goes into the Japanese folklore a bit (and that's awesome), but there's a few things that it's missing. While I didn't get scared at all like I should be, it's still a decent non-horror novel.