Japanese Legend That Inspired The Ring Is Retold from Murdered Spirit’s Perspective in Debut Horror Thriller
Sourcebooks Fire ● August 5, 2014 ● ISBN: 9781402292187
Hardcover/$16.99 U.S. ● Ages 14+
The Ring meets The Exorcist in this haunting and lyrical reimagining of the Japanese fable.
Okiku has wandered the world for hundreds of years, setting free the spirits of murdered children. Wherever there’s a monster hurting a child, her spirit is there to deliver punishment. Such is her existence, until the day she discovers a troubled American teenager named Tark and the dangerous demon that writhes beneath his skin, trapped by a series of intricate tattoos. Tark needs to be freed, but there is one problem—if the demon dies, so does its host.
With the vigilante spirit Okiku as his guide, Tark is drawn deep into a dark world of sinister doll rituals and Shinto exorcisms that will take him far from American suburbia to the remote valleys and shrines of Japan. Can Okiku protect him from the demon within or will her presence bring more harm? The answer lies in the depths of a long-forgotten well
The parts with the murders are disturbing to me. Not in the sense of what a vengeful ghost is doing to her victims but what the victims have done to others. This is a spirit who protects and releases childrens souls. So the crimes are pretty awful. I’ve learned in my many decades of reading that life experiences influence how you see a book. Being that I have two small children now the idea of these crimes which have always been the worst of the worst have taken on a whole new life. I kept stopping while reading and turning to my kids and saying you know not to go with strangers. I wanted to crawl into the book, even though the characters are fictional, and hugs the kids and tell them I’m sorry that even as an outsider I couldn’t find some way to protect them. So for me the incorporation of these murders was the right amount. Not so over loaded but enough to represent what Okiku is.
The way the story is written was also very interesting to me. I have to say I liked it’s direct no nonsense narration that we get from this type of story. It’s appropriate since we are seeing through the eyes of a dead person. Someone who is either enraged or comatose. I thought it was written very well and in a way that kept me intrigued. There is kind of slight hints of emotion towards the end. As Okiku becomes more invested in the situation herself and relives a little of her own tale.
This is also Tark and Callie’s story as they try to unravel the mystery of his tattoos. I liked seeing them through Okiku’s eyes. I also like how everything unfolds involving them.
I am not a Horror fan generally. I tell my husband that I don’t want to see scary movies because they scare me. I like older horror movie where the focus isn't so much on the blood, guts and shock factor as much as creating a creepy and scary atmosphere that can manage to scare the bejeezus out of you without even doing anything. The Girl From The Well is a mixture of both. The descriptive scenes, especially the beginning one, for when Okiku executes her vengeance definitely has the gore. The rest of the book has an eerie creepy haze that flows throughout. I really liked how this combination was executed and it’s definitely a book that I will probably think about every time I see some kind of ghost tale. It has sticking power for me.
Praise for The Girl From the Well:
“[A] Stephen King–like horror story…A chilling, bloody ghost story that resonates.” –Kirkus Reviews
“Chupeco makes a powerful debut with this unsettling ghost story…told in a marvelously disjointed fashion from Okiku’s numbers-obsessed point of view, this story unfolds with creepy imagery and an intimate appreciation for Japanese horror, myth, and legend.” –Publishers Weekly, STARRED
“The Girl from the Well is part The Ring, part The Grudge and part The Exorcist…A fantastically creepy story sure to keep readers up at night… Okiku is one of the most interesting YA characters to date.” RT Book Reviews, 4 ½ STARS-TOP PICK!
“A dark novel that will appeal to horror fans, lovers of Elizabeth Scott’s ‘Living Dead Girl.’” –School Library Journal