I totally judge books by their covers. Which is why I was drawn to this book so quickly and had to read it despite the fact that I CAN’T STAND HORROR STUFF. But man, did I fall in love with Rin Chupeco’s book “The Girl From the Well.” There have been some mixed reviews for this book, but mine is obviously the only one that matters. (Please, don’t take that seriously, I’m being sarcastic. All the reviews are valid.)
As someone who is a total wimp when it comes to horror movies and hasn’t read many horror books, I really loved this story!
I feel like horror is a really difficult genre to write, because things that are scary on screen are hard to translate in words (like jump scares for example.) However, the visuals in it are really well written. I was trying to imagine what I was reading as a film, and it would definitely scare the crap out of me.
I also loved the way it was written. I know some people are leaving negative critiques about how the text jumps around. For example, when she’s speaking mid sentence and
kill kill kill
does something like that.
It was jarring at first, but I believe that’s intentional. After all, Okiku is dealing with having these internal murderous and vengeful thoughts while trying to observe the world.
That was another critique I read before giving this book a shot. That Okiku is a boring narrator and character. I found her to be very interesting. Yes, she does watch others a lot, but seeing those characters from her point of view was very interesting. I was able to get into the heads of everyone instead of being stuck with one person, which I happen to enjoy. It’s not everyone’s cup of tea, so be wary of that while reading.
The other characters are also interesting in their own way. I really loved Tark. His story was something I had never read before, and I thought his personality was interesting. I was happy with how he was developed.
Callie was a little less interesting for me, but I still enjoyed what she brought to the story. She was a much needed catalyst for the plot to move forward.
I also loved all of the lore, history, and heritage pumped into this book. Chupeco used a lot of Japanese words in the text, which made it feel like a campfire story you would listen to if you were traveling with natives in another country. Isn’t that where most scary stories come from?
I thought the style of writing worked very well. It’s different from what people are used to, and that can come across as jarring and annoying. However, I was quickly able to adapt to the form and focus on the story, which was original – albeit a little bit cliche toward the end and a little anticlimactic for my tastes. Overall, I really did love this story and I’m excited to read the sequel and see what happens next!
For all you horror buffs out there, give this a try. It might not be the pure horror experience you’re looking for, but it is an interesting take on a famous Japanese ghost stories (one that I happen to like better than The Ring and The Grudge – but I’m a wimp!)