Riveting and full of suspense, The Girl From The Well is an amazing YA horror novel by Rin Chupeco. The creepy narration style combined with incredibly well-developed characters, The Girl From The Well by Rin Chupeco is quite an intriguing story, and unique in the way the story is told from the lens of a dead girl.
That’s right, our main character, Okiku, has been dead for several long years now. And she is the one who tells us a horror story about a cursed young boy named Tarquin, who has demons trapped beneath his skin, and a secret family history involving eerie doll rituals and exorcisms that follow ancient Japanese rituals.
Synopsis: The Girl From The Well by Rin Chupeco
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.
Ratings: 3 out of 5
Recommended Age Group: 13+
Trigger Warnings: Death, violence and gore, child abuse, sexual assault and rape (graphic & mentioned)
~ Book Review: The Girl From The Well by Rin Chupeco ~
Personally, I have always been a huge fan of Rin Chupeco’s works, ever since I picked up The Bone Witch. However, The Girl From The Well, although a brilliant novel, didn’t quite hold the same pull as all their other books did for me.
The novel starts off strong–from the very first page, we witness Okiku’s wrath and the violence she gleefully wrecks upon those who harm innocent children. Rin Chupeco’s incredibly intriguing and spine-chilling writing style shines spectacularly in this very first chapter–you cannot help but flinch at the horror while still wanting to know more about Okiku herself.
It’s hard not to love our undead protagonist, and her perspective of our modern world, shown from the lens of a hundred years old vengeful spirits, was one of the strongest points in the novel. Okiku is unlike any other main character I have read about, and while she does come off as more than a little unhinged–what with being an angry dead spirit and all–I couldn’t help but root for her throughout the entire story.
I mean, who would not want to root for a ghost that avenges murdered children? But what made me fall in love with Okiku, even more, was how, throughout the course of the story, she transforms from being an undead avenger to becoming an undead protector of the innocents.
Enter Tarquin, a strange, haunted, sarcastic teenage boy who has mysterious tattoos on his body and seems to constantly leave a trail of death and violence in his wake.
Now, here comes one of my biggest issues with The Girl From The Well by Rin Chupeco. Tarquin is supposed to be one of our main characters, along with his cousin whose name I have forgotten because she was such a bland character.
However, it was incredibly difficult for me to like either of them. Perhaps it was because as a reader, we only got to know these characters through Okiku’s eyes, but I personally felt like their character arcs needed more development.
Also, I hated how easy it was for all the characters to find out the information they needed. There were no challenges for the characters to uncover the mystery of Tarquin’s tattoos, or the mystery of Okiku for that matter.
Everything they needed to know, they came across those stories either by running into peculiar kids who apparently can not only see ghosts but learn their history too…or by having a surprisingly lucid conversation with a woman in a mental asylum…or by running into mysterious Japanese ladies who run a side business exorcising evil spirits for a living.
For me, this was a very big flaw in the novel, because if the plot makes it so convenient for the characters to find out all they need to know about the supernatural, then where is the challenge?
Aside from this, The Girl From The Well by Rin Chupeco was a pretty great read. I especially loved the character of Okiku. She is without a doubt the show-stopper of this book: she is quirky in the way she speaks in her old-fashioned way and doesn’t quite understand modern sarcasm; she likes to hang around upside down from the ceiling, and she is ferocious when she chooses to protect someone from harm.
I also loved the way Rin Chupeco drew heavily from the actual Japanese myth of Okiku for this story, and the representation of Japanese culture and rituals was absolutely mesmerizing. I kept reading the book simply to learn more about the myths that shaped this story, and for Okiku, who is by far the most interesting protagonist ever to star in a horror novel.
All things considered, I would recommend The Girl From The Well by Rin Chupeco for a rainy day. If you are looking for a YA horror that will keep you up all night turning the pages–this one ain’t it; you’d be better off with Rin Chupeco’s The Sacrifice instead.
~ Meet The Author: Rin Chupeco ~
Rin Chupeco wrote obscure manuals for complicated computer programs, talked people out of their money at event shows, and did many other terrible things. They now write about ghosts and fairy tales but is still sometimes mistaken as a revenant. They were born and raised in the Philippines and, or so the legend goes, still haunts that place to this very day. Their pronouns are they/them.
Support The Author: Get The Girl From The Well by Rin Chupeco
If you enjoyed this review and you believe this book is for you, then please consider supporting the author by getting your copy of The Girl From The Well by Rin Chupeco from the links below! <3
I received a free copy of this book in exchange for an honest review. All thoughts and opinions are my own (my opinions are not for sale anyway). Thank you so much to Rin Chupeco, SourceBooks Fire and NetGalley for giving me a free copy of this book. <3
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