I love Japanese horror, and have watched some really random things. The “Grudge” like imagery on The Girl From the Well made me buy it, and it’s sequel The Suffering. The author says that her husband took one look at the front cover and said “Nope. Nope. A whole bunch of nope.”.
From the blurb:
The darkness will find you. Seventeen-year-old Tark knows what it is to be powerless. But Okiku changed that. A restless spirit who ended life as a victim and started death as an avenger, she’s groomed Tark to destroy the wicked. But when darkness pulls them deep into Aokigahara, known as Japan’s suicide forest, Okiku’s justice becomes blurred, and Tark is the one who will pay the price…
If you haven’t read the first book I suggest you read it first, because it will help this book make a lot more sense.
Tark carries with him the ghost of a 300 year old Japan girl called Okiku. Okiku was violently murdered and since then has punished people who kill children or cause them harm, by killing them violently.
Tark had been host to a dangerous spirit, but when that was vanquished he was vulnerable to other spirits; Okiku chose to stay and keep him safe rather than go to her eternal rest.
At the start of this novel Tark and Okiku have a routine for doling out justice. If Okiku doesn’t get her vengeance on every now and then, she goes a bit… scary. If Tark is more than half a mile away from her, other ghosts start circling him, so they have to go together. Okiku gets a bit creative when she kills people, so this is quite uncomfortable for Tark.
Every year Tark and his cousin Callie visit friends in Japan, including Kagura the miko or shrine maiden who helped save his life 3 years ago.
When Kagura contacts Tark to say that she is considering entering Jukai, the infamous suicide forest with a team of American ghost hunters, he encourages her to act as their guide, thinking that she will be able to protect them from anything that haunts the forest.
A few days later one of the other mikos tells Tark that the whole team have gone missing, and begs for his help in finding Kagura. Tark, Callie and Okiku head to Japan, and the place where the most terrifying and powerful spirits are said to dwell…
This is a really good, terrifying and vivid horror novel. I would even recommend it to adult readers. The first book had more of a unique angle, with the story being told from Okiku’s perspective, and I really enjoyed that. However in terms of straight out horror, this book really delivers.
Let me know your thoughts, and any horror recommendations in the comments below.