Monday, August 4, 2014

Review: The Girl from the Well

THE GIRL FROM THE WELL
Rin Chupeco
Paranormal Young Adult
272 pages
Sourcebooks Fire
Available August 5th
Source: ARC from publisher for review

THE STORY (from Amazon)
I am where dead children go.

Okiku is a lonely soul. She has wandered the world for centuries, freeing the spirits of the murdered-dead. Once a victim herself, she now takes the lives of killers with the vengeance they're due. But releasing innocent ghosts from their ethereal tethers does not bring Okiku peace. Still she drifts on.

 Such is her existence, until she meets Tark. Evil writhes beneath the moody teen's skin, trapped by a series of intricate tattoos. While his neighbors fear him, Okiku knows the boy is not a monster. Tark needs to be freed from the malevolence that clings to him. There's just one problem: if the demon dies, so does its host.

MY THOUGHTS
A darkly unusual story, The Girl from the Well has us acting as cheerleaders throughout for a truly horrifying and vengeful spirit as she kills her victims in the most nightmare-inducing way possible. To go along with a tale that is both fascinating and off-putting is a rather unique format, one that includes sporadically placed indentations, one-word lines and various parenthetical asides that include numbers thanks to our ghostly narrator's mild obsession with counting. Okiku is a seemingly omniscient narrator (though being completely clueless as to official point of view definitions, I have no idea if this is in fact an omniscient POV), able to travel back and forth between a number of different characters and share with us their thoughts and feelings while occasionally jumping in with an “I” or “me” to remind us of her presence.

Okiku, given she's been wandering the earth for hundreds of years freeing the spirits of dead children from the shackles binding them to their murderers, is extraordinarily detached from the world itself, refusing for majority of the book to refer to anyone by name, instead calling them “the tattooed boy” or “the girl” when letting us know which character she happens to be following. As a result, we too are a touch detached from the story with the exception of the fervent hatred we feel when it comes to her victims, making the moments when she tortures and kills them, however terrifying, the times we feel most engaged in the story. Those who began this tale with no particular feelings towards dolls, mirrors, bathrooms or ceilings will likely find themselves looking at each with new eyes after reading, glancing at them with no shortage of wariness or fear while hoping against hope that we won't catch anything moving out of the corner of our eyes.

Okiku's journey with Tark (the tattooed boy) and his cousin Callie (the girl) is a bit of a wandering one, moving forward quickly and easily but also bouncing us around from one crime scene to the next before moving us to Japan and immersing us in their numerous ghost stories and demonic legends. Though we never find ourselves emotionally attached to either Tark or Callie, Okiku's ability to be both protector and executioner keeps us riveted throughout, tense up to the very last page as we wonder if she'll be able to free Tark from his complicated demonic bindings. Those readers looking for something a little different–and a whole lot unnerving–will likely find themselves easily swept up in Okiku's bloody freedom mission, the story itself strongly unique enough to overcome a (likely intentional) lack of character intimacy.

Rating: 3.5/5

Find Rin:


This book was sent to me by the publisher free of charge for the purpose of a review
I received no other compensation and the above is my honest opinion.

40 comments:

  1. Even though this wasn't perfect, I am so drawn in by the synopsis that I still want to read it!

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    1. I can't wait to see what you think Ali! It was a fun read:)

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  2. I've been wishy-washy about reading this one. I think I'll give it a try when I'm in a more horror mood.

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    1. It's a quick read Christy, and I definitely enjoyed it, it was just not quite as character-driven as I typically like.

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  3. I have not seen this one around before, cool

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    1. Glad I could put it on your radar!

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  4. Okiku? Haaa! I love this name :) I'm so intrigued by her story and her detached nature is actually pretty fascinating. Eeeeeeeem. Ok, I'm legit scared. I'm always scared that's why I don't read horror so no matter how fascinated I am by Okiku, I just cannot. *hides* Sorry you weren't hugely invested, Jenny, but I'm glad you found this intriguing and different.

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    1. Normally I would have been cowering away from this one too Siiri, but I couldn't help but want to know what happened. And I'm glad I picked it up even if I can't quite look in mirrors quite the same way ;-)

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  5. This sounds intriguing. Horrifying and gruesome and intriguing.

    And creepy. Good stuff.

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  6. Omniscient narrators are notoriously secretive -- they may know everything but they only share what they want and Okiku seems to be a bit more...quirky than most. Creepy dolls, man. I'm just not sure I can deal. *shudder*

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    1. She is definitely quirky, and it took me a few chapters to really settle into the way she told her story. Since I was reading the ARC, the first couple indentations I thought were errors that would be fixed in the final version, but then it kept happening throughout:)

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  7. I was excited to read this book, but it seems that the writing will not be for everyone. I need to read a sampler to see if it might be the book for me.
    I love the concept though and it sounds like the horror scenes are very well written. It's a shame you weren't able to connect well with some of the secondary characters, but I'm glad you liked it overall.
    Lovely review!

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    1. It's definitely a different style of writing, but I enjoyed it. It kept me on my toes:)

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  8. There's a lot about this one that really appeals to me - namely the unique narration and names - but there's a lot that I find worrisome, as well. I love me a good paranormal story, and Lord knows I love horror, but I need my characters to really shine if that's the route the author is going, and I'm not sure this would live up! Nevertheless, I'm still intrigued. Great review, Jenny!

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    1. I would say this one is more plot driven for sure which kept me flipping the pages, but I can't help but want those moments where we really get to know the characters and what motivates them:)

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  9. Different is good, especially where YA is concerned, but I'm not sold on the POV. This book is going on the maybe pile for now.

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    1. I'd be interested to see what you thought Carmel:)

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  10. I really like the sound of this one, Jenny. It sounds so different from what I typically read and it's also a horror novel which I usually avoid. I know you're a scaredy-cat like me so were you really creeped out while reading this one?

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  11. Oh I was really curious about this one with the cover and the synopsis and it sounds interesting. Maybe one day.

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    1. It was a very different type of read Melliane, I liked that about it!

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  12. This sounds like a different, fascinating, and eerie read! Definitely sounds like an unnerving story.

    Nice honest review!

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    1. Unnerving is the perfect word Lea!

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  13. The point of view you mentioned is a tricky sounding one, yet sounds like it worked for this type of story. I like how the beauty and horror kind of blend in it. Someone mentioned in their review that this reminded them of a fractured or retelling of a fairytale. Just curious, did you get that vibe at all Jenny? Wonderful review on a fascinating story, Jenny! :)

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    1. I think it is a retelling of an old Japanese myth, so it did have that feel to it, but it's definitely dark and gruesome at times:)

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  14. I think I'm already terrified by mirrors and ceilings as it is that I just know that reading this novel might really scare the hell out of me. But I don't care because it's been too long since I've been scared by a book. I'm kind of craving for it already. :D

    Okiku's seems like an interesting ghost and she sounds like she have enough personality to carry the story on her own. I'm a tiny bit disappointed that we don't get to connect much with Tark or Callie but I guess I can look past that. I cannot wait to read this. It sounds like a horror book done right and more. Fantastic review, Jenny! :)

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    1. Hehe. I did keep my eyes downcast for a few nights after reading, I did NOT want to know if anything was in the mirror or on the ceiling:) Can't wait to see what you think Sarah!

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  15. Hmmm, I am very intrigued by the oddness (for lack of a better word) of the prose. Okiku does sound like an omniscent narrator, which we don't see a lot of these days, so that part fascinates me as well. The former student of literary theory in me wants to find out how this was done. The unnerving part I'm not so sure of, though. I'm all about light and quick these days. :)

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    1. This is a quick read, but definitely not light! I would have liked more time with Okiku herself too - getting to know her story in more than just the bits and pieces she shows us. She was a hugely fascinating character:)

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  16. I was curious about this one as well, and even though the creepy part sucks me in, I don't think it has enough of a wow to convince me. Thanks for the insight.

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  17. I will have this to read very soon. I love something different and that is why I wanted to read it. I like that it is unnerving but it doesn't sound too scary. I think I can deal with the lack of intimacy with the characters as long as it is intentional. I am curious about that POV! Can't wait to start this one!

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    1. So I was saying that I read some small excerpts and read many reviews but I felt like people exaggerated...like it wasn't that of a scary horror book...is it? Because I'm a chicken lol and I don't like horror books but this one looks very original and interesting and was planning on reading it toworrow since it'll be released and my TBR is not that huge anymore (miracle!) Anyway, fantastic review, Jenny! :D

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  19. I don't know... this sounds really strange and I'm not sure it would be for me. It sounds unique and bit horrifying but I'm guessing it's not TOO scary since you read it. I think I'll skip it for now but we'll see, I might reconsider in the future.

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  20. Yours is the first review I'm seeing of this book, Jenny, so without you it would have most definitely slipped under my radar. It seems rather dark and I'm not entirely sure it's my cup of tea but, sometimes, I just need a purely unique novel and this seems to fit that bill perfectly. I'm definitely keeping this in mind for the times I crave a slightly different, edgier novel. Fantastic review, dear!(:

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  21. I want to read this one so badly! It looks so fantastically creepy, and I'm hoping to pick it up soon. I'm not sure what to make of the emotional distance we feel from the characters, but I'm still hoping I enjoy it, especially since, like you said, it might be intentional. Lovely review, Jenny!

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  22. Hmmm, I have been very curious about this one, cause the summary made me super curious and felt like this would be a very unique read.
    I'm now a bit wary of it mostly because I'm quite a wuss and I fear I'll end up not reading for days after reading this one!! O_O
    Still, I'll be keeping this one on the wish list for sure!
    Great review, Jenny!

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  23. I heard this is like The Ring now the ring kinds of scared me. LOL. Thanks for sharing your thoughts Jenny!

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