Friday, October 3, 2014

A creepy start for October

The Girl from the Well by Rin Chupeco. Sourcebook Fire, 2014. $16.99. Recommended for mature readers grades 8+

"I am where the dead children go... (p.1)."

Before you begin this book lock the doors, draw the curtains, turn on all the lights, check under the bed (if you dare), tell your children not to bother you with trivial requests for dinner and homework help, then try to read this book.

Okiku, a  young woman cruelly murdered centuries ago,
has traveled across continents and years,  gruesomely avenging murdered children and releasing the victims from this world. She, herself, is unable or unwilling to escape this existence. 

In  21st century America, she is attracted to Tark, the moody, teenage son of a Japanese mother and an American father. In him she senses an evi trapped in his tattoos.  This presence is gaining strength and becoming more and more threatening to Tark.  Can Okiku help him?

Chupeco has skillfully woven together several elements from American and Japanese cultures into a chilling and horrifying story in the vein of The Ring, The Grudge, and the Exorcist.  Clues about Okiku and Tark pasts are woven into the narrative, creating much suspense as past and present come together in a remote area in Japan. There, three powerful women will attempt to exorcise the evil spirit from Tark. Can they do it without killing him? 

Most of the novel is quite dramatic and atmospheric and I  especially found the juxtaposition of contemporary Japanese (and American) life with traditional Japanese beliefs fascinating.  Despite scenes of horror and gore, Chupeco's beautiful and descriptive writing enhances the legendary and other-worldly quality of the story:

"... like a leaf caught in the throes of a hidden whirlpool, slipping down without sound, away from sight. They [the dead] roll and ebb gently with the tides until they sink beneath the waves and I no longer see where they go (p. 1)."

 The first chapter can be found at Sourcebooks Store. Visit the Young Adult author's web site for more information about her and her writings.  

Review based on Sourcebook's e-galley downloaded from NetGalley

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