September 9, 2015

Review: The Suffering

The Suffering Sequel to The Girl from the Well
By Rin Chupeco
Available now from Sourcebooks Fire
Review copy
Read my review of The Girl from the Well

I thought THE SUFFERING was a standalone novel, so I was very excited to start reading and realize that it is a sequel to THE GIRL FROM THE WELL.  It's two years later, and Tark and Okiku are still working out how things work now.  Okiku needs to hunt, and Tark is mostly fine with that.  But what about when Okiku sees someone who is going to kill and just hasn't escalated yet?  All debates have to be put on hold when Tark's mentor and friend Kaguya goes missing in Aokigahara with a crew of ghost hunters.

Rin Chupeco really punches up the horror in THE SUFFERING.  There are creepy dolls and cocoons full of writhing things and pits where you don't want to see what is at the bottom.  Tark has to figure out what went wrong in a village in the forest and set things to write, and the story that unfolds is horribly tragic and just plain sinister.  Talk about your towns with dark secrets.

I thought THE GIRL FROM THE WELL was terrific, and THE SUFFERING is so much more of what I loved.  Tark and Okiku's relationship is wonderfully complex and loving.  It's definitely unconventional, since he's a boy and she's the girl who is dead and possessing him to fend other ghosts off.   Then there's the way Chupeco combines Japanese mythology and horror tropes with modern American YA into a satisfyingly macabre and romantic tale.  It's a very cinematic style, and Chupeco can weave images with her words that make up for the lack of moving pictures.

THE SUFFERING does work well on its own.  You might not know how Tark and Okiku first came to know each other, but this is a self-contained adventure (or two).  I suggest reading THE GIRL FROM THE WELL first because a) it's a good book and b) you'll be completely up to speed, but you won't be horrifically lost if you read THE SUFFERING on its own.

Chupeco's series is fabulous for any horror fans looking to get a sense of creepy-crawlies hanging out behind them while they read.  I hope that a third book is coming. 

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