on September 8th 2015
Genres: Young Adult, Paranormal
Breathtaking and haunting, Rin Chupeco's second novel is a chilling companion to her debut, The Girl from the Well.
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...
I’m a wuss. No, really. I have never seen a horror movie in my life, and every time I come across something gory or particularly scary, I flee like Snape before shampoo. I tend to stay away from the horror genre like the plague. Books, movies, doesn’t matter; if there’s gore and manslaughter involved, it’s not for me. Still, I’ve been feeling like I wanted to branch out a bit, and try some things I normally wouldn’t, which is why I requested The Suffering. It wasn’t until I got approved that I realised it was actually a sequel to The Girl From the Well. Nevertheless, I picked it up. And boy, did it pay off.
While I actually have no idea what happened in the first book, The Suffering starts off strong, gripping you from the very first page and doesn’t let go until the very ending. Our main character, Tark, is tied to a ghost called Okiku, who hunts killers for sport. That is until an old friend goes missing in Aokigahara, also known as the “suicide forest” in Japan. Tark and Okiku travel to Japan to assist in the search for Kagura and a crew of American self-proclaimed ghostbusters, and stumble upon a hell of a lot more than they bargained for, including a satanic death bride ritual, and a possible gate that leads to Hell.
Consider me amazed. While the beginning was enough to hook me hard, it dissipated a little until Aikogahara came into play. That’s when the fun begins. Not so much for Tark, but more so for the reader. As we learn more and more about a secret village smackdab in the middle of Aokigahara and the rituals performed there, an increasing feeling of “oh shit” crawls up your spine and makes you turn page after page.
The Japanese setting really added to the reading experience, in my opinion, especially once we got to the suicide forest. It was foreign and creepy and added a sense of ominous foreboding. And then we actually get to the village and all hell breaks loose – both literally and figuratively. Tark and Okiku battle against many malevolent spirits with lovely, mouldy grins and claws for fingernails who want nothing more than to give them a really big hug (and possibly eat them). The scenes in the village were intense and scary, but not cringe-worthy in a way that a wuss like myself won’t be able to sleep for the next decade. It was just the right amount of creepy and gross – it’s probably because it was supernatural horror that I got a kick out of it.
The Suffering was a complete gamble for me, but one that I don’t regret. It’s definitely put Rin Chupeco on my authors “to watch” (you know, in a non-creepy way), and I look forward to doing the right thing and actually read the first book in the series, because that’s from Okiku’s point of view and, well, it sounds pretty awesome. If it’s anything like its sequel, then I’ll be a very happy reader.
Thank you NetGalley for providing me with a copy