Even though horror is an international form of entertainment, and some fears are common, the Japanese horror market is not for everyone. But, there’s something to be said about watching a young girl/woman crawl out of a well.
With her lengthy, black hair, and typically white garments, you know something terrible is about to happen. But not everyone lives in Japan or has a well.
So if you murder or harm a child anywhere outside of Japan, you should be safe. That’s how it works in most cases.
But not in Rin Chupeco’s, The Girl From The Well!
What is The Girl From The Well?
In most horror stories, we learn about the ghost or the monster from someone else’s perspective. Even if the spirit has a tragic backstory, we’re not supposed to care about them outside of learning about their death and how to beat/control them.
But The Girl From The Well is different. The main character is Okiku. One of Japan’s most famous ghost stories and the inspiration behind The Ring franchise.
But there’s more than Okiku’s legend, also known in Japanese Folklore as Bancho Sarayashiki or The Dish Mansion at Bancho. The version Rin Chupeco uses is one of many.
In life, Okiku was a servant to a young lord, and she was in charge of 10 special plates. But one of the lord’s retainers wanted to kill him, and Okiku found out and warned the lord.
When the retainer learned that Okiku had revealed his plans, he broke one of the plates and framed her for it. The lord allowed the retainer to torture her and throw her body down a well.
We don’t know the details, but Okiku gets her revenge on the men who hurt her, and eventually, she leaves the castle grounds and Japan behind. Chapter 1 introduces us to her preferred method of killing, how she comforts and helps those who died similarly to herself, and makes all other ghost girls look like chumps.
It doesn’t matter when you did it, where you were or are, or if you genuinely regret your actions. If Okiku finds you, she will kill you.
And not even Tark, a young boy with tattoos that remind her of her home, can change that. But, luckily for Tark, he doesn’t have to.
Because Okiku sees him as a child and can sense the danger he’s in. But will she be able to save him from those who want him dead?
The Girl From The Well starts fast, continues to add tension, and ends on a bittersweet note. We meet fabulous characters, and there’s no info-dumping!
Everything feels organic, and I didn’t want to put it down. But the best part is there’s a sequel called The Suffering!
I’m reading it, and you can expect a review on that in a few days. I may have to pick up Rin Chupeco’s other stories at this rate.
There’s so much folklore, but it doesn’t overshadow the modern setting. Tark didn’t ask for the supernatural, nor did he do anything to deserve what happened to him.
But by the end of the book, both he and Okiku make hard choices and find a friend in each other. So if you like shopping at Walmart, grab the 2-n-1 omnibus edition of The Girl From The Well and The Suffering.
You can also find them on Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Indiebound, Bookshop, and Apple Store.