I’m obsessed with Rin Chupeco’s stories, and I must get the rest of their books! However, before you scroll down, please be aware that The Suffering is the second novel in the Girl From The Well series.
You don’t need to read Girl From The Well to understand The Suffering, but it helps, and it’s fantastic! I wrote a review on it a few days ago, which you can read here.
Where Girl From The Well is perfect for those, who love The Grudge and The Ring, The Suffering takes us to one of the most iconic locations in Japan. And it gives us a taste of a test of courage and will make you afraid of silkworms.
I won’t mention events in The Girl From The Well here, but there will be spoilers!
What is The Suffering?
Two years have passed since The Girl From The Well ended, and Tark is now helping Okiku with her brand of justice. He can see the ghosts forced to be attached to their murderers, and he’s gotten good at sewing.
Sadly, anytime Okiku drifts too far from him, other ghosts try to possess him. But Okiku can’t resist the voices in her head, so Tark is her willing partner.
And he doesn’t mind, except when Okiku tries to protect him from bullies in school, and he’s now an outcast. He’s OK with this, too.
It makes it easier for him to focus on helping Okiku until two of his classmates decide to play one-person tag. And they don’t follow the rules, and even disrespect the spirit they invited to play with them.
But Tark soon has other problems to handle. Okiku can also sense sexual crimes and kills the school hero after Tark tells her not to.
He wanted to gather evidence and let the law handle him. The conflict between them isn’t handled over a single chapter, and I’m glad at how Rin Chupeco explained both sides of the argument.
Unfortunately, Tark is one of the suspects in the murder, but he’s quickly cleared by multiple witnesses seeing him in a different part of town during the time of death. But what sets The Suffering apart is that this comes from Tark’s perspective.
The Suffering is his story, where The Girl From The Well is Okiku’s. And then the stakes get higher!
Aokigahara, Jukai, The Sea of Trees, and The Suicide Forest are where we spend most of our time in The Suffering. Unfortunately, an old friend has gone missing while leading the Ghost Haunts, through Aokigahara.
Tark, Okiku, and Callie waste no time going to Japan to find her. But it isn’t long before Tark and Okiku find themselves separated from Callie, and are now on the run as Ghost Brides attack them!
They eventually find a lost village and begin researching what happened to the town. But Okiku can only stay outside of Tark for so long, because she’s a spirit of water, and Aokigahara is home to powerful wood spirits.
Ancient rituals and sacrifices play a more significant role in The Suffering, and dolls are everywhere. The Hanayome ningyo, a bridal doll for children who died before marriage, is an important hint that things are not as they appear.
But Tark is more concerned with the human-sized silk cocoons scattered throughout the village. And why does that one ghost want him to know about a ritual concerning eight human sacrifices and a Hell Gate?
I love the ending, but I wish there were more in the series. Two books are not enough. Fortunately, Rin Chupeco has several books I can dive into!