Monday, 28 July 2014

Review: The Girl from the Well (yes, that well)

The Girl from the Well
Publication Date: August 5th 2014        
Publisher: Sourcebooks Fire
~A copy was provided by the publisher in exchange for an honest review~

You may think me biased, being murdered myself. But my state of being has nothing to do with the curiosity toward my own species, if we can be called such. We do not go gentle, as your poet encourages, into that good night.

A dead girl walks the streets.

She hunts murderers. Child killers, much like the man who threw her body down a well three hundred years ago.

And when a strange boy bearing stranger tattoos moves into the neighborhood so, she discovers, does something else. And soon both will be drawn into the world of eerie doll rituals and dark Shinto exorcisms that will take them from American suburbia to the remote valleys and shrines of Aomori, Japan.

Because the boy has a terrifying secret - one that would just kill to get out.

The Girl from the Well is A YA Horror novel pitched as "Dexter" meets "The Grudge", based on a well-loved Japanese ghost story
The Girl from the Well is one I'd love to say I loved, the concept was perfect for me. The ultimate scare because I absolutely freak out when it comes to these types of spirits/myths, as of Bloody Mary. The Ring scared the crap out of me, a few years ago insomnia kicked in and I couldn't sleep and I was too tired to read so I put the TV on, and guess what it just happens to be on? Yup. The Ring. Right were she's coming out of the well. Needless to say that night I didn't sleep at all and decided to stare at the static just to make sure nothing moved.
The Ring is based on two myths, the one being Oiwa of the Yotsuya Kaidan, who was fooled into drinking poison and murdered by her husband.  The second, which is what The Girl from the Well is  being based on, the Japanese Urban Legend myth of Okiku  The Dish Mansion at Banchō) of who was murdered by someone she loved and trusted from a higher social status than her, betrayed  and then thrown down a well. She's been around for hundreds of years and she is an Onryō an avenge spirit, hunting down child murderers all over the world to give, like her, the murdered victims the peace they need to and to untie them from their murderers so they are free.
I'm not going to lie, the opening scene is terrifying, so  you are warned in advance if you go to read it, because seriously, creepy and grotesque and a little unnerving, and I know I like creepy and weird and I have read similar works to this it did unnerve me a little. But that could have also been because I was reading it in the dark. So don't do that either, unless you want the ultimate experience, then go ahead. So on the horror/scare side of things I loved it and it did its job.
So what didn't work for me? The writing. The constant taking number on things and everything, whether it's objects or humans, that made me feel like I had OCD,  and It gave me a headache. You eventually get why, and the numbers play an important part in both the Okiku legend and the story The Girl from the Well is spinning. But, the more it was present, which was a lot, the more it jarred me out of the story and I had to reread paragraphs because of it, and by then it got annoying so I skipped over things completely.
The Girl from the Well  is also written in a way that gives us a wider view of what's going on through the multiple characters, but it isn't written in third person. It's written from the perspective of Okiku telling us what's going on which for me, led to the characters to being bland and devoid of any personality. Even Tark , who is supposed to be the most interesting out of the bunch, you learn. When they're supposed to be scared and scenes are supposed to be intense I just didn't get any emotion from them either so they couldn't carry the story, and the only reason I kept reading and finished it was to find out more about the Legend and the scary parts. If you took that out? I would've DNF'D it before the fiftieth page.
The Girl from the Well offers you scary lore and exorcisms which implies some intense scenes , and although it did deliver on the scary, it however, didn't deliver the intense and emotional response you'd expect from the characters.
Rating: 2.5-3-ish/5