Title: The Suffering
Series/Universe: The Girl From The Well, #2
Author: Rin Chupeco
Publisher: Sourcebooks Fire, Sourcebooks Inc.
Publication date: September 8th 2015
Page Count: 320 pages
Age Rating: YA & Up (disturbing imagery, blood, gore, violence, death, and mentions of assault)
How I got my hot little hands on it: Received an ARC to review
Publisher’s page: The Suffering
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…
Okiku, the 300 year old vengeful spirit of a murdered Japanese teenage girl, and Tark, a seventeen-year old Japanese-American high school student/spirit magnet, are back in The Suffering, a companion novel to The Girl From The Well.
In The Girl From The Well, Okiku helped Tarq fight the evil living within his skin. Now the two are inseparable (literally). They make a bit of an odd team, what with one being a vengeful spirit who often looks like a rotting corpse and all, but the two are actually the best of friends. Okiku helps Tark with his hobby of exorcising spirits and Tark helps Okiku carry out her bloody vengeance on those guilty of horrible crimes against kids and teens.
There’s some growing pains between the pair as they both try to see things from the other’s perspective (especially in reference to violent murders – Okiku is pro, Tark is not, and it causes a little bit of strain between the two), but when an old friend needs their help, they puts aside their differences and travel to Aokigahara, Japan’s suicide forest. Once there, Tark and Okiku fight for their lives against new bloody-thirsty, flesh-ripping spirits, bonding over figuring out how to survive a vile ancient curse keeping them trapped in a centuries old, decayed village, and come to a deeper understanding about just how much they really mean to each other.
The author describes The Suffering as more of a companion novel than a sequel to The Girl From The Well, but seeing how it follows events from the first book and contains the same characters, I think it’s safe to call it a sequel. The major difference between this book and the first one is that The Girl From The Well was told from Okiku’s POV and The Suffering is from Tark’s.
Again, the author does a fantastic job of combining Japanese lore, legends, and locations together in this imaginative and wholly unique story. It’s also a wholly bloody and gory story – so be forewarned. There are some very creepy moments, I’m thinking specifically of Tark facing off against a possessed doll in the opening scene, making this the kind of book you curl up with when you’re in the mood to be scared.
I loved loved loved The Suffering. The combination of horror and history was perfect and I was completely captivated from creepy beginnings to the moving ending. Rin Chupeco is quickly becoming my favorite new horror author – I can’t recommend her books highly enough.
Location, Location, Location. The really exciting parts of The Suffering take place in Aokigahara, Japan’s suicide forest (a real place), in a possessed village that’s seen more than its share of horror. The dark, misty, haunting location was the perfect backdrop for the dark history that’s slowly revealed, piece by piece. With the dark history of this dark place in mind, I’m recommending Deadly Grounds Coffee Hell’s Fury – an extremely dark roast with a deep, dark, bold flavor.