Over the last year I’ve gone against faceless women, disfigured spirits, and grotesque revenants. Some people keep dangerous hobbies; skydiving and driving at monster truck rallies and glacier surfing. Me? I cast my soul into the churning waters of potential damnation and wait for a bite.
It’s been two years since Tark Halloway’s nightmare ended. Free from the evil spirit that haunted him all his life, he now aids the ghostly Okiku and avenges the souls of innocent children by hunting down their murderers. But when Okiku becomes responsible for a death at his high school, Tark begins to wonder if they’re no better than the killers they seek out.
When an old friend disappears in Aokigahara, Japan’s infamous ‘suicide forest’, both must resolve their differences and return to that country of secrets to find her.
Because there is a strange village inside Aokigahara, a village people claim does not exist. A village where strange things lie waiting.
A village with old ghosts and an ancient evil – one that may be stronger than even Okiku…
***I received this eARC as a gift in exchange for an honest review via NetGalley & Sourcebooks Fire
READ THIS BOOK IF:
- You’re a fan of Japanese horror
- You’re not queasy on blood and gore
- You want to sleep with the lights on
- Japanese superstition and beliefs in spirits were compelling and even more powerful than the last book. The ritualistic aspect of marriage, afterlife, and power were all coupled in with the great mystery of the hidden village in a forest made famous for suicide.
- Okiku and Tark’s relationship is thrown into chaos but through it all, their devotion to each other becomes even more clear.
- Okiku’s rebellious side and Tark’s inner darkness rise to the surface, their Supernatural-style hunts for the bad guys are twisted and sickening at times. Some allusions to sexual abuse, violence, etc. may be triggers for some, however brief they are. The violence and grotesque imagery is startling and detailed.
- The clues, all seemingly random, come together in a shocking, horrifying way. Mystery and desperation to propel the plot forward when things slow down and the constant capture of spirits feels a little tedious.
- The ending was resolved extremely quickly and without enough conflict. It felt clipped and far too easy after everything else that happened.
- The nightmarish, anxious feeling that was like its own entity in The Girl from the Well is muted and scenes that should have been hiding under the covers terrifying fell a little flat.
- There were some issues with time frame and jumps in years that altered through the story. A big reveal didn’t really make sense.
- Part of the story, mainly the first half, was like another book entirely. Focus was placed on Tark’s high school misfit status and his ventures in dating. While time with Okiku was obviously there (she never leaves), Tark’s conflicted feelings and Okiku’s jealousy were surprisingly light and not at all as explosive as I would have expected.
If you like any of the following, you’ll enjoy this: