The Girl From the Well Book Cover

Rating: 3 stars

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 was an interesting read that kept me turning, wanting to find out more about what happened.

It was an enjoyable read because I found the author’s writing to be quite amazing. I enjoyed the way she weaved her story, including elements of description that made all of the horrific elements easy to believe. I loved her descriptions of the places the characters visited in Japan and how she weaved Japanese culture into the story to make sense of what happened with Okiku still inhabiting the world. Seeing another culture in a book full of horror and terror that explains all of the supernatural phenomena going on always adds more to the story and makes the universe surrounding it all the more real. Having this information in The Girl From the Well shows that the author did a lot of research before writing this story, allowing the reader to learn something new about a culture they might’ve not known before.

Another aspect of this book I enjoyed was seeing horror and terror implemented in the story. This was incorporated during the scenes where Okiku discovers another person who has killed children and goes after them in order to bring the murdered children retribution. I enjoy these scenes because they helped me get a better sense of Okiku’s character throughout the story and allowed me even better insight into her mind. They also reminded me of the American Gothic Literature course I took during my last semester of Columbia College and brought back so many fond memories.

But, there are some issues I have with this book that made it a little difficult to enjoy. While I didn’t overall mind reading the book from Okiku’s perspective, I didn’t absolutely love it either. There were times where I found her perspective jarring and difficult to read. For example, whenever she was getting herself involved in Tark and Callie’s lives and talked about them, there were times where I couldn’t absolutely tell who she was talking about. Those moments made me enjoying her perspective a little less. But at the same time, I also enjoyed reading the story from Okiku’s perspective because the reader saw things in the story that we wouldn’t have seen if the story was told from Tark or Callie’s point of view. We wouldn’t have gotten to see her murder any of the people who killed children and understand why she kills them. It is also the first time I’ve ever read a supernatural story told from the perspective of a spirit.

I also found some plot holes while reading this book that made it difficult to swallow. Some parts of the story were just completely rushed to the point where certain things happened that were left unexplained. For example, when Tark gets kidnapped in the story, he willingly goes in the stranger’s car. That struck me as odd, considering all of the things Tark has been through in his life with his mother. Then, there’s also the lack of time being explained in the story in the sense that I thought what happened throughout took place within a couple days, not a couple months.

Another issue I had with The Girl From the Well is the characters. While I like Okiku’s character, I thought that Tark and Callie were badly developed. While I liked them both as a whole, I didn’t really like how she developed both of them and think both of them are very flat characters. I feel as if Okiku is the only main character in the story even though the story is about Tark.

Despite these issues, I found this story was an okay read. I enjoyed reading the story because of the author’s writing and all of the supernatural elements and plan on reading the sequel The Suffering.