Book Review - The Girl from the Well by Rin Chupeco
Updated: May 9, 2018
Kind of like The Ring, except this one is actually good!
What a fantastic debut! I'm all about supernatural thrillers, and Japanese culture and myths, and The Girl From The Well combines both with subtle skill. This book has been likened to a cross between "Dexter" and "The Ring", and that is pretty much spot on. Rin Chupeco has created something truly special here, a story of both great beauty and sinister malice. Up until a few days ago I had never heard of this book, so I am fortunate that a fellow Goodreads member sent me the recommendation, as it was right up my alley.
It's a story told in broad strokes, with the level detail varying depending on what is being described. In fact, character detail very nearly takes a backseat to the descriptions of locations and items. With some authors this can serve to detract from the story, but it works well with this particular tale. Part of the reason this incidental storytelling works is because the entire narrative is told from Okiku's point of view, so we see what she sees. Given that she is a spirit from another era, what she focuses on and what concerns her would be scattered at best, so it makes sense. Tark, and his cousin Callie, are capable and interesting characters in their own right, but since the story is strictly Okiku's to tell they aren't as fleshed out as they could be. But that's a minor concern, and really doesn't hurt the novel overall.
Everything else just works though. It's not the most graphic thing I've read, but it doesn't pull any punches either. Mrs. Chupeco has a very sparse and minimalistic writing style, so some of the gorier detail gets lost in the telling. What is conveyed well is the sense of dread and foreboding, and it's very easy to become engaged with Tark's struggle and how it pertains to Okiku and her own character arc.
I actually think that The Girl From The Well is very similar to Anna Dressed In Blood in both structure and tone, and fans of Kendare Blake's novels will likely enjoy this one as well. In fact, a search on Amazon for The Girl From The Well also pulls up the "Anna" novels as related search items. So yeah, if you like those, you'll like this too!
4 out of 5 waterlogged and furious stars!