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…
(Summary and pic from goodreads.com)
I was given a free copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.
My Review: One thing that really gets me in the mood for a fun Halloween season (because I LOVE Halloween!) is scary reading. Now there are lots of different ways to talk about “scary.” War, famine, post-apocalyptic, kidnapping, true crime, serial killers, ya know. The list goes on and yet I’m sure you know where I’m going with this. I don’t want that kind of scary for Halloween. I want uber creepy ghosts or Dracula or something that really gets me in the mood.
This book, my friends, fit the bill.
I think I can summarize this pretty simply by saying it’s based on Japanese ghost folklore. If you have read any Japanese ghost folklore, it’s really scary. The movie The Ring was actually based on Japanese folklore, and coincidentally, the first book in this series (The Suffering is the second book) was based on that same folktale. So if you still see that creepy black and white image of the girl climbing out of the well—hair all crazy and brushed forward—and get creeped out (in the best way possible!) then you should TOTALLY read this book. I’m serious. I reviewed the first book in the series, The Girl From the Well, and while I thought that one was scary and had some really fun, scary moments, I thought this one was scarier.
For instance—my husband was gone for four days. For three of those days, my mom and sisters and whole gaggle of kids came to stay with me and party at my house for the weekend. This book was so scary that if it was in a really scary part (read: the lion’s share of it minus the first few chapters and last few chapters) I wouldn’t read it at night for fear of the dreams and general creeped-out-ness that would come. AND THERE WERE A WHOLE GAGGLE OF KIDS! I mean, who gets scared when there are kids everywhere and the noise and festivity is through the roof? This is that kind of book.
Ghosts. Ghouls. Evil ghosts. Scary graveyardy situations. Mega-haunted villages. This book embraced all things Halloween. I seriously can’t tell you how fun and creepy it was. I just loved it. It really started my Halloween off right.
Now if you are looking for a literary classic, I have to admit that this probably isn’t it. It’s pretty standard YA Fic, complete with some competing love stories, sassy teens, said sassy teens “tricking” their parents, etc. It’s not super poignant or life-affirming, and the characters aren’t super developed and whole, but it didn’t matter. That’s not what this book was about. I am giving this book four stars just because it’s a really great ghost story. I haven’t been this scared about ghosts and loving it this much since I read Wait Till Helen Comes in fourth grade when my math teacher touched my shoulder and I jumped a mile. If you are looking for a really fun, really scary ghost story, you should check this book out. But it’s scary. Don’t say I didn’t warn you!
My Rating: 4 stars