September 8, 2015
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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.When I was about to start The Suffering, I worried maybe I had exaggerating how good The Girl from the Well (my review) was or how much I liked it. I was not - and I love The Suffering just as much.
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…
Author Rin Chupeco does a superb job taking the fact (though less known and lesser understood fact) and blending it with fiction. The parts that are real and those imagined that you won't be able to tell the difference.
I really liked that The Suffering takes place after two years. In The Girl from the Well, we were just meeting the characters, some of them were just meeting each other and Tark (and Cassie) were just getting to know about ghosts, possessions and the like - and Okiku. Now, they know about spirits, the danger they can pose about Okiku and now she is a part of Tark's life.
As is her hunting of murderers.
Now that Tarquin knows about ghosts, spirits and possessions, as well as how to fight them, The Suffering can take things to a whole new level.
The history, the folklore, the characters, setting and action created for The Suffering are absolutely fantastic. It is all creepy, freakish, a bit mind-bending and would be absolutely terrifying to experience. I absolutely loved it. From why the different ghosts are where and why they are to the role Tark plays in it to what action has to be taken, it's fantastic.
What keeps the novel from being too tense is Tark and, especially, his sense of humor. Somehow it doesn't come across as irreverence, even if he feels the need to call a ghost a 'douche bag.' It keeps things almost light, at times, fits his character and somehow puts you more in the moment. It really, really works.
This is one creepy, scary, incredibly well imagined and executed ghost story. I am sad to have (very likely) read the last of Tark and Okiku, but cannot wait to see what Rin Chupeco gives us next.
digital galley received from publisher, via NetGalley, for review