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Seventeen-year-old Tark knows what it is to be powerless. But Okiku changed that. A restless spirit who ended life as a victim and started death as an avenger, she’s groomed Tark to destroy the wicked. But when darkness pulls them deep into Aokigahara, known as Japan’s suicide forest, Okiku’s justice becomes blurred, and Tark is the one who will pay the price…

313 pages, Paperback

First published September 8, 2015

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Rin Chupeco

22 books5,299 followers

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Displaying 1 - 30 of 634 reviews
Profile Image for Miranda Reads.
1,589 reviews154k followers
December 9, 2020
Okiku, or better known as the Girl from the Well , has had quite the busy year.

She may be over three hundred, but she's still getting around. In the last few months alone, she's killed child murderers, fought evil demons and even attached her spirit to a human, Tark.

Tark narrowly survived a previous possession and his body has now become a vessel for malicious spirits, and Okiku, taking pity, decided to "possess" him to ward off other, greater evils.

And while Okiku is full of malice, she also has a strong sense of morals. She will continue to protect Tark as long as he indulges her own guilty pleasures...like murdering murderers.
“Everybody knows a killer,” I say, “even if they don’t know they do.”
She and Tark get along quite well, she sneaks off to drown child killers and he helps out with de-possessing some of the locals.
The air changes. Then that invisible spider crawls up my spine, tickling the hairs behind my neck.

I have come to know this spider these last couple of years. It whispers there’s something else in the room, breathing with you, watching you, grinning at you.
But there is something evil afoot.

Kagura, a shrine maiden who helped them last time, has gone missing in Japan's suicide forest and Tark (along with Okiku) may be the only ones who can help.

This was a good "sequel" (it's in quotes because this was more of a companion novel) - we are able to follow the adventures of Okiku once again but this time through the eyes of "her" human, Tark.

So, we were able to get much more evil-murderess-Okiku goodness, but now through the lens of her human companion.

I didn't mind the shit too much...but Tark's perspective felt a bit...lacking...
But flawed as we are, we are perfect together.

After all, I'm no hero.
Tark just has this flair for dramatics that had me wishing that we stuck with the murder-ghost-perspective.

Other than that, this one was definitely a fun read. Lots of mayhem and murder, with a healthy dose of creeptacular imagery on the side.

Audiobook Comments
Read by Michael Crouch - and he did a really nice job. Really made this book feel spooky!

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497 reviews2,420 followers
September 29, 2015
I don't think I've ever read a horror book that affected me as much as The Suffering did.

Jesus Christ, I swear I was on the verge of peeing my pants in sheer horror and thrill. Chupeco maintained the epic, horrific descriptions from the first book, and you're going to imagine every. Single. Detail. It's gore-y, it's scary as fuck, and it's delicious. I mean, come on--it's a JAPANESE HORROR STORY. Talk about epic. My heartbeat LEGITIMATELY sped up along with Tark's--okay, maybe even twice as often as his. The Suffering was that scary.

Not only were the descriptions spot-on, but also the plot itself. We're brought back Japan, this time deep within the Suicide Forest, where a hidden town is the subject of a current investigation. This book sort of stood as the main story for me, while the first book was, in a way, a backstory. The Suffering had an INTENSE mystery, one that'll keep you on the edge of your seat--but no matter how hard you clutch the seat, you're going to fall off. And by fall off, I mean you'll get your ass scared off no matter what.

Characterization was another aspect Chupeco excelled in perfecting. Tark was so easy to root for, being both hilarious, realistic and serious at the same time. But the best thing was that when he loves, he loves wholly... Dear Lord, my feels. ANYWAY, Okiku was her usual badass, killing machine self, but with much more feelings than in the first book.

And Chupeco did an amazing job feels-wise, too! I totally bawled my eyeballs out during some scenes--yep. This is not a drill! A TERRIFYING horror book made me cry to the point that my face hurt. I can't give too much away without spoiling the book, but let's just say there were scenes where y'all won't be able to help it... The tears will just flow naturally, believe me.

*I would like to dedicate a short sentence for the romance which I can't explain without spoiling but OMG it's so realistic and beautiful and complicated and asdfghjkl--gah.

Fans of horror, you need The Suffering in your lives. Horror newbies, you need The Suffering in your lives. Readers of all genres, you need The Suffering in your lives. HUMANS, ALIENS AND SPIRITS ALIKE, YOU NEED THE SUFFERING IN YOUR LIVES.

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Profile Image for Faye, la Patata.
492 reviews2,111 followers
September 1, 2015

This book seriously left me flabbergasted - and in a good way. I loved The Girl from the Well - it was scary and legitimate, it felt legitimate, and it really captured the thoughts of a ghost really well. I mean, of course I don't know how ghosts think, but the thoughts of Okiku in that book felt more realistic and so out there and so... vengeful and lonely in such a ghost-ly way. That's why I was so wary of picking up the second installment because I didn't want it to tarnish my love for the first book.

But of course, naive Faye was being naive because this book ROCKED MY SOCKS!

Or, to put it in more accurate terms... IT SCARED THE LIGHTS OUT OF ME!

I never expected this book to be so much better than its first installment, especially since we don't get Okiku's POV here at all - only Tark's - but goodness gracious me, I started reading this at 3:00 AM (a.k.a. the hour where ghosts and spirits and demons are supposedly at their strongest) and felt every hair on my body stand up on end due to fright and a very wild imagination. I had to sleep with my back facing the mirror, just in case... you know... GHOSTS AND STUFF. So what is Tark and company to do when an American ghost adventure crew and his friend Kagura go missing in Japan in their pursuit to find a legendary, lost village?

The best thing about this book that made it so scary to me was the mystery and history Tark and his friends had to unravel and solve in order to get out of their rather unfortunate situation alive. Have you guys ever heard of the Aokigahara in Japan? It's basically a huge land of trees and forage in this mountain where there is this sense of peacefulness and melancholy althroughout. It is also called Suicide Forest because this is a popular spot for people to hang and kill themselves. The fact that a century ago, there was a village here that did ancient, dark rituals? Aha, now you have yourself a pretty intriguing, mystifying, and creepy premise. This aspect here really made the book come alive for me... I could just imagine Tark and Okiku innocently walking in the forest looking for their friends, and then BAM, a village appears right in front of them that has been left to rot for years. Where is everybody? Why are there creepy dolls in the houses? HOLY SHIT, IS THAT A DEAD GIRL CRAWLING AT US AND MAKING STRANGE CACKLING SOUNDS OF DEATH?!


The mystery of the village, the backstory, how they were all presented and laid-out were just so well-done. It had the essence of that mysticism and uneasiness that you usually find in Japanese horror when you combine a bit of history, dark magic, and of course, mythology/urban legends. It had the atmosphere done right, too! I was legitimately scared while reading this. THIS IS NOT A JOKE. I WAS CLUTCHING MY BABY BOSTON TERRIER IN ONE ARM WHILE HOLDING MY COPY IN ANOTHER BECAUSE I JUST WANTED TO MAKE SURE I WAS STILL IN THE LAND OF THE LIVING. If you have played Fatal Frame (Japanese puzzle horror game where you walk around villages and houses trying to solve a riddle while battling ghosts with a camera), or have watched Higurashi no Naku Koro ni, then you should know what I'm talking about, and you should be expecting the same here. Creepy dolls used as vessels, dead girls coming at you full of vengeance and wrath, an ancient dark magic ritual and a tragic history... yep, this is what I'm talking about, baby.
The air changes. Then that invisible spider crawls up my spine, tickling the hairs behind my neck. I have come to know this spider these last couple of years. It whispers there's something else in the room, breathing with you, watching you, grinning at you. I hate that damn spider. For one moment, the doll's stringy brown hair flitters a shiny black under the fluorescent lights. For one moment, the doll's glassy gaze takes on the faintest tinge of malicious self-awareness. For one moment, that thing's head breaks through the water's surface and looks at me.


Hell hath no fury like a butcher... scorned?

And there was Tark... Tark's POV made everything else so much better. He had this humor that was so amazingly done and quite realistic. I really love this guy. He was someone who didn't care what others think about him, and someone who didn't scorn the fact that he was stuck with a ghost 24/7. Then again, Okiku was a pretty kick-ass female ghost so I wouldn't be complaining, either! I love how despite the fact that he was scared of what's to come (unlike other pseudo alpha male heroes, this guy doesn't battle it out with a vengeful ghost without preparing just because he can), he's still so determined to protect those who are dear to him. He still gets scared. As in piss-my-pants-scared-and-vomit-my-guts-out-scared, but he's so brave for still walking forward and facing whatever atrocities not only to save his friends but also for the innocent souls that were still writhing in agony and suffering.

Plus, did I mention how he was funny?
Don't look behind you. Don't look behind you. Don't look behind you. That's how people die in movies. Don't look behind you.

I look behind me.

I scan the room with my flashlight, trying to listen for any sounds of scratching and thumping, but I don't seem to be sharing the space with anyone else, incorporeal or otherwise. Then I devote a minute or two to rocking myself on the floor and whimpering, because holy hell, that was scary as fuck.

Six girls meant six dolls. I now understand the purpose of one-man tag in this village. To contain their ghosts, I'll have to play with each of them.

"Oh, shit," I say again, just because I can. The thought of playing another game of one-man tag is enough to make me weep, let alone six more.


And damn, the mystery, plot, atmosphere, creepiness - they all fucking delivered, man. I was a very happy woman when I finished this book, even more so with the ending. THAT ENDING. THAT FLAWED, REALISTIC, AND YET SO UNBELIEVABLY AMAZING ENDING THAT LEFT ME TEARY-EYED. I didn't expect it to end the way it did, but it was perfect, let me tell you. Tark and Okiku is such a great team and I'm fervently, crazily wishing we won't see the end of them.

Dear Ms Chupeco,

Seriously, this isn't the end of Tark and Okiku's adventures right?! THERE WILL STILL BE MORE GHOST ADVENTURES SET IN JAPAN, RIGHT?! I would be so sad if this will be the end of everything, because this two are perfect, you write amazingly great mystery and creepy scenes, and I simply. Want. MOOOORE!!!!

Please, guys, read it. Don't be put off by the series cover makeover (really, why did they do this?! The original cover was such a great concept! D:) because this is top-notch horror and mystery all in one. It seriously feels like watching a scary Asian movie, giving you the scary feels only an Asian horror movie can give.
Profile Image for Beatrice Masaluñga.
1,136 reviews1,663 followers
February 10, 2017
An amazing sequel for Girl from the Well. The plot is better and scarier than the first book. I was up on a rainy night and seriously gave me goosebumps. Rin Chupeco's way of describing each scene gives an eerie ambiance and the ghosts really scared the batshit out of me!

Tarquin / Tark is a great hero and I love how it's told in his perspective. He and Okiku shared this bond, together they hunt bad people to give justice to unrested souls and gave them peace. Okiku is my favorite ghost. Despite having a scary look [Sadako / Kayako look-alike -- which is creepy af.], she is a good one and I can't help loving her. Their quest begins when Kagura went missing in the forest of Aokigahara-known as "suicide forest"-along with American ghost hunters. Legends surround on the said forrest and these ghost hunters are about to find out.. until they're lost.

I'll stop here to avoid spoilers. Overall, I really love the adventure and ending. I highly recommend this book to everyone, especially if you're looking for a YA Horror novel. GAH! I WANT MORE TARK AND OKIKU!!
Profile Image for Melissa ♥ Dog/Wolf Lover ♥ Martin.
3,406 reviews9,542 followers
July 7, 2015

This second installment of The Girl From The Well is even better than the first. I loved it!

There is still a lot of creepiness going on, but now Tarquin and Okiku (the girl from the well) are teamed up, as you know if you read the first one, and taking out the bad people and ghosts.

The beginning of the book starts out with a bang. Tark and Ki have to exercise a ghost and it's not as easy as it sounds :) And after all that fun stuff Tark has to go to school by day, he's still a teen in school.

There are some evil things he finds out about some kids he goes to school with and it's a little hard to deal with, but it's all in a days or nights work, right?

At one point, Tark, his friend Callie, and Ki head over to Japan to help find their friend Kagura. She was taking out a group of ghost hunters from the US to the suicide forest and they got lost so to speak.

They find out a lot of things like ritual killings along with suicides have went on in this forest. And of course, it's filled with ghosts.

Once Tark and Callie are in the woods with a ton of other volunteers they soon become separated from each other and people. Tark and Ki have to fight off other ghosts. Some won't mess with Ki as she is a strong ghost, but here in the forest it's taking a toll on her.

There are some sad things happen toward the end and I was so unhappy, but then something changed and made it all the better.

I really love this book and I am hoping to read more from this author. I'm hoping there is not going to be another one of these books because I am afraid something bad will happen again and not be fixed! I think it ended on a great note and I am happy with it. I am going to buy these books and add to my collection. They have the great level of creepiness I like along with the revenge factor that I love even more.

I would recommend to all horror/suspense fans.

**I would like to thank NETGALLEY and SOURCE BOOKS Fire for a copy of this ARC in exchange for my honest review.**
Profile Image for Inge.
347 reviews880 followers
February 7, 2017
4.5 stars

I'm a wuss. No, really. I have never seen a horror movie in my life, and every time I come across something gory or particularly scary, I flee like Snape before shampoo. I tend to stay away from the horror genre like the plague. Books, movies, doesn’t matter; if there’s gore and manslaughter involved, it’s not for me. Still, I’ve been feeling like I wanted to branch out a bit, and try some things I normally wouldn’t, which is why I requested The Suffering. It wasn’t until I got approved that I realised it was actually a sequel to The Girl From the Well. Nevertheless, I picked it up. And boy, did it pay off.

While I actually have no idea what happened in the first book, The Suffering starts off strong, gripping you from the very first page and doesn’t let go until the very ending. Our main character, Tark, is tied to a ghost called Okiku, who hunts killers for sport. That is until an old friend goes missing in Aokigahara, also known as the “suicide forest” in Japan. Tark and Okiku travel to Japan to assist in the search for Kagura and a crew of American self-proclaimed ghostbusters, and stumble upon a hell of a lot more than they bargained for, including a satanic death bride ritual, and a possible gate that leads to Hell.

Consider me amazed. While the beginning was enough to hook me hard, it dissipated a little until Aikogahara came into play. That’s when the fun begins. Not so much for Tark, but more so for the reader. As we learn more and more about a secret village smackdab in the middle of Aokigahara and the rituals performed there, an increasing feeling of “oh shit” crawls up your spine and makes you turn page after page.

The Japanese setting really added to the reading experience, in my opinion, especially once we got to the suicide forest. It was foreign and creepy and added a sense of ominous foreboding. And then we actually get to the village and all hell breaks loose – both literally and figuratively. Tark and Okiku battle against many malevolent spirits with lovely, mouldy grins and claws for fingernails who want nothing more than to give them a really big hug (and possibly eat them). The scenes in the village were intense and scary, but not cringe-worthy in a way that a wuss like myself won’t be able to sleep for the next decade. It was just the right amount of creepy and gross – it’s probably because it was supernatural horror that I got a kick out of it.

The Suffering was a complete gamble for me, but one that I don’t regret. It’s definitely put Rin Chupeco on my authors “to watch” (you know, in a non-creepy way), and I look forward to doing the right thing and actually read the first book in the series, because that’s from Okiku’s point of view and, well, it sounds pretty awesome. If it’s anything like its sequel, then I’ll be a very happy reader.

Thank you NetGalley for providing me with a copy
Profile Image for Paige  Bookdragon.
938 reviews608 followers
October 6, 2015
The problem with doing a review for an amazing book is that you feel so inadequate that you keep on deleting the review that you were writing.Thus pissing me off.


But I'll do try my best to give justice to this book. This is one of those books that raises those tiny hairs in my neck while I was reading this and makes me avoid reading this horror novel in the middle of the night.

I don't want to imagine this kind of thing creeping in my house, thank you very much.


The Suffering is wonderfuL. I don't watch horror movies because I'm a wimp, but when it comes to horror novels, I want to get scared as much as possible.

And The Suffering gave me the scare of the year.

This time,Tark is the one who narrates the story and ohmygoshheissofunny. I know you'll love a hero who could make you laugh and at the same time make you scream, " Look behind you!The bitch is coming!

Tark and Okiku went to Japan, this time to save a friend who has gone missing. And guess where those two went?

Aokigahara, Japan’s infamous ‘suicide forest’

Like, does that not scream "GHOSTS LEVEL 10000X" to you? Because it does to me.


So of course, they didn't listen to my sound advice. They went to that blasted forest, and guess what again.

Ghosts. Evil fucking scary ghosts who wants to rip you to pieces.


And the worst part is. There are six of them who wants your blood.


There are some moments when I have stop reading for a moment because darn youRin Chupeco . You know how to write scary shits.


Other than the horrors that this book specializes, The Suffering also has some tender moments between Tark and Okiku. I love the way their relationship progresses from the possessed and the ghost to friendship *wink wink*.

I do hope there will be some novella about Tark and Okiku's vigilante ways. I will surely miss them.

Profile Image for ☠Kayla☠.
211 reviews72 followers
Want to read
February 6, 2020
This book is a DNF because I'm actually getting pretty bored of it. It's not as good as the first one. I do plan on trying to get through it but it won't be for a bit.
Profile Image for Sara.
1,057 reviews353 followers
December 22, 2021
3.5 stars

The Suffering is a continuation of Okiku and Tark's story. One is a vengeful ghost who hunts down those who steal the lives of innocents, the other is a teenage boy who attracts malevolent beings. Together they're like a Dexter type duo, taking out the wicked creatures of the world. Drawn to the darkness that inhabits Aokigahara however, they may find that there is some forces even they can't defeat.

This didn't captivate me as much as The Girl from the Well and I think it's due to the change in narration. Instead of Okiku, this is told from Turk's perspective and we loose at lot of the mystery and creepiness that came with Okiku's inner monologue. That's not to say this wasn't scary. There were certain scenes, particularly right at the beginning, that absolutely terrified me and really set the tone of the novel. It does a great job of creating this ominous over arching malevolent feel, emphasising this idea that there's so much evil in the world. It genuinely scared me more than a lot of horror I've read this year.

I also thought the relationship between Okiku and Turk was good. We see them both struggle to accept this situation they've found themselves in, with Turk starting to gain independence and move on with his life while still being dragged in Okiku's world against his will. There's a mural respect between them, even love, but it's tainted by an obligation and all consuming need to seek revenge.

I do think that the story feels very much to be split in two. The first half is more about Turk and his life, focusing on school and friends, before suddenly moving to Japan and the Aokigahara forest. It felt a bis disjointed and could perhaps have been written with a smoother transition. I also found a bit of the lore in the second half to be lacking.

Overall however, this managed to be one of the best horror books I've read this year and hit that sweet mark between scares and story well.
Profile Image for Taylor.
767 reviews423 followers
July 19, 2015
I read The Girl from the Well last year and I also reread it this year. I enjoyed it so much both times and I couldn't wait to read The Suffering. I really had no doubt that I would love this book as much as the first and I wasn't let down at all.

The Suffering is everything you would expect if you've read the first book. It's just as weird, creepy, and amazingly written as the first book.
The characters were all really well written. I think that's what impressed me the most, how well written the characters were.
I loved the culture in this book! I learned so many cool things about Japan and the diversity of this book really stands out.

Overall, I highly recommend this series. If you like YA horror or if you're interesting in the genre, this is definitely a book to picked up. Rin Chupeco is such an awesome writer and I'll buy any and all of her future books.
Profile Image for Faith Simon.
191 reviews163 followers
February 13, 2019
2 1/2 stars.
After giving an enthusiastic 4 stars to The Girl from the Well, I'm sad to be so disappointed in this second installment.
I think the point of view being from a ghost derived from Japanese legend in the first book was a lot of what made it so interesting and enjoyable, but in this book, we aren't treated to Okiku's point of view at all. Most of the time, I found myself incredibly bored. I didn't care about Tarkin's life in the first book, and I cared even less in this one. Unfortunately for me, this entire book is basically centred around him. From his narration, Okiku seemed less like a creepy ghost and more like a weird love interest (which, I don't even want to get into this. I'm not against a ghost as a love interest, but this... it's just weird).
The beginning of the book had promise, with Tarkin and Okiku an unconventional team hunting ghosts and spirits, and maybe if the book had just had different cases for them to work on together rather than a few tiny ones and one big one, I might've found this book more enjoyable.
I read this book via audiobook, and I really enjoyed the narration, the narrator was very expressive when the need arose and had different voices for different characters which I appreciated. Also, his voice during creepy ghost visions was well suited to the situation, very creepy.
Speaking of reading this by audiobook, this story does have a mystery that is interesting and complex, but I'm fairly certain I missed a lot of what was happening. I think that if I had read this book as a physical book I wouldn't have missed so much (not my fault I couldn't find ANY copies), from my early disinterest, I found it hard to listen to details that I should have, and as a result you have a thrilling mystery that I didn't really get closure for because I wasn't paying attention half the time. This isn't the books' fault, and I think I would have been way more engaged if I had taken in the information at my own accord, it just didn't work for me through audio.
The ending felt really rushed, 100 days go by like nothing, and apparently, there's this entity inside Tarkin that we get no visuals for and is never really explained at all, and then boom, the book is over.
Regardless, this is not a worthy sequel at all. This sequel felt like a money grab rather than any attempt to try and write a book that would be any bit as good as the first book. Did anyone really request a second book from Tarkin's point of view?? Why would anyone do that, seriously?
Profile Image for Mlpmom (Book Reviewer).
2,991 reviews363 followers
September 8, 2015
Having loved the richly dark and creepy Japanese lore from the first book, it was without a second thought (other than if the lights were on, it was daylight out, and someone else was home with me) that I picked up The Suffering.

I was so ready to be on that scary roller coaster ride with Tark and Ki once again and couldn't wait to strap in, hang on tight, and get the ride of a lifetime, or at the very least, be scared silly by the thought of the creepy possessed dolls and monsters that seemed to lurk around every corner or rather, persons, from the first book.

I was not disappointed.

This time told in Tark's point of view, the story was not only ramped up in every way possible, but so much fun coming from a male (sarcastic) point of view. I didn't realize how much I loved Tark until getting inside his head and seeing things the way he does.

And yes, in case you were wondering, the fear factor is definitely ramped up as well. Chuleco knows how to write and write well. This story was completely captivating and wonderfully done.

The lore, the monsters, the curses, possessions, ghosts, demons, I just loved all of it. The ending was very satisfying as well. I am so happy I took a chance and gave this series a try. It really was entertaining and creepy in all the right ways.

*An ARC Copy of this was provided by the Publisher in exchange for an honest review.*
Profile Image for Rashika (is tired).
976 reviews713 followers
August 12, 2015
***This review has also been posted on The Social Potato

Last year, I read and adored The Girl from the Well but for some reason, it completely slipped by me that The Suffering wasn’t a new standalone, but rather the sequel to The Girl From The Well. Given that it had been some time since I had read the book, it also took me some time to catch on but when I finally realized that this was a sequel, my memory was awoken and I started remembering things from The Girl from the Well and became even more invested in this novel.

For starters, I just want to say that I LOVE how Chupeco weaves in aspects of Japanese culture in both the books. The books aren't just about terrifying you and being creepy. Chupeco brings the books to life by weaving in so many details (including but not limited to food porn that will make your mouth water) that enhance the book and make me feel as though I am right there. It also made me feel more invested because I was learning things. I never felt as though Chupeco was drawing on stereotypes to draw us in but rather the richness of Japanese culture to entice us into wanting to know more.

That said, this book was flippin’ scary. I happened to be reading it at night and because my bed is by the window, my imagination went into overdrive and I became scared because I could just imagine some ghost randomly appearing and scaring the bejezus out of me and then I had to stop reading because I couldn’t stop being terrified. I think this should be a lesson to not read horror stories at night (although what fun is that?)

I was SO HAPPY to be reunited with these characters, though! I didn’t expect it and when it happened, I was ready to welcome them with open arms. My one issue was that I reallllly missed being inside Callie’s head. I’d say that The Girl from the Well was more of her book whereas The Suffering is definitely Tark’s. Tark has also grown up since The Girl from the Well and I loved what we saw him grow into. I especially loved his relationship with Okiku. Okiku has been essential to both books and here we really get to see how the two have fared since we last saw them.

Tark is an amazing character. Let’s just start off by saying that. He has suffered so much over the course of his life and he has finally found some peace in the form of Okiku. He has found companionship in a ghost who chose to protect him instead of doing whatever she could have wanted. Tark is also such a sweetheart and I adore him. He may not be a normal teenager but Chupeco never lets us forget that he is a teenager, normal or not. He is just as prone to making stupid decisions because of emotions and his need for adventure. What sets him aside though is his maturity because you can tell how the events of his life have shaped him. He makes choices he is aware of and he realizes that they aren’t the best and doesn’t ever see himself as any sort of hero.

We get to see Tark be courageous, brave and so so human over the course of the book as he and Okiku venture into Aokigahara, the suicide forest of Japan, in search of a ghost village and to save Kagura’s life. This ghostly adventure is just as creepy as it sounds and I LOVED IT. The backstory of the village and the forest seem well researched and set up. Chupeco knew exactly what she was doing . She knows how to draw in her readers and keep their attention.

One of my favorite things about this book is the relationship between Okiku and Tark. They have the kind of relationship that is hard to name because you don’t know if it’s romantic or not. It seems romantic and you kind of want it to be romantic but it doesn’t matter because what they have is special, no matter what label you give to it. They are there for each other and will fight to the death for one another because they care. They are supportive and amazing and GAH. I HAVE SO MANY FEELS FROM THIS RELATIONSHIP! They are just so shippable even if it’s hard to understand their relationship at times because it’s not normal.

Chupeco does such a great job with this novel and I just want to give kudos to her (read: tackle hug) because this book blew my mind away. Basically, it wouldn’t be a stretch to assume I will read anything she puts out. So yes, GO READ THIS BOOK but also go read The Girl from the Well if you haven’t done so already because I cannot tell you how much you are missing out on.

Note that I received an eARC of this book from the publisher in exchange for an honest review
Profile Image for Yodamom.
1,982 reviews195 followers
November 22, 2018
Scary, dark, sometimes sad, with fabulous narration. It was even better than the first one for me. I loved the visit to the Japanese suicide forest. The history of the ghosts was so dark, I loved it. It hit my wicked dark loving spot perfectly.
Profile Image for Obsidian.
2,709 reviews928 followers
October 1, 2022
The second book in "The Girl from the Well" series was solid. I think the end dragged a bit and honestly the ending didn't really work for me. I think I would have preferred if Chupeco had gone another way. Once we read about one ritual that a strong priest or priestess could do, I kind of saw the ending coming a mile away. That said I loved the overall plot of Tark and Okiku returning to Japan to save Kagura well as fight against a ghost that has managed to trap an entire village and girls who were chosen to be brides and to "suffer" in order to open a Hell's Gate. 

"The Suffering" takes place a couple of years after the first book. We have Tark, now 17, still off hunting murderers with Okiku in the Washington D.C. area. Tark is used to being seen as an odd-ball around his school. He has plans to attend Brown University and is doing some exorcisms to keep his skills sharp. When Tark ends up helping out a cool kid and his girlfriend at his school, it seems that Tark is on the cusp of something more with a girl named Kendele. But with Okiku ends up doing something that may force the twosome to grow farther apart. When Tark's aunt, Kagura goes missing after escorting a group of ghost hunters in the Aokigahara, Tark and his cousin Callie return to Japan to help her. There, Tark meets something more sinister than he has ever had to go up against.

Unlike with the prior book, you only follow Tark's point of view throughout this story. We don't get Okiku's point of view which was a shame. We also get Tark's thoughts via victims he is freeing while in Japan and of course him getting into the head of murderers via Okiku. It was good to read Tark's point of view and his struggle to still do what Okiku needs while also not condoning her murdering people before they kill. When the story shifts to Japan the pace moves faster, but you do still see Tark and Okiku's bond. I thought Chupeco did a great job again of weaving in Japan's mythology into the core story. 

The other characters we find in this one are interesting. For example, we get to find out more about Kagura's late father. 

The writing was good, the pace was a bit up and down. Towards the end I was wondering if the book was going to ever end. But nope we had two more chapters to go. 

The setting of Japan and a village that is haunted by its past was great. I wish we had more time to stay in the story of a man who is determined to rule Hell's Gate, no matter what he has to sacrifice. I will say though that the book leaves open the possibility of another book in this series. I do wonder if Chupeco will do so. 
Profile Image for Ksenia (vaenn).
436 reviews203 followers
February 2, 2021
Рецепт горору: візьміть мертву японську дівчинку з невгасимою люттю... Хоча нє, візьміть багато мертвих японських дівчат з невгасимою люттю - горору від цього тільки покращає! А точно? Бо я вже не впевнена.

Перша книжка цієї дилогії - The Girl from the Well - кілька років тому купила мене бадьорим переінакшенням цілковито традиційного кайданового сюжету. ��ласична мертва японська дівчинка з колодязя (тм) дуже вдало каналізувала характерну ЛЮТЬ - вона вештається світом та затято й смаковито вбиває вбивць безневинних. Якось трапився їй на цьому шляху американо-японський підліток-медіум, в якого з неживими й демонічними істотами доволі непрості стосунки, а далі - бац-бац, гірка трупів, кілька екзорцизмів, складна командна робота - все доволі безтямне, але жвавеньке, добре зайшло.

Виявилося, що з другим купанням в тій самій криниці вже значно гірше складається. Починається The Suffering дуже багатообіцяльно - як пекельна суміш підліткових жахастиків й виробничого роману. Таркові вже 17 і йому якось треба поєднувати плани на вступ до коледжу з екзорцистськими вправами, а несміливі стосунки з популярною дівчиною - з ревнивим поглядом з-під завіси довгого волосся, що онде, зі стелі, витріщається. На моменті "Ні, Окіку, ми не можемо вбивати тих, хто ще не вбив, а тільки мріє про це" я вже радісно потирала жадібні єнотячі лапки: моральні дилеми! подвійне життя! пекло - це інші, особливо ті, що напіврозкладені й кровожерливі! - але. Але сюжет взяв і перескочив на інші коліщатка. Хутко переїхав до Японії і повів ще класичнішу оповідь про загублене село, про гнів жертв та про тупеньких американських телевізійників, котрі самі в привидів не вірять, але вперто лізуть в зону дії прокляття. А, ще трохи про договірні шлюби, користь шовкопрядів в ритуалах та невмируще кохання, бо без нього ж не освятиться. От як сурвайвал-горор "Виживи поміж купи злобних мертвих дівчат" The Suffering цілком ок. Але а) все ж таки нуднувато, бо повторів забагато; б) та скільки ж можна; в) нездоровий статус-кво в ролі щасливого фіналу - здається, я вже too old for this shit. А шкода, трансгресивний потенціал в серії був нічо' такий, але удару підліткового уявлення про романтичний ідеал витримати не зміг.
Profile Image for Rayne.
852 reviews288 followers
August 31, 2015
The Suffering is the perfect example of how much an author can grow and learn between books, how experience can be a wonderful teacher if the person is willing to develop and work their craft. About a year ago, The Girl from the Well left me feeling disappointed. It showed promise and was a decent debut novel as a whole, but there was potential wasted and it ended up being a slightly underwhelming novel. So it was with no small amount of apprehension that I approached The Suffering. As it turns out, I had absolutely nothing to worry about.

With a more structured plot, more focused storytelling and meticulous writing, Chupeco fulfilled with the Suffering the promise her debut novel had, ultimately delivering with this one the great novel that The Girl from the Well should’ve been. Instead of shifting back and forth between multiple points of view, The Suffering concentrated on the narrative of Tarquin alone. Of course, reading from the perspective of Okiku sounds more appealing, but the flow of the story worked a lot better this time around by fixating only in Tarquin’s POV, and stranger still, Okiku was even more compelling a character through the eyes of Tarquin as well. The result reminded me of Anna Dressed in Blood to some extent, as they are both told from the perspective of a teenage boy with a mystifying connection to a girl ghost that enjoys tearing people apart – not to mention the inclusion of the infamous Aokigahara forest in Girl of Nightmares, which is the setting of most of the action in The Suffering as well – but that’s where the similarities end.

Tarquin is a decent narrator, perhaps not as compelling as Okiku was in the first novel (ignoring the slightly frustrating and repetitive bouts of fractured narration, which are successfully contained in this novel, resulting in a more satisfying use of that technique), but a very engaging and solid point of view nonetheless. He carries the weight of the novel well, and what’s interesting is that even he is aware that he’s hardly the most important or fascinating point in the novel, so a lot of attention is given to Okiku, their relationship and the horrors they are experiencing, as opposed to a more introspective look at his life and what he feels. There were certain points where he failed to come across as a believable teenage boy to me, but it was still a commendable effort on the author’s part, and in any case, fulfilled its intended point extremely well. His voice conveyed beautifully the confusing, disturbing but ultimately touching nature of Tarquin and Okiku’s relationship, which I loved to see developed in this novel. The writing, likewise, is fantastic, a bit repetitive a handful of times, but perfectly suited to the style of the novel.

The Suffering is legitimately creepy and a very well-executed YA horror novel as a whole. It was chilling and disturbing, and it delivered flawlessly the Japanese horror atmosphere while maintaining the due respect and loyalty to the culture. Unlike the first one, the introduction to Japanese culture didn’t take over the narrative and plot, and instead was worked seamlessly into the story. Chupeco never left the reader blind to what was happening and dealt important – and very fascinating – information about the customs and background that shaped the atmosphere of the novel without it ever feeling like info-dumps. Moreover, it was all so mesmerizing. I love Japanese culture and learning about these dark bits of history (real or inspired by reality, both) was immensely fascinating and riveting.

This novel kicks off strongly and it remained a thoroughly gripping read from beginning to end, never once relinquishing its complete hold on my attention or lagging in any way or form. The story is fast-paced and wildly entertaining, but never is the complexity of the novel sacrificed in exchange for breakneck speed and enjoyment. It dealt twists into the story that melded together almost perfectly, and I didn’t even mind the seemingly disjointed first third of the novel that deals with a situation in America rather than Japan, because it all fit together so well. Chupeco managed to keep the intensity of the story all the way through, keeping me focused and entertained even in the most passive of moments in the story. This is a book that I positively did not want to stop reading, and I can’t remember the last time that happened to me.

The entire half of the novel dedicated to the Aokigahara forest, the dolls, the Hell’s gate and the ritual was very near perfection to me. Chupeco didn’t hold back with the horror, death and disturbing brutality, and still, somehow she managed to intersect legitimately touching moments of love, friendship and bravery. The climax and ending of the novel were amazing. I had my doubts about it when I saw it coming, but the result was unexpectedly satisfying, very different from what other novels would’ve done, and provided for a perfect ending to this series, perpetuating the morally ambiguous and anti-hero air of the novel that set it apart from others in the genre from the very beginning.

In spite of the rocky start that was The Girl in the Well, I am very sad to see this series come to a close. The Suffering was a fantastic book in its own right, but it excels as a sequel because of the way it managed to take the good from its predecessor and deliver a superb continuation to the story that tops the original in every single way. Chupeco’s growth as an author is palpable all throughout this novel and firmly positions her within the group of authors I am keeping a very close eye on from now on. In all likelihood the best Japanese-inspired YA horror novel I’ve read, The Suffering is an excellent conclusion to a solid duology and one of my favorite novels of the year.
Profile Image for Crina (Reading Addict).
355 reviews267 followers
February 6, 2016
This was better than the first one; we find out more about the characters, the plot is more complex, the suspense at some point get so high that you forget to breathe, action packed and the ending... so lovely.

My only problem with this book, or duology, is the writing style. To me it seemed so flat, plain, monotone. I felt nothing because of it and it diluated so much the story. Compared with the characters, the plot and the idea of this series, the writing style is mediocre or just ok... and that bothers me, because maybe that's why this is not so popular or people can't get into it. Because scary as Hell is not, or I'm just used to a lot more scary stuff, the story is interesting and the fact that we learn so much about Japanese culture it's very cool. Especially this second book has so many things and details mixed in it... I was very glad when I saw them.

I recommend you this book and this duology and maybe the writing style will work for you, and if it doesn't please, please try again, cause the story is really worth it. I gave this rating just for the story, cause the writing style is meh.
Profile Image for Yzabel Ginsberg.
Author 3 books102 followers
August 11, 2015
[I received an ARC of this book through NetGalley, in exchange for an honest review.]

Like the first novel in this series, I find this one hard to rate, as I liked quite a few things in it, while sighing at others. Probably my main issue with it was that it introduced plot lines, but didn't really follow them. All the while, the main story *was* a grabbing read nonetheless.

This time, the whole narrative is in Tark's voice, which probably was for the best: I liked the weird prose in the first book, but I'm still not too convinced by 1st-to-3rd person shifts in general, so I tend to prefer when a story sticks to one or the other. Bonus point here. (I've written this in more than one review: having one narrator in 1st person and the others in 3rd seems to be The Trend these past years... and I still don't get why.)

Tark was also much less annoying here. Two years have gone by, he's matured, he's been taking things into his own hands, and while aware of his inherent darkness (since he helps Okiku hunting down paedophile killers and rapists), he also accepts it as part of how their relationship has evolved. Of course, everything isn't perfect, they have their disagreements, and Tark's starting to wonder where the line is to be drawn—is punishing killers enough, or does one have to start killing them before they actually start killing, as a preventive move?

The thing is, I would've liked to see this explored more in the story, as it was a great moral theme. It wasn't, or not more than just for a couple of scenes. Too bad.

Instead, "The Suffering" goes in another direction. Not necessarily a bad one, just... different. It had its share of darkness and scary scenes as well, playing more on abilities Tark developed over the past two years, exorcising ghosts through dolls. Creepy dolls in America. Wedding dolls in Japan, as he and one of the miko from "The Girl From The Well" find themselves trapped in a nightmarish village where a ritual is waiting to be completed. It doesn't help that Tark gets swallowed by this place while there are dozens of people around him, and nobody even notices. That kind of scene tends to both creep me and grab my attention (must be my old addiction for anything Silent Hill-like). And the village didn't lack on the horror side, full of rotting houses, skeletons, old Japanese magic, tragic love stories gone wrong, and murdered girls intent on making trespassers suffer the way they did.

In that regard, this theme was an interesting echo and reflection on what Okiku herself used to be, after her death and her coming back as a vengeful spirit. In this second book, she was calmer, more composed, more attuned to Tark and to what had once made her human. On the one hand, it was good. On the other, she somewhat felt like a side character, in spite of Tark's longing for her presence even after they had fought (also, this time the dynamics was changed, and he had to be strong as well, because the spirits they faced were of an element against which water—Okiku's—was weakest). However, again, what could've been a thematic mirror wasn't explored enough to my taste.

And that's why I can't bring myself to give 4 full stars her: while reading, I kept balancing between "this is great" and "I wish this had been developed more". Add to this secondary characters that were nice to look at, but nothing more, especially Callie, who came along to Japan yet wasn't really involved in anything except for the search & rescue party in the forest. Kendele was an addition I can't really decide about: a good person, genuinely interested in Tark, yet also a plot device for him to realise what Okiku truly meant to him.

Overall, as a ghost story full of old rituals and beliefs, evil ghosts that all had their reasons to be like that, strange forest with a somber reputation, and traipsing along caves in search of the foul source of all that evil, "The Suffering" was a good read. Nevertheless, I think it missed the mark on a few but important elements.

3 to 3.5 stars.
Profile Image for Mothlight.
139 reviews22 followers
March 21, 2021
Wails into my ghost hands

I loved the first installment, but the second just hit all my soft spots. We have cursed villages. Ghosts that can be taken out by quasi video game rules. Hide and seek with demons. I will hunger forever for more Girl from the Well and those like it.
Profile Image for The Girl with the Sagittarius Tattoo.
2,076 reviews265 followers
July 5, 2022
Rin Chupeco's The Girl from the Well books are creepier than 90% of books marketed as Horror, and this one surpassed the first book imho. Especially that first chapter!

In this one, Tarq and Okiku are still paired after the events severing him from... well, a different maniacal ghost. This time, one of the shrine maidens who helped him exorcise his former demon has gone missing in Aokigahara Forest (Japan's real-life suicide forest) while serving as a guide to an American ghost hunting film crew. It so happens her father was convinced an ancient city was swallowed up by the forest centuries ago, and he went missing ten years earlier searching for it.

The Suffering is decidedly more YA-angled with its heavier focus on romance with the teenaged main character. I finished this in one day; something I don't do often anymore. Lots of eerie fun!
Profile Image for Karissa.
3,886 reviews191 followers
August 9, 2015
I really enjoyed The Girl from the Well and was excited to see that there was going to be a sequel to that book. I got a copy of this book to review from NetGalley. This ended up being a very well done and creepy ghost story with a lot of Japanese mythology throughout. I enjoyed it a lot.

It’s been two years since we left Tark and Okiku. Tark and Okiku have continued to work together hunting down child murderers and releasing the innocent souls of the children bound to them. It’s been a solitary life for Tark but him and Okiku are very good at what they do. Then Tark receives word that one of his friends in Japan, Kagura, has gone missing. Kagura agreed to lead a TV crew from the US TV series, Ghost Hunters, to the mysterious Japanese forest of Aokigahara (also known as “suicide forest”) in search of a mysterious village rumored to exist deep in the forest.. Unfortunately neither Kagura or the crew of Ghost Hunters has returned. Tark, Okiku, and Cassie journey to Japan to search Aokigahara for this secret village and hopefully find Kagura.

The story takes a bit to get going, but once Tark gets to Japan and enters the Aokigahara forest things really get creepy and move fast. I am kind of a wuss about scary books, but although this book is creepy it never got too scary for me. It does get kind of gorey at points and there are definitely some creepy scenes, but it never gets to the point of being terrifying.

I enjoy Tark and Okiku and their interesting ghost/host relationship. They have both grown a lot since the first book and learned to work well together. Okiku is a ghost strong in water element (since she died in the water) and faces a lot of changes in this book because the ghosts of the secret village are earth-based ghosts.

There was some crazy Japanese mythology and history in here that I enjoyed a lot. The story was very engaging and interesting to read about. There is a lot of action, some mystery, and of course a lot of creepy.

My only complaint is that some of the dialogue between the characters is a bit awkward at times. There are many times where Tark and Cassie are talking or Tark and Kagura are talking where the dialogue sounds stilted or staged...it just doesn’t sound natural. I did read this as an ARC, so hopefully the final book will have dialogue that flows better.

Overall I really enjoyed this creepy supernatural horror story. I love the characters, the eerie Aokigahara forest, the creepy ghost scenes, and the action. This book is a bit gory and creepy but never totally scared me. I enjoyed the mythology and history throughout. The book is left open ended, so I could see there being future books with Tark and Okiku (although I haven’t heard of a third book being planned). I would recommend to those who enjoy creepy and somewhat gory ghost stories. If you are a fan of books with excellent creepy ghost stories for the middle grade and YA crowd I would also recommend the Lockwood and Co series by Jonathan Stroud; I like this series a lot and highly recommend it.
Profile Image for Melissa Chung.
904 reviews324 followers
September 15, 2015
An excellent conclusion to a creeptastic ghost story. Thank you to Netgalley for providing me with a free eArc of the book for an honest review. Also thank you to Kathryn Lynch associate publicist for Sourcebooks who invited me to join the spotlight tour. I will be putting this excerpt up on my blog http://bingereader19.wix.com/bingereader along with the rafflecopter to win a copy of The Suffering.

With that out of the way lets get into the review shall we. Book 1 'The Girl in the Well' I gave 5 stars to. I loved that it was such an awesome creepy Japanese-esque ghost story. The thrills were slow moving like fog rolling in. I loved that the POV was from a Japanese ghost. She being vengeful and terrifying yet loving and devoted to saving dead children reach the afterlife.

In this second book, the finale of this ghost duology, Okiku is still very much present, but Tark is now the main character. Tark is the teenage boy from the first book and although I did like him with his mysterious ways the first time reading about him, I did not like him at the beginning of the second story. I felt bored with all the teen drama and angst and high school party crap. The book didn't pick up until Tark and his cousin Callie go back to Japan for a yearly visit.

During this trip all the parts that I loved from the first book came out in full force. It was fast paced and unnerving. Lots of ghosts and death if you like that kind of thing. Which I happen to love so it's awesome.

I gave this sequel 4 stars because like I said before the beginning was a bit boring. Also the ending was not what I was hoping for. I am still satisfied with what the outcome was, but for some reason I thought it would end a bit differently.

Over all I would recommend this YA paranormal horror to all those that like movies like the Ring and that love ghost stories.
Profile Image for Cassandra (Thebookishcrypt).
567 reviews52 followers
January 5, 2016
YAY!!! 3.5 stars
I absolutely love that this was in Tark's POV. I have nothing against Okiku but I just wasn't impressed with her either. Like I said in my review for the first book, Tark is absolutely hilarious and I loved being in his head a million times more. His emotions were more genuine to me and I had no problem being sympathetic to him. This book is definitely my favorite out of the two! Especially since the setting is in the Suicide Forest which is one of the places I am dying to visit one day!!
This book challenged me a little more than the first and the plot line was more intriguing. New relationships were formed with both new and old characters and I loved seeing the change in them.
Beside liking this one better, there were still things I wasn't impressed about. It was super predictable and I still lacked that important connection with the characters. The 'clues' Rin threw at me were extremely obvious so that made me guess the exact ending ages before it happened.
I was right.
I hate being right.
I love it when a book makes me think one thing but flips a 180 on me. Sadly, this didn't happen here.
There was a quote in this book that almost made me faint because of how perfect it was so I'll just end my review with it:
"There is nothing sadder than a book that hasn't been cared for, a book too broken to read."
November 19, 2015

I'm gonna effin miss Tarquin-kun and Okiku!


Pretty obvious that I loved these series!

Yayy! More wonderful adventure than the first one! At times I laughed-out-loud because of Tark's humorous-sarcastic-kickass-attitude! I love him and Okiku. Sometimes I wished that I have a best buddy like Ki! The ending is spontaneous! Yayy! I love every bit of this story! Storyline was outstanding. Also the characters. Whoah! READ IT!!!!!!


Highly recommended!
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