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Summary

The companion novel to Rin Chupeco's The Girl from the Well, which Kirkus called a "Stephen King-like horror story".

After barely escaping the evil spirit that tried to destroy his soul, Tark vows to spend his life protecting the innocent. So when his mentor goes missing on a ghost-hunting expedition, Tark and Okiku join the search. But the Suicide Forest has seduced thousands of people to their deaths over the centuries and is thick with their sorrows.

With time running out and danger at every turn, Tark will either become a hero - or die trying.

©2017 Rin Chupeco (P)2017 Blackstone Audio, Inc.

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  • A. D.
  • 29-03-18

Horrifying, Heartbreaking, and Totally Worth It

What did you love best about The Suffering?

This is tough to answer, because I kind of loved each piece of the novel, and the whole they make up wouldn't be as good without each one. I love the focus on Japanese folklore, which I find fascinating and especially enjoy since it's not just a bastardized western version but is actually written by someone who knows what they're talking about. I love the characters because they are all so strong and important (except for Tarquin's dad, seriously) and grew through the process of solving the mysteries and dealing with the horrifying secrets. I love the ghosts, who are widely ranged from the completely insane and homicidal, to the mostly sentient and avenging angel Okiku, to the benevolent fireflies that have been set free. I love the writing style, which focuses on Okiku in the first book and has an ephemeral, cerebral quality, just as a 300 year-old ghost would be stuck in her own head, and that's still a part of this book as Tarquin gets some visions through Okiku. I love the struggle Tarquin has with being a part of Okiku's vengeance-murders because it's so real and so important to both of their character arcs. I...appreciate (not love) the deep, unending suffering of some of the characters (I won't spoil it by telling who) because it shows the real consequences and corruption of thirsting for unholy power from Hell. I don't think I'll ever forget the terrible fates of the sacrificed members of the village, that was some next level shit, truly horrifying.

Who was your favorite character and why?

I kind of loved all of the characters? Tarquin is hilarious and gives much-needed comic relief to the deeply disturbing atmosphere of the book. Okiku is a badass and I really connected with her in the first book, she's tragic and yet she kind of turns lemons into lemonade with her whole murdering-the-murderers shtick. Kagura is steadfast, brave, and funny in her obliviousness to Tarquin's sarcasm. Kendall is light-hearted and yet true. Even the girl from the diary is impressive and imposing when you meet her (I won't spoil it any more than that). The whole cast is imperative to the overall quality of this book and I love each of them. Except for Tarquin's dad, that guy is useless.

Which scene was your favorite?

Many of the scenes, especially at the end of the book, are deeply disturbing and horrific, and I hesitate to call them my "favorite," but they were fascinating and give the story so much depth. I probably found the most satisfaction in the scene when Tarquin finally finds out how the girls of the village are sacrificed because it was such a mystery; but at the same time it is disgustingly depraved and terrifying soooo....

Was there a moment in the book that particularly moved you?

Um, I cried at the end when--oh wait, spoilers ;)

Any additional comments?

I WISH THERE WERE MORE BOOKS IN THE SERIES!!! I love, love, love mythology and Japanese mythology has such a plethora of creepy-crawlies to choose from I feel like the author could write about these forever (in my perfect world). I do really want to mention that although I wasn't exactly *scared* while reading these books, I was thoroughly and completely horrified at the depravity of the evil characters. These books aren't for the faint of heart. They're actually pretty effed up.