ARC Review: The Suffering by Rin Chupeco

ARC Review: The Suffering by Rin Chupeco
The Suffering
The Girl from the Well #2
by Rin Chupeco

Genres: Horror, Paranormal, Young Adult
Publication date: September 8th, 2015
by Sourcebooks

Format: eARC

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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.

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…

I received this book for free in exchange for an honest review.

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.

Rating Report
Plot
Characters
Writing
Pacing
World-building
Overall: 4.3
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Rashika

Rashika is a mysterious creature who likes to hide in the shadows. It's impossible to get to know her but if you must know, she is a huge bookworm. She also happens to have a huge sweet tooth so you can always lure her over the dark side by offering her something sweet (or bribing her with books).

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  1. says

    I was super tempted to request this one on NG but since I saw it was the sequel I didn’t, because I didn’t want to add the pressure of reading the first book to my TBR list for August… but I will for sure read them both, hopefully before the end of the year, Halloween time would be perfect, right?

    I love that Japanese culture is so present and so well weaved into the story, that’s something that makes me want to read the books more!
    Pili @ In Love With Handmade recently posted…Mark This Book Monday: ARC Review of A Riot of Storm And Smoke by Jennifer Ellision!!!My Profile

  2. says

    You can’t tell me how much I’m missing out on? WELL THEN WHAT GOOD ARE YOU? HUH? HUH? ;)

    Japanese culture makes me happy. Thank GOD for a reprieve from America this and America that. We need more of the world in books! Also, creepiness and Japan go hand in hand. I mean this as a compliment (I clearly need to work on my compliments). BUT YOU UNDERSTAND ME I KNOW YOU DO. Like, all the best horror movies are Japanese.
    Allie @ Little Birdie recently posted…What to Do When a Rec Isn’t for You {The Birdie Rules}My Profile

  3. says

    I’m fascinated to see how the Japanese culture is meshed into this story. It’s such an interesting culture, and I feel we don’t have enough books in YA portraying it! Japanese horror is a classic too ;) I love when books scare me, I say it’s a job well done! I’m glad to see Tark is portrayed as a normal character who does make mistakes. So often we have perfect MCs who do everything right, and it’s just not realistic! I like my flawed characters. ooh this relationship sounds great too. I should really pick up these books. Wonderful review <3
    Rachel @ A Perfection Called Books recently posted…Series Review & Blog Tour ~ Landry Park+Jubilee ManorMy Profile

  4. says

    AHHHH I’M SO HAPPY THAT IT’S EXCELLENT! :D I loved The Girl from the Well, but, I know I’m bad but…I’ve forgotten SO many details. 0_0 And I don’t feel like rereading it, so I didn’t run out and eat The Suffering, sadly. I will someday though because I get the CHILLS reading her world/writing and that like never happens. So. much. win.
    Cait @ Paper Fury recently posted…Authors I Have Swallowed In Gargantuan AmountsMy Profile

  5. says

    Horror book aren’t really my thing. As a matter of fact, I can’t even remember having ever read one. But you sold this book to me! Lol, I’m really intrigued. Great review!
    Sarah H recently posted…Les Favoris!My Profile

  6. says

    Gosh I just remember how creepy girl in the well was when it first came out, so it must have been a pleasant surprise to pick up the sequel, even though it’s from another point of view. Eeek another Suicide Forest? i remember the one in The Girl of Nightmares and it was creepy, just like thisone. Yay for the feels in the ship! Sounds fantastic.
    Jeann @ Happy Indulgence recently posted…The Initial Impressions Tag: How I Befriended 5 BloggersMy Profile

  7. says

    Okay, I did not read your review because I want to go in this blind and I didn’t even want to check your rating because if you didn’t like it, I’d be super bummed because I’m really excited for it. But you love it! YAY! I need to read this asap. I’m in a bit of a book slump coming out finals but maybe I need horror to get back into it. Anyway, I’m rambling. I miss you Rashika! xx
    Amir @ Not So Literary recently posted…Gushings & Ravings: Slice of Life Comics @ TapasticMy Profile