When the hosts of the Dragons & Tea Book Club announced this as our October pick, I was genuinely excited. A YA horror novel I had never heard of, I was completely intrigued.
Then I discover people comparing the vibe to one of my favorite horror movies of the early 2000s, The Grudge, and I was sold!
I am so happy to report that I really enjoyed this. I could not put it down once I started. I love this type of horror. It was smart and visceral with great characters and atmosphere.
One of the biggest surprises of this book was the perspective from which it is told. A 300-year old vengeful spirit is our narrator. She becomes tied to our protagonist, a troubled boy named Tark, and we follow along with them as she tries to protect him from others out to do him harm.
It’s hard to talk about this book without giving too much away. It was a very engaging plot with a lot of Japanese cultural influences which I found just so interesting. The cultural perspectives in regards to spirits, the afterlife and all things related to those topics, it was really well done. I seriously would consider reading this again because I am sure that I missed a ton of fine details.
During the course of the story our characters travel from suburban American to Japan. It is there that the creepiness begins to kick it up a notch. We have ancient temples, local folklore and legends, crazy ass doll rituals and Shinto exorcisms.
This story is very graphic and definitely doesn’t shy away from violence on page. Some of the scenes were hard to read. The narrators detachment in the midst of violence, pain and suffering was truly unsettling. Well done on Chupeco’s part. That has to be hard to write consistently from that perspective.
I was really impressed with this overall. It wasn’t perfect. There were some points in the narrative that were a tad confusing or even repetitive but overall, very solid horror story.
I definitely plan to pick up more books from this author in the future!