I'm a bookworm of the highest caliber! If you see me, I'll probably be reading. There's nothing I love more than finding a good book, and then sharing it with the world!
The Girl From The Well started out phenomenally. As promised, Okiku's story was dark, full of vengeance, and yet oddly beautiful. I was caught up in the afterlife of a spirit who wasn't able to move on. One who filled her ceaseless existence with revenge, blood, and the small spark of warmth that came from delivering a violent, yet fitting death. Had this book been simply about Okiku, I could have read for ages. I understood this troubled girl. I took pleasure in watching her captors squirm. She and I? We were connected. Then Tark entered the picture.
In all fairness, I was too enamored with the cover of this book to really pay attention to the synopsis. I had no idea that Tark's story was actually the main focus of this book. Or that Okiku's dark existence would soon be set on the back burner. At first, I didn't mind so much. Tark, a boy with mysterious tattoos that writhed on his body, was an interesting character. I felt like his story was somehow connected to Okiku's. That he'd soon be caught up in the blackness that surrounded her. Alas, this wasn't to be. While I loved the first third of the book with all my twisted little heart, it started to go downhill from there.
I think one of the biggest issues I had with The Girl From the Well was the writing style. The flowery, descriptive, writing held up well against the backdrop of Okiku's story. She was an old ghost, and I felt like it complimented her character. Once Tark's story line came into play, that same writing style started to feel disjointed. See, one of things that sets Okiku apart is the way that she counts things. Cars, buses, people, plants. It ties in well to her story, which I won't spoil for you. She also has a habit of interjecting violent outbursts in between thoughts. While I was following only her, I didn't mind these quirks. Once there were multiple points of view? It just felt jumbled, and messy.
I should stop here to let you know that I desperately hope someone fixed this narrative for the finished version of the book. I was under the impression that, despite being ARCs, most early copies are still somewhat edited. Sure, I've seen a few misspelled words before. Maybe even a small amount of issues with tense. This ARC had so many instances of incorrect tense that I was horribly distracted. Towards the end, I was more involved in fixing the problems, while reading, than actually enjoying the story.
Which brings me to the ending, which I still won't spoil, and how unfulfilled I felt. As I mentioned before, I loved Okiku's story. I loved her character, her motivations, and the gory endings her victims met. I didn't mind Tark, or his story, but it never really felt fleshed out. Once he took center stage, nothing ever felt complete. I had no strong feelings for any characters. No deep need to keep reading on. I was disappointed, and sad. For the enjoyment that I was originally given, and for the Japanese mythology I fell in love with, I'll offer up three stars to this book. I wanted more from The Girl From The Well. I really did.