Genre Book Showdown: The Girl From the Well vs Servants of the Storm

I’ve been looking for a spooky read lately and my perusal of Netgalley and Edelweiss turned up The Girl From the Well and Servants of the Storm.  While neither turned out to be the creeptastic read I was hoping for, I definitely preferred one book over the other.  Read on to see who won this installment of the Genre Book Showdown!

 

The Contenders:

5 The Girl From the WellThe Girl From the Well by Rin Chupeco
Genre: Young Adult Horror
Publication Date: August 5th 2014
ARC Provided by Netgalley and Sourcebooks Fire

Synopsis from Goodreads: You may think me biased, being murdered myself. But my state of being has nothing to do with the curiosity toward my own species, if we can be called such. We do not go gentle, as your poet encourages, into that good night.

A dead girl walks the streets.

She hunts murderers. Child killers, much like the man who threw her body down a well three hundred years ago.

And when a strange boy bearing stranger tattoos moves into the neighborhood so, she discovers, does something else. And soon both will be drawn into the world of eerie doll rituals and dark Shinto exorcisms that will take them from American suburbia to the remote valleys and shrines of Aomori, Japan.

Because the boy has a terrifying secret – one that would just kill to get out.

The Girl from the Well is A YA Horror novel pitched as “Dexter” meets “The Grudge”, based on a well-loved Japanese ghost story.

 
 

Servants of the StormServants of the Storm by Delilah S. Dawson
Genre: Young Adult Paranormal
Publication Date: August 5th 2014
ARC Provided by Edelweiss and Simon Pulse

Synopsis from Goodreads: A year ago Hurricane Josephine swept through Savannah, Georgia, leaving behind nothing but death and destruction — and taking the life of Dovey’s best friend, Carly. Since that night, Dovey has been in a medicated haze, numb to everything around her.

But recently she’s started to believe she’s seeing things that can’t be real … including Carly at their favorite cafe. Determined to learn the truth, Dovey stops taking her pills. And the world that opens up to her is unlike anything she could have imagined.

As Dovey slips deeper into the shadowy corners of Savannah — where the dark and horrifying secrets lurk — she learns that the storm that destroyed her city and stole her friend was much more than a force of nature. And now the sinister beings truly responsible are out to finish what they started.

Dovey’s running out of time and torn between two paths. Will she trust her childhood friend Baker, who can’t see the threatening darkness but promises to never give up on Dovey and Carly? Or will she plot with the sexy stranger, Isaac, who offers all the answers — for a price? Soon Dovey realizes that the danger closing in has little to do with Carly … and everything to do with Dovey herself.

 

The Breakdown:

 

Best Main Character:

The Girl From the Well was a little tricksy because you start off the story expecting Okiku, the aforementioned “girl from the well,” to be the main character but it really ended up being another female character, Callie.  Callie was the cousin of Tark, the boy with the tattoos alluded to in the synopsis, and it was really her and her actions that drove most of the story.  I really liked her dedication to her family and how she would do whatever it took to help Tark, even if it put her in harm’s way.  Servants of the Storm‘s Dovey was not my favorite character.  She made a lot of stupid decision that could have been attributed to her freaking out over all the weirdness except that she accepted everything at face value, no matter how strange it seemed.  I just didn’t really connect to her and her actions throughout the book though I did sympathize with her dedication to her best friend.

Advantage: The Girl From the Well

 

Best Romantic Lead:

The Girl From the Well had pretty much no romantic plot so this is almost a giveaway, but one of the best parts of Servants of the Storm was Isaac, one of Dovey’s two love interests.  Isaac could be kind of douchey and secretive, but I loved how it was shown that he was always trying to protect her, even when she had never met him.  Isaac’s background was also very interesting and he was one of the few characters that tried to think ahead and weigh the consequences before acting.  Truth be told, he was too good for Dovey.

Advantage: Servants of the Storm

 

Best Supporting Characters:

Other than Isaac, I really didn’t like any of the characters in Servants of the Storm.  Dovey and her childhood friend Baker often acted too stupid to live, Carly was a one-dimensional plot device, the demons were just rather comical and not even very good at being evil, and everyone else was just periphery.  The Girl From the Well didn’t have a lot of fleshed out characters either, but it wins this category because of Tark and Okiku, especially Okiku.  I really liked Tark — he was sweet and sensitive and just in a bad situation that he had no control over.  I loved Okiku though!  The narrative voice could be strange at times, but I really enjoyed her POV of the modern-day events, her creepy voice when she was seeking vengeance, and learning more about her history and tragic death.

Advantage: The Girl From the Well

 

Best Villain:

Okiku was kind of a villain in The Girl From the Well.  I mean she did kill people after all, but only those who deserved it and she protected Tark from those that would hurt him and Callie.  The reveal of the real villain inside Tark wasn’t hard to see coming but the explanation was interesting.  On one hand, it was hard to believe that a mother could ever subject her child to something so horrific but, on the other hand, you could believe in her actions because so many more people would have died if she had done nothing.  The demon aspect in Servants of the Storm actually fell flat for me.  They just didn’t seem sinister to me.  Kitty, especially, came off more as a spoiled brat than someone to be feared.

Advantage: The Girl From the Well

 

Best World Building:

I do have to give Delilah S. Dawson a hand though — they way she intertwined the demons with natural disasters in Servants of the Storm was ingenious.  The demon society was fairly well-established and the taking of the distal joint of the servants’ pinkies was pretty gross.  The Girl From the Well also had nice modern-day world building but Okiku’s murderous POVs were what kicked it up a notch.  I also enjoyed the Japanese setting though I think the mikos could have been explained a little better.  Overall, both books were easy to sink into and had unsettling worlds.

Advantage: Tie

 

Best Story:

The Girl From the Well had the strongest story throughout, overall.  I really thought Servants of the Storm was going to be something special, something absolutely terrifying, at the beginning, but it quickly dissolved into a typical YA paranormal.  The Girl From the Well had several different aspects to its story and it balanced them well and kept me entertained.  It wasn’t quite what I had expected going into the book, but it worked.

Advantage: The Girl From the Well

 

Best Cover:

Servants of the Storm wins this one easily.  That cover is so gorgeously creepy; I just wish the story had lived up to the cover image.  The Girl From the Well‘s cover isn’t bad, it’s just kind of plain.  I could see it easily being overlooked in the horror genre, especially if it was sitting next to something like Servants of the Storm.

Advantage: Servants of the Storm

 

Best Ending:

The ending was probably what I HATED most about Servants of the Storm.  It was so jarring that it was almost disrespectful to the reader.  Nowhere was this book mentioned to be the first in a new series, so to end the book on such an extreme cliffhanger just felt like an unnecessary cop-out.  All the action had finally taken place and our characters were in real danger and then we fade to black and come back to Dovey waking up in a hospital facing the “am I crazy or are demons real?” dilemma AGAIN… even though this book made it perfectly clear that the demons were real.  I just don’t know if Delilah S. Dawson wasn’t deft enough at handling the psychological aspects throughout the book to carry this possibility or if it was something she just decided to throw back in at the end — either way, it didn’t work.  The Girl From the Well, on the other hand, didn’t end the way I expected, but it did end in a way that felt organic and satisfying.  It wrapped everything up and gave the story a feeling of closure.  When I look back on it, I can’t really imagine it ending any other way.

Advantage: The Girl From the Well

 

Reviewer’s Slant:

Though neither book ended up being the scary read I was looking for, at least The Girl From the Well ended up being an enjoyable one overall.  I thought it worked on many levels and it might even be scarier for other people because the gore and violence could be pretty strong at times.  Servants of the Storm was one of my most anticipated reads for 2014 and I was utterly disappointed by the story.  What started out so strong and with definite southern gothic overtones quickly devolved into just another typical YA paranormal.  The Girl From the Well is the clear winner in this Genre Book Showdown for me, but I hope you enjoy these books if you decide to give either one a try!

 

Winner:

5 The Girl From the Well

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