Title: Suicide Forest by Jeremy Bates
Media Source: Ebook - Kindle
Rating: 3.5 out of 5 stars
Recommendation: Such a creepy story, don't read it at night. I highly suggest this novel to anyone who enjoys a great folklore and creepy story.
Aokigahara forest lies just outside of Tokyo. Several travels expecting to hike Mt. Fuji get stranded by the rain and decide to camp out in Aokigahara instead. They learn the legend of Aokigahara forest being a popular site for people to commit suicide. Many in the group decide they do not want to spend the night, while others don't believe the legends and convince everyone to spend one night in the forest. They walk off the trail deep into the forest to find a good spot, and notice there is no sign of life, not even birds chirping. The next morning one of their group members is found hanging in a tree. The try to find their way out only to get lost deeper into the forest. While they try to work together, personal feelings and emotions begin to get in the way. Will they be able to find their way out, will they survive the legend of Suicide Forest?
Jeremy Bates does a phenomenal job at writing a spell binding story. I honestly could not put this book down. The story unfolds through Ethan's eyes, an American living in Japan teaching English. His backstory is slowly unraveled throughout his interactions with other members of the group, as well as their stories. The story is told at a steady pace, with the group responding to their situations according to their personalities. Bates takes the time to use things at add a cultural sense to the story with his descriptions of music, food even reading material as well as Tomo's (a psychology major) language and attempts with American slang. While the group come from various different backgrounds, they all share thoughts about suicide or even death, which is revealed throughout the novel. Not that they think about committing it per say but rather their individual thoughts on the subject. Suicide Forest holds intrigue for each person, and as the story unfolds it holds intrigue for the reader as well. One which may cause the reader to contemplate their thoughts on the subject as well (again not thoughts on performing the act, but general thoughts).
There are several twists and turns leading up the to climax of the story which will take readers off guard. This is definitely a book that is NOT predictable. The shocking end to this story will leave readers not only satisfied with the story, but also pondering who the real monsters are. There is always some sense of truth to every legend. Jeremy Bates takes folk lore and makes it his own. He adds his own touch to the truth behind Suicide Forest. The story really drags you in and holds you captive until the very end. Then it leaves readers craving more from this exceptional author, I know I want more.