Horror (Teen), YA Fiction

Black Fairy Tale by Otsuichi

I received this novel as an advanced copy from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.

This is one of those rare times where I have read a book that is predominantly set in Japan and sticks to the cultural setting there. Sure, I’ve read novels that take place in countries in Asia and allude to different cultural norms, but I have never had the opportunity to read the works of a Japanese author. It was definitely an interesting change and I’m glad I got the opportunity to do so!

The story begins with a fairy tale: a raven who has learned to speak English from watching movies meets a girl who has lost her eyes in an accident. In order to make her happy, the raven goes around stealing the eyes of others so that she can use them to see the world around her. The happier she becomes, the more eyes the raven feels he needs to steal.

There is another story at play, however; the story of Nami, a girl who has lost her memories and finds she no longer fits in the world she was a part of. She has eye replacement surgery for her left eye, which she lost in an accident. She soon discovers that the replacement has given her the ability to look into the memories of the previous owner of this eye. And through his memories, she witnesses a terrible crime, one she feels the need to solve.

As the two stories intertwine in this chilling tale, we see the universal need of all people to be accepted and loved.

At first, I didn’t really like this story. To be fair, I didn’t know what to make of it. The way Nami was treated by her friends and her family after her surgery seemed ridiculously unfair, to the point where it just put me off. But I pushed through with the story. And I’m glad it did. Aside from some highly skeptical science (which I later attributed to magical powers), it really was a good story. Nami’s character is unique, and her desire to be accepted is one I can relate to. The creepiness of the story was tantalizing, and it kept me hooked; I was reading this late at night and was definitely a little bit nervous to sleep in the dark! All in all, this is a good novel for teens to read (I don’t think an adult audience would really enjoy this sort of work) and I would recommend this novel for anyone who likes horror!

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