Suicide Forest (World’s Scariest Places: Book One) Review
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At the northwest base of Mount Fuji in Japan lies a patch of land called Aokigahara Jukai, also known as Sea of Trees—or Suicide Forest—the perfect place to die. Local authorities remove the bodies of over one hundred suicide victims each year. With its many hidden craters and tales of ghosts, this is not a place you want to get lost—especially at night.

Ethan and his girlfriend, Mel, teach English in Japan, though this is most likely their last year in Japan before they head back to the United States and settle down. They and a few others decide to climb Mount Fuji, but a storm brews over the mountain and forestalls their plans, so they decide, at the urging of an Israeli couple, to camp in Suicide Forest and climb the next day.

Numerous signs warn them not to leave the hiking trails. Many people have gone into the forest and never returned. With macabre curiosity, they ignore the warnings in search of suicide bodies. Before long, they find themselves lost in the growing darkness with very little food and water—and they’re not alone out there.

As they wait for a rescue that may or may not arrive, they’re plagued with sickness, footsteps outside their tents, and screams in the night. Then one of their own disappears.

Suicide Forest blends mystery and horror into a story of survival. Each character carries his or her own suitcase of drama into the forest—all having something from their past that haunts them. Told from the first person point of view, the story focuses on Ethan’s struggles with his brother’s death, evoking feelings of sympathy for his character. No matter what, you’ll want him to survive. But even though you’ll be pretty sure that he’ll make it out, you won’t be quite so sure about the other characters, whom you’ll grow to love in spite of their many shortcomings.

Vivid imagery will draw you into the plot and make you flinch as each scene plays in your head. You’ll never be entirely sure what’s going on in the forest—is it the ghosts of the suicides or something else? And the fact that Aokigahara Jukai is an actual place in Japan only ups the creepy factor.

Suicide Forest kept me up long past my designated bed time. It snared me from the beginning and kept me enthralled throughout the rest of the novel. So if you’re looking for something to break a long dry spell of boring books, look no further. Suicide Forest will quench your thirst for a chilling horror tale while reawakening your desire for more.

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