Title: Suicide Forest / Island of the dolls
Series: World’s scariest place 1 / 4
Author: Jeremy Bates
Pages: 549 / 492
Trigger warnings: suicide, death, blood, s** scenes, violence, murder, guns, swear words
Genre: horror, thriller, adult, suspense
Goodreads rating: 3.68 / 3.96
My rating: 1.5 / 1
Just outside of Tokyo lies Aokigahara, a vast forest and one of the most beautiful wilderness areas in Japan…and also the most infamous spot to commit suicide in the world. Legend has it that the spirits of those many suicides are still roaming, haunting deep in the ancient woods.
When bad weather prevents a group of friends from climbing neighbouring Mt. Fuji, they decide to spend the night camping in Aokigahara. But they get more than they bargained for when one of them is found hanged in the morning–and they realize there might be some truth to the legends after all.
Deep within an ancient Aztec canal system on the outskirts of Mexico City lies Isla de las Munecas…a reportedly haunted island infested with thousands of decrepit dolls.
While there to film a television documentary, several friends discover a brutal murder. Soon fear and paranoia turn them against one another – even as the unknown killer stalks them throughout the longest night of their lives.
(Please be aware that these books are located in real places of Earth, and this review contain spoilers)
From the beginning, it was Island of the dolls who ignite my interest, but when I saw that was the fourth book in a series, I decided to begin with the first one, Suicide Forest. In fact, all these books are standalone, so you can read it in which order you prefer.
Suicide forest is located at Aokigahara, Japan, at the base of Mt. Fuji. It’s a popular tourist area, but it’s well known because a hundred people per year come here to commit suicide.
The book began like most of the horror movies out there: a group of American teachers decide to climb Mt. Fuji with a couple of Japanese friends, but the weather isn’t good for climbing, so they decided to go camping in Aokigahara. Have you seen horror movies? Are you aware that is a sort of scheme? You know, the first one who died, the most beautiful girl in the group who survive, etc…
Suicide forest is full of WTF?? moments: for example, decide to go camping for a night with 3 half bottles of water for 7 people. Yes, that’s a great decision. Half an hour in the forest and they’ve already finished the water. I will love to sleep in a sleeping bag where people come to die, surrounded by an ocean of trees and corpses.
Why I combined these two reviews in one post? Simply because Island of the dolls has exactly the same plot as Suicide Forest.
The situations, the cycle of the events, are exactly the same. Even the stupidest decisions of the two groups are nearly the same, but Island is located in Mexico.
The problem with Island of the dolls is also that the dolls… are pretty inexistent. It would be set in Los Angeles or London, and it will be the same. A group of friends visit the Island but they had to spend the night on it, and they begin to die one by one. A group of friends decide to spend the night in Aokigahara and they begin to die one by one.
I know that most of the horror books/movies had this plot, but here even the events had the same timing, like the author wrote only one plot and then just changed the location. It’s frustrating.
The group of main characters are disrespectful of local legends and the local culture. They don’t respect the dead or the “supernatural” forces that could be in those places, and they always, always don’t understand a single word spoken in the language of the country where they are living. Embarrassing.
A special note for the unnecessary s*x scenes in both books: maybe it’s only me, but these two locations aren’t the most romantic or turn on places to do these things, and only because these are adult books it doesn’t mean you need to throw certain scenes like that.
The “villains” of both stories are similar too; the ending no, fortunately.
Last comment: you can watch the Ghost Adventures Special Episode about the Island of the dolls. If you have a phobia of the dolls, it’s one of their scariest adventures.
The World’s scariest places series is composed by:
Suicide Forest (Japan)
The Catacombs (France)
Island of the dolls (Mexico)
Mountain of the dead (Russia)