Monday, November 19, 2012

The Ring Series. Spiral Book Review

Some time ago I reviewed Koji Suzuki's novel The Ring, the first of a four book series immortalized by the movies. I won't go into much detail about the first book, so you may want to follow that link if you're interested in the whole series. I'll just say I loved the book and reading it was a much more fulfilling experience than watching the movies. And that the ending has a twist you will never see coming. I double dare you. If you manage to tell me Sadako's secret, say, by page 220--out of 286 because I'm generous like that--I'm buying you any book you want. And that's a deal.

Now, back to the review. The Ring Series are different from most series in that they don't have many of the same characters from book to book; it also moves between genres, slowly going from horror in book one, to Sci-fi in book three.

In SPIRAL, book two in the series, Sadako is an important piece of the story, of course, but that's pretty much it. The rest of the characters are new. Time-wise, SPIRAL starts right after RING finished. It follows Mitsuo Ando, a man who lost his kid in a drowning accident and whose life has become unhinged as a consequence. Unable to cope with his loss, he hides behind his work as a Coroner. That's when he's faced with the corpse of his previous nemesis Ryuji Takayama, the professor who helped solve the mystery of the tape in book one. The mysterious circumstances of the professor's death intrigue him, and guided by what seems to be Ryuji's ghostly presence, Ando will find himself facing a horrific reality that threatens the future of mankind.

Suzuki's talent for setting the mood, creep you out of your sleep, and crazy-imaginative storytelling are evident once more. The characters grab you from the first page and make you feel their pain, flaws, and their terror as it becomes clear to them that the monster has just begun exerting her vengeance. Once you finish the book and think about it, you realize just how far the author has gone from the original premise and how deep he is getting into craziness. You can also call it Sci-fi, if you want to legitimize it. Truth is, many will find the story in this second book too far fetched and might hate it, but if you are tired of vampires, zombies, werewolves, and witches; if you are looking for out of the ordinary stories, then you can't miss SPIRAL.

If you ask me, I did like it. I thought Suzuki did an amazing job changing everything he made classic with RING and spinning a new different tale from it. I can't stress enough how neither of the subsequent books to Ring have anything in common with the movies. Not even with the japanese ones. SPIRAL will shock you once more and leave you with a very uneasy feeling under your skin.

Soon to come to this blog, a review of LOOP, book three of The Ring Series.


Nicole said...

Haven't read these yet - really interesting review, though.

Michael Pierce said...

I greatly enjoyed the first movie. I didn't know that it's based off a book series (bur I guess I shouldn't be surprised). That's interesting that the books follow different characters. It seems like it would be hard to build momentum because we, as readers, usually get invested in the characters, stringing us along to the next book. Nice review!

Writer Pat Newcombe said...

These books sound really interesting and I am a sucker for dark tales... On my TBR list!

Georgina Morales said...

Thanks Nicole, hope you give it a try.

Thanks Michael. If you like the movie, the books will blow your mind. Try them, you won't regret it!

Oh, I'm so happy I teased you good, Pat! These are awesome books and I think you'll love them. Please, share your thoughts when you get to them. =)

Damyanti said...

These sound interesting -- shifting genres in a series must be fascinating.

Georgina Morales said...

I'm happy you liked it, Damyanti. Changing course mid-way a series is not only a difficult thing to achieve as a writer, but a dangerous one, too. If you don't do it well, your audience will fell betrayed. I'm happy to say Suzuki did it perfectly. =)

Anonymous said...

There are some interesting points in time in this article but I don’t know if I see all of them center to heart. There is some validity but I will take hold opinion until I look into it further. Good article , thanks and we want more! Added to FeedBurner as well

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