on 9 December 2003
This is a translation of the book which led to two sequel books, short stories, more than four films in Japan, several films through asia and recently a US remake. The original tale has been altered and mutated with each new version creating several different stories. the one thing that every version has in common is this book.
'Ring' is the story of Asakawa, a journalist, who investigates the sudden, inexplicable death of his niece after discovering that three other teenagers died just as mysteriously at precisely the same time. The only link between them is the video they all watched one week earlier.
I enjoyed the book very much and, as a fan of the story as told in film, found it very interesting. However anyone buying the book because they enjoyed the films should know that the book has a very different feel than the films and some of the best moments in the films are nowhere to be found in the book. This said the book gives you a much fuller view of the story and gives real depth to the characters. The translation is very good and captures some of the atmosphere of the tale but, in my opinion, like many translated books, lacks flair.
on 27 May 2004
I've waited months to find a copy of this book, after becoming a huge fan of the original Japanese films. When my copy finally arrived, it was even better than I'd expected.
To anyone who's a fan of the original Japanese films, I'd recommend the book. The films are very true to the book, but there is also a lot in the book that isn't included in the film series (e.g. the fact that in the book, Asakawa is male...). It's an excellent read, and a must-have for any Ring fan especially, but I'd recommend it to anyone.
Don't go straight for the book if you've only seen the American film. The book is not at all similar, so it could be a bit hard to understand. I recommend watching atleast the original "Ringu" first. I myself watched all of the films before reading the book, and it made it much easier to read, and more enjoyable. What can I say... I'm just a huge Ring fan!
on 2 January 2007
Whilst investigating the sudden and suspicious death of his niece and her three teenage friends, a newspaper reporter invokes a curse that will kill him in seven days. There is a way to disarm the curse, but he does not know what it is. Doh! Enlisting the aid of an old school friend with an interest in the supernatural, they frantically travel around Japan attempting to find the solution. The clock is ticking...
The suspense levels in this book grew nicely for me, as each day passed and the lead characters seemed to be no nearer solving the riddle. Certainly an original idea, I do not think you will guess the outcome of this one (unless you have been told beforehand, or seen the film). I am now hooked onto the trilogy, and looking forwarding to re-engaging with the curse in 'Spiral'.
on 27 June 2004
The original Ring is better than the remake and the book I thought was better than the original. Although very much different from the movie it is still a compelling story with twists and turns along the way, a real page turner. In the novel Asakawa is a married man rather than a divorced woman in the film and Ryuji is a self proclaimed rapist who seems to enjoy bragging about this. The video in this book is again very different from the movie including scenes of a newborn child and an old woman. Sadako herself is 'dual gendered' having the privates of both a man and a woman which leads in some way to her being thrown into the well after a Dr. Nagao assaults her and afterwards discovers this secret. The infamous TV scene at the end of the movie is not present in the book being a brainwave of the screenwriter and in some ways the book ending seems to be more eerie and frightening. All in all this is a very good read but not quite as polished as its follower 'Spiral'. I would reccomend this book very highly but as is always the way, some like it and others don't.
The death of four teenagers from "sudden heart failure", piques the interest of investigative journalist Asakawa, who traces their movements in the last week of their lives to Villa Log Cabins, where he finds a videotape which terrifies him as he is given a week to live after he has watched it.
As much as I enjoyed The Ring starring Naomi Watts a decade ago, I must say in the original book has hidden depths and detail that was somewhat dumbed down to give the film mass market allure. In this English translated Japanese version I found a much more compelling premise in this first part of the Ring trilogy. There are a few clumsy sentences as the translation is kept close to Japanese original but they can be overlooked as so much more is offered in return. Instead of Samara, we have Sadako about whom we learn more surprising detail but like the film, this first part leaves me wanting to read more.
Koji Suzuki could easily be considered the Stephen King of Japanese horror, with several movies (and remakes) of his bestseller novels -- particularly "Ring." Yes, that one. The one where you die in a week after seeing the cursed tape. While not quite the same as either film, Suzuki's original novel is a quiet, understated horror classic.
Four teenagers watch a seemingly cursed videotape, which will kill them in one week's time. Seven days later, all four die of heart attacks, including one young man simply keeling off his motorcycle. The uncle of one girl, Kazuyuki Asakawa, also finds the videotape and watches it. Now he has seven days to figure out the mysterious instructions, which happen to be missing. If he doesn't, he's dead.
Accompanied by a less-than-pristine professor, Ryuji Takayama, Asakawa goes in search of what is going on -- he suspects a virus that causes a heart attack. As he goes hunting through the woods for the secret to the videotape, he discovers a legacy of death and terror, left behind by the malevolent Sadako Yamamura. Asakawa's time is running out -- how can he unravel the mystery of the Ring?
Don't expect a carbon copy of the "Ring" movies: No TV apparitions, the lead is a man, and despite her beautiful female appearance, Sadako is a hermaphrodite. However, the "Ring" book is far more horrifying, solidifying Suzuki's position as a classic horror writer. It's impossible not to shiver when you look at the TV, after seeing this.
Suzuki's skill is in calmly, coolly describing horrific events in simple words. It packs a more visceral punch than if he just had floods of blood and gore in detail. The scene where Takayama sees the curse working on his own body is enough to make your skin crawl. And as good horror writers do, he creates a horrific plot based on something everyday. It's so easy to set off the curse, and that is what is so terrifying.
As Suzuki often does, he doesn't make his characters all sympathetic and noble. Asakawa is a cynical, rather self-absorbed man -- although this is what the plot hinges on -- and Takayama is a nihilistic rapist. It weakens the book slightly to not care much about either. Though in a way, the book is more about the "curse" -- which is more a virus -- and about Sadako than either of these men.
Perhaps that's a part of Suzuki's subtle cultural critiques in here, as well as Japanese supernatural beliefs -- nensha, for example, which is how Sadako created the lethal tape -- and the male and female roles in society. Finally he takes a hard look at this question: Should you allow your loved ones and yourself to die, or risk contaminating the world with the lethal videotape?
There's an almost apocalyptic note to the finale of "Ring," although it resulted in two more books. And Suzuki's original, deeply creepy novel is a must-read.
on 19 August 2003
Koji Suzuki is one of the finest authors of all time. In this novel, Ring, he has expressed one of the most eerie storys around.
Even after reading this book twice, it still does not bore, it is a story that really captures you and won't let go, you will be wanting to read on, more and more, and at the end you would have wished for more.
The characters in Ring are very well created, and they develop more and more as the story progresses.
Basically the book is about a reporter called Asakawa Kazuyuki, who is investigating his neice's death, on which he stumbles upon a video, and then after watching the video, he is fated to die exactly one week upon watching it, and so he has to dig deeper into the curse of the video to save his life, where he finds alot more than just a curse.
This book far surpasses the original Japanese films in plot and detail, highlighting what is good about the story.
Ring will leave you asking alot of questions, so if you have a taste in good eeireness, and you are trying to find a good book to read, then this is the one you should buy, you will not be dissapointed.
on 23 March 2004
I saw the American film first, then the Japanese version (1 and 2) and then, after all this, read the book. Not a good order, I know, but my enjoyment of this book was not hampered by this bizarre order.
The story is complex, but quite easy to grasp- and the twists and turns of the tale make it interesting. It reads easily even though it is a translation, and I find that quite a feat in itself.
I was terrified at some points in the films, but I was more scared by the book, and that's the truth! Buy it.
on 5 January 2004
This is the UK imprint of Vertical's translation of 'Ring'. I already have a copy of both the original Japanese version and the Vertical translation and it is so close to the original you can feel Sadako reading over your shoulder, right down to the notes and the little heart! This book inspired the movies and, while some readers will be suprised that Asakawa Reiko is actually a man, Asakawa Kasuyuki, it is an amazing read. Go read this, then see the original movies! You'll never be the same again.
on 9 November 2006
Having seen all the film versions of this story, I must agree that the source material is most definately the best place to hear it.
It is harrowing, chilling, thrilling, perplexing and thought provoking. So much about this book stirs you inside, churns you round and spits you out again.
If you have not seen the films, get this book. If you have seen the films, get this book. If you don't care about the films, STILL get this book. You will not be dissapointed.