The power of Suzuki’s Ring came from its supernatural suspense and creepy characters, with Spiral moving a little away from that tone. The third, and what was meant to be the final book in the trilogy, Loop, moves into the realms of Science fiction.
Although I’m not against authors switching genres halfway through a series, it comes at a cost.
Science and ghosts don’t really mix.
If you have science, then more often than not, it’ll be used to displace any supernatural undertones, which is the case here.
So as Loop moves forward, it begins to undo all the work set forth from the previous books. A real shame if you ask me because I really enjoyed both of them.
The dialogue here is stiff and I through with giving the author benefit of the doubt over translations. Three books in and it’s only gotten worse. Equally, the characters are flat and the main protagonist Kaoru, 10 when we first meet him, is entirely uninspiring.
There are substantial information dumps covering science, cultural shifts and time travel; often lending itself to an over-explanation of all.
At the beginning for example, Kaoru asks his father, a scientist, about the correlation between gravity and life expectancy. As this is one of the main plot points, it will be discussed throughout, so a few simple sentences are all that’s needed here. Nope.
Instead, we get an absolute torrent of information that does nothing but leave you looking at how many pages are left in the chapter. Can I go to bed now?
In short; the writing is dry and way too descriptive.
Enter the Matrix
Loop, a virtual world created by a group of scientists, is designed to see how life will play out in years to come. Unfortunately for them, it becomes infected with the Ring virus, thus spreading cancer to those working on it.
The problem, and it’s a big one, is that it suggests that the previous two books took place inside of the Loop. It doesn’t feel smart, or as if the book had me fooled. It feels more like, ‘and it was all a dream’.
I’m sure I’ll still end up reading the final book, Birthday just so I can say I’ve read the series, but my optimistic nature for Suzuki’s work has begun to fade.
Loop is a disappointing addition to the series. Not only is the dialogue bland, and the characters lifeless, but it succeeds in undoing all of the mysteries set out in the previous two instalments.
Even if you’ve enjoyed them up to this point, you can still afford to skip this one as it adds nothing that you don’t already know about the ring virus.