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The Ritual Paperback – February 14, 2012
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“A mind-twisting journey into the dark backwoods of terror. Deeply disturbing and absolutely riveting.” ―Jonathan Maberry
“A book which preys on our most basic, instinctive fears, then amplifies them ten-fold. A desperate, intense descent into the depths of somewhere unimaginably ancient and unspeakably evil.” ―David Moody
“'And on the second day things did not get better.' This suitably foreboding opening sentence sets the stage for a dark and mesmerizing horror debut that riffs on Algernon Blackwood's classic story 'The Wendigo.' Hutch, Luke, Dom, and Phil set off on a camping trip in the forests of Sweden, only to find the woods hostile to their explorations. Tensions arise when it becomes clear that two of the party aren't physically up to the challenges of navigating the rough terrain, and fears set in with the discovery of an eviscerated 'thing' hanging higher up in a tree then any animal would place it. Nevill makes the natural world deeply menacing, using the power of suggestion rather than explicit images to create a growing claustrophobic feeling as the difficult journey to return to some semblance of civilization embeds the quartet only further in the grasp of primal evil.” ―Publishers Weekly – Starred Review
“A spine-tingling tale of one man's survival in a truly horrific realm.” ―Suspense Magazine
About the Author
Adam L. G. Nevill was born in Birmingham, England, in 1969 and grew up in England and New Zealand. The Ritual is his first novel to be published in the U.S. His book Last Days won the British Fantasy Award for Best Horror Novel of the Year.
Top Customer Reviews
They are not too far into their adventure when they come across a strange site. Someone, a hunter, has hung a dead animal body in the trees. Could it be some sort of gag or warning. The foursome don't know and they don't stick around to find out.
Unfortunately walking around the woods without a GPS unit and just a map is for fools or good characters in a horror story.
In the middle of a major storm, and soaked from head to tail, they run into an old locked cabin that offers shelter from the storm. But after breaking in they discover this is one weird cabin. All over the walls are animal skulls and crosses. When they go upstairs they find some sort of stuffed animal and bones. The bones appear to be animal but may in fact be human. So the next morning they are off again to find their way out of the forest.
One by one the friends disappear until we are down to the last friend who we experience everything that happens to him through his eyes.
A very well developed sense of fear and trepidation makes this a book that you may read all in one night, and into the next morning.
I thought I had parts of it figured out as I went along but the author is always able to put a new twist on the story.
The problem I have with this book is with that subplot in the second half. I say subplot, but it actually takes up most of the second half and is basically a collection of dreary “satanic panic” cliches. Worse, it destroys the book’s atmosphere and doesn’t add anything to the narrative.
Essentially, The Ritual seems to be two different books stuck together. One of those books is quite good, but the other one appears to have been written by Tipper Gore during a bout of particularly inane and incoherent hysteria.
Good things about this novel: a potentially interesting premise centered on Norse mythology, old gods, a demon in the woods.
Bad things about this novel: Unfortunately, Nevill's writing here is lazy and packed with clichés, not to mention really, really awkward styling (one example: "The dim light dimmed."). The thing that most distracted me as a reader was Nevill's obsession with fatness as a fundamental character flaw. We don't really know who Phil and Dom ARE; they're fat, dammit, and Nevill isn't going to let us forget it for a moment. "The two fat men" stumble down the hill, and "the two fat men" eat all the energy bars, because of course they do, wah-wahhh, they're FAT. Later on, the satanic female villain is described as fat and ugly, fat and smelly, fat and repulsive, almost every time she appears on the page. I just couldn't get past this. I tried.
Four middle aged university friends Luke, Dom, Phil, and Hutch, decide to go camping in Sweden. What is with middle aged men, do we never learn, did these guys not see Deliverance, this sort of adventure is never going to turn out well. After only a few scant days it's clear that two of the group are just not up to the arduous task of the hike, so they decide to take a short cut in the hope they can make it back home before Dom and Phil collapse.
As is want in these sort of book this was a bad idea. The discovery of an old creepy cottage, neolithic grave markers and the corpse of an animal strung high up in the trees, soon has the gang realising that not all is well in this far from enchanted forest.
What makes this book work so well, is the fact the Adam, has created a book that works on so many levels, yes we have this brilliant creature hunting our unhappy campers, but he has also created an amazing landscape that in itself is almost as scary as the creature. Just imagine being lost in some ancient forest, days from even the barest traces of humanity.Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
This was a book that I began and finished in a 48 hour time frame. Of course, life's daily obstacles got in the way of me plowing through the book, as I would have liked to, the... Read morePublished 3 days ago by Amanda
Really loved this book. Similar to Dan Simmon's The Terror but more brutal, more violent, more ugly. Read morePublished 8 days ago by marcfitch
The first part of the story was exciting but really only built the characters. The amazing part of this work is Integrating meaning into a horror piece! Read morePublished 17 days ago by Ryan Alexander
This book was pleasingly different than most books in this category. Unique writing style, very fresh and thankfully unpredictable. Well done.Published 22 days ago by Angie Kelley
The idea behind this book is very interesting, but the execution left a little bit to be desired. Luke and his 3 friends enter the forest in an attempt to rekindle a friendship... Read morePublished 27 days ago by Jenni DaVinCat
My book club partner is a big fan of Adam Nevill. He recommended Last Days to me earlier in the year and I thought it was just okay. Read morePublished 2 months ago by erlenmeyer316
I am a long time fan of horror novels, yet few have ever been as unsettling as The Ritual. The author, through his talent for visceral description, manages to draw together... Read morePublished 2 months ago by Somhat Lanod
Adam Nevill never fails to let me down as a fan and a reader. I am working my way through all of his books and The Ritual perked my interest late at night on a cold February... Read morePublished 3 months ago by Maxine (Booklover Catlady)
My "positives" in this book:
-there are defined characters that are believable
-the story moves along fairly quickly without lag time
-this isn't a worn out plot... Read more