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The Ritual Paperback – February 14, 2012

4.0 out of 5 stars 176 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

Review

“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 Nevill (aka Adam L. G. Nevill) was born in Birmingham, England, in 1969 and grew up in England and New Zealand. He is the author of the supernatural horror novels Banquet for the Damned, Apartment 16, The RitualLast DaysHouse of Small Shadows, No One Gets Out Alive, and Lost Girl. In 2012, 2013 and 2015 his novels were the winners of The August Derleth Award for Best Horror Novel. The Ritual and Last Days were also awarded Best in Category: Horror, by R.U.S.A. Adam lives in Devon, England, and can be contacted through adamlgnevill.com.
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The latest book club pick from Oprah
"The Underground Railroad" by Colson Whitehead is a magnificent novel chronicling a young slave's adventures as she makes a desperate bid for freedom in the antebellum South. See more

Product Details

  • Paperback: 432 pages
  • Publisher: St. Martin's Griffin; Reprint edition (February 14, 2012)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 9780312641849
  • ISBN-13: 978-0312641849
  • ASIN: 0312641842
  • Product Dimensions: 5.6 x 1.2 x 8.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 3.2 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (176 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #136,807 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Paperback
In the middle of a Swedish forest we find four lads from England who have been waiting for 6 months now to go off on a little outdoor adventure and renew their earlier friendships that have grown dull through everything else in our lives.

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.
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Format: Kindle Edition
Parts of The Ritual are excellent. Unfortunately, other parts of it are not. The book starts with four friends on a hiking trip in the Norwegian wilderness. Out of shape and out of their depth, they decide to take a short cut and, well, you can see where this is going. The first half of the book delivers all the spine-chilling action you’d expect from Adam Nevill, but then the pace changes abruptly. All the tension that the first half of the book did such a great job building up gets broken, and the story turns into a long subplot before finally getting back on track a few pages before the book ends.

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.
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Format: Paperback
Horror is a genre I keep flirting with, but the pursuit leaves me ever disappointed. Sadly, The Ritual confirms to this rule; its promise squandered in an all-too-typical second half.

Four friends set off for a weekend in the Swedish wilderness, but an all-advised shortcut takes them deep into primeval forest. Worse, they are not alone in the woods...

So frustrating. The beginning of The Ritual is quite good. The friends are largely inexperienced hikers, and the discomfort of the weather and their fraying nerves - and the growing conviction that they are being watched - is wonderfully creepy, culminating when they stumble across a deserted cabin.

Alas, it's all downhill from there. Once the monster is revealed, the book definitely loses some of its spark, but where it really falls apart is the cliched second half - radically different in tone, pace, and setting than the first.

The second part throws credibility out the window to engage in some genre cliches, along with ubiquitous (non-scary; is it ever scary?) violence.

I suppose the fault is mine in some ways. I'm looking to recapture the feeling of chill I used to get from top notch Victorian ghost stories and writers like Robert Aickman. Horror, as a genre, doesn't do a lot of that, preferring I think something more akin to horror movies as a genre - and it leaves me cold.

The Ritual is certainly not the worst horror novel I've read by a long shot, but every single thing in it was done better, a hundred years ago by William Hope Hodgson, Algernon Blackwood, Arthur Machen et al.
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Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
This book is a brilliant example of the horror genre. I got so scared I had to take a break a few times but couldn't wait to get back to it.

The Ritual really is two stories in one book. The first half is much scarier than the second half but I was so engrossed that I had to finish it. Too many books are full of human psychopaths and authors seem to delight in coming up with more and more depraved actions for their killers. This book was much more refreshing as a good old fashioned monster story combined with wilderness survival. Very satisfying.
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Format: Paperback
I wanted to like this novel. I really did. And I saw it through to the bitter end.

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.
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