The Ritual Paperback – 19 Oct 2017
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This novel grabs from the very first page, refuses to be laid aside, and carries the hapless reader, exhausted and wrung out, to the very last sentence. (The Guardian)
Often horror loses its power when the evil is given a face; in this case it only gets more disturbing. (The Sunday Times)
With The Ritual Nevill has crafted some of the tensest scariest horror this reviewer has read for years. (SFX)
The Ritual by Adam Nevill is a mind-twisting journey into the dark backwoods of terror. Deeply disturbing and absolutely riveting. (Jonathan Maberry, New York Times Bestselling author of Dead of Night and The King of Plagues)
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)
If you want something to make you scared of going into the deep, dark woods then I would highly recommend you pick up The Ritual. The Gruffalo it ain’t! (Geek Syndicate)
It has been over a week now since I finished this book and it has really stayed with me and I find myself thinking about it on numerous occasions, and this is another very good sign. (Fantasy Book Review)
The Ritual didn’t just stop at sending a shiver down my spine, carrying on past that to leave me feeling all unsettled and resolved to stay away from large unexplored woods. A horror novel that leaves you feeling melancholy and thoughtful (as well as just plain scared); Neville is rapidly cementing his position as an author worth watching. (Graeme's Fantasy Book Review)
The Ritual, is now one of my all time favourite books, for me personally this is a powerful book that ticks every box in horror writing. (Gingernuts of Horror)
In the forests of Scandinavia, an ancient presence starts its nightmare hunt once again . . .See all Product description
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The book starts off with a group of friends hiking through the Swedish woodland - something that Nevill has, himself, done. As an exercise-o-phobe, that sounds fairly horrifying to me, to start with. But it gets worse.
The first half of the book is an exquisitely detailed almost minute-by-minute retelling of the horrors of being lost in primordial woods and pursued by something unseen and terrifying. Even though it isn't written first person, Nevill gets right into the head of Luke - one of the four walkers - and makes the writing increasingly subjective as we suffer Luke's pain along with him.
Then the second half of the book changes dramatically - I won't spoil it by saying how - but everything you thought you understood from the book's first half, shifts.
The book mostly goes for creepy and dreadful (in the literal sense) rather than shocking and gory. It'll be interesting to see if the film does likewise.
Some books you read are clearly just scripts with 'he said', 'she said' added. This is not one of those books. Nevill clearly never imagined the book being made into a film, his writing would be less internal, if he had, but it would also be less involving.
My only criticisms would be that, especially when they are whinging and bickering at the beginning, I didn't much like the four characters, so I wasn't involved in them when things started to go wrong. But I stuck with it and Nevill won me over! Also, by making them all fractious and troubled, it helps them not be the stereotypes the stalk and slash movies have led us to expect. Secondly, that dramatic gear-shift half way through - while clearly deliberate and carefully constructed - might leave the reader with the feeling that, instead of reading one unified piece, you're actually reading two halves of different books.
The flip-side of that is, about half way through, I was beginning to wonder just how much suffering Nevill could inflict on his characters (and readers) so that change offers a much-needed breather from the relentless horror.
This was only Nevill's second book. I look forward to reading his later books, to see how his already well-developed talents have since developed.
As the image on the cover the story itself is much of an intrigue.
You want to know what is going on and why.
The narrative is fun and typically British in humour and the way characters talk to one another.
I had quite a few moments when I laughed at comments made by characters to each other.
At the other end of the stick there were a few moments in the book that were scary and make you think.
This was the good.
Then sadly the second half of the book starts, (it is indeed one story but for me I wish it hadn't have been).
I found the second half to be long and drawn out with a lot of pointless conversations with the new characters introduced. Which were in my opinion just plain ridiculous. The book as well I feel lost it's ability to scare here also. I just wanted the book to be finished with and I had to make myself finish it.
The ending as people have stated also was well frankly rubbish and totally abrupt.
I love the way Adam writes through the first half of the book and I've literally just bought another to start reading straight away.
I just have a feeling like many others it seems and that the second half of the book either shouldn't be there or ruins the first half.
I think much more could have been done instead of what Adam actually turns the story into.
It's still worth a read though!
There I'm sure many millions of worse books out there!
Part 1 then is all Blair Witch. 4 friends go off the path (didn't they see American Werewolf in London or Blair Witch thinking about it!?) and find themselves lost in a remote Swedish nowhere. The characters are under developed a bit; one gets taken off not long after getting them lost but had little to say anyway, the other 3 don't actually like each other much and struggle on. Of course, just about everyone knows what happens next. Considering it's predictability there's still a well built feeling of suspense and the author coveys the sense of doom and hoplessness pretty well. Descriptions of the country are atmospheric and the obligatory creepy house is well set. Could've fleshed out the characters a bit though. I liked it.There was nothing new here but it read well.
Part 2 is just a bit daft and the reader starts to tire. The bad guys are too comic and too overtly bad to be taken seriously. It's incredibly unlikely that they would have crossed paths in the wide expanse of nothing in the first place. It gets a bit tedious being told how scared the main character is over and over and over again. It gets a bit hard to believe that he's still standing. There are one or two bits (the creepy loft space being one) I might have edited out as it didn't really do much, neither adding to the story or making it more scary. I swear though that if there is a way of describing fear then it was used in this book and after a while the reader becomes immune to it; yes, the main character is scared, I get it, but me, the reader, am getting a bit bored being told about it all the time. Where's the effort in scaring me? Note to the author, a lamb and a hare aren't all that scary.
Overall then, this book was OK. Started good, got better, ran out of steam, got a bit daft. Ultimately the horror genre lost nothing but gains little with the addition of this book. The film will probably be on Prime in a month, if its not there already and forgotten about in 5 weeks. What's that? It is available already you say? Told you. Bet it's full of B listers too.