The Ritual

The Ritual

Book - 2012
Average Rating:
14
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Now a Major Motion Picture in the UK!

When four old University friends set off into the Scandinavian wilderness of the Arctic Circle, they aim to briefly escape the problems of their lives and reconnect with one another. But when Luke, the only man still single and living a precarious existence, finds he has little left in common with his well-heeled friends, tensions rise. With limited experience between them, a shortcut meant to ease their hike turns into a nightmare scenario that could cost them their lives. Lost, hungry, and surrounded by forest untouched for millennia, Luke figures things couldn't possibly get any worse. But then they stumble across an old habitation. Ancient artefacts decorate the walls and there are bones scattered upon the dry floors. The residue of old rites and pagan sacrifice for something that still exists in the forest. Something responsible for the bestial presence that follows their every step. As the four friends stagger in the direction of salvation, they learn that death doesn't come easy among these ancient trees . . .

Publisher: New York, N.Y. : St. Martin's Griffin, 2012.
Edition: First U.S. edition.
ISBN: 9780312641849
0312641842
Branch Call Number: F
Characteristics: 417 pages ; 21 cm

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s
smmeloche
Nov 19, 2016

For all my reviews, check out Clues and Reviews
https://cluesandreviews.wordpress.com/

Four old friends decide to reunite for a hiking trip together; after a failed shortcut, the men find themselves in the middle of a nightmare as they struggle, lost in the wilderness. Already disconnected, the men realize they have outgrown each other and tensions rise. They stumble across an isolated old house. Here, they find bones and other items for a ritual sacrifice. Something is in the forest and this is where the real nightmare begins….

The Ritual, by Adam Nevill, is an unconventional, supernatural horror novel that follows a group of friends as they face the elements (both supernatural and natural) in the Scandinavian wilderness. This one was incredibly mixed for me.

Here’s the lowdown.

To start, the plot was pretty fantastic. I give kudos to Nevill for coming up with something so chilling. The idea of being lost in the woods, fighting the elements and human nature, and not being able to count on those around you is something that, for sure, gives me the creeps. Books like this justify the exact reasons that I do not participate in any nature related activities. No camping for this girl, thank you!

As for the format of the book, this was one of the most separated I have ever read. It was broken up into two sections and then those sections felt like they were broken up even more. This became the key feature in the novel; all the characters seemed to come second to this.

The beginning of the book read like two separate stories. This is something that I actually really enjoyed. There was the tense interaction between the friends as they become lost in the woods and they begin their struggle to survive. This portion was laced with tension. Although it read slow, (I’d say the first 100 pages are a little monotonous), I loved the idea of man vs. nature and how friends can turn on each other in stressful situations- it was very Lord of the Flies. That is some scary stuff. Then, Nevill adds in the supernatural element. Something is in the woods; something is hunting them. Something is plucking each person off, one by one. To me, the beginning section read like The Blair Witch Project and that was enough to send shivers down my spine. It was extremely ominous.

Then, in the middle (about 250ish pages in) the novel switches AGAIN. Like, I mean completely switches gears; it felt like a completely different story. I’m not sure if I loved this, or if I hated it, but it was absolutely unexpected. The protagonist finds himself smack dab in the middle of the pagan rituals, he struggles to survive and he tries to find reprieve (through escape or death).

This novel has some seriously creepy moments (hello, skinned animals in the woods!) and I did find myself wanting to read more, but the story seemed so disjointed, that I couldn’t get as gripped as I wanted to be.

If you are a fan of the supernatural thriller or supernatural horror genre and you want a completely unconventional read, then I would give this one a try. Otherwise, don’t bother.

n
nidus
May 02, 2016

At first I really liked the scariness of this book. After several chapters, I felt that the unrelenting misery of the four hikers was just a little too much negativity for a work of fiction. I don't like being continuously cudgeled by intransigent desolation. I would not recommend this book to any but the strongest readers.

leah_123 Jun 18, 2015

Very creepy and scary for the first half of the book, but not so much that I could not read before bed, which I did for several nights in a row. I have to admit that when the plot took a drastic turn, I skimmed over the next third and then read the end which was good. Loved the writing, very captivating and descriptive.

a
Adelheid
Oct 27, 2014

Well written, kind of weird, I liked it,

g
gorgonzolasurprise
Sep 24, 2014

This was really, really, really, really, really, really, really, really, really, really bad. Here's my favorite example of poor (or absent?) editing: "The dim light dimmed."

Oh dear.

There were many other instances of this kind of terrible writing throughout the book. I wanted to love this and to find it scary...but the characters were so flat and ridiculous. And the villains were bland.

Bleh.

Cool cover, though. One half star for the photographer.

j
jeab1981
Dec 02, 2013

The first and second halves of this novel seem to come from completely different books. The first half pulls you into the story immediately and the horror comes from its believability --- at the very least, it is a story of what can go very, very wrong when you are unprepared for the wilderness. The second half was a serious letdown. It wasn’t scary at all; instead it was almost comedic in its utter stupidity. Seriously, no book should ever have the line “the dim light dimmed.” Seriously?!?

d
daeb
Aug 27, 2013

Absolute crap. Way too much redundant info about hiking in the big, bad forest-very obviously filler. This is what happens when authors are paid by the page. Just read the second half of the book, if you must read it at all. I advise you not to bother.

r
rochellemc9110
Jun 11, 2013

This is how I like my horror! Great read, I could not put it down. Things just keep getting worse and worse for these characters. Part survival story/part demon story/part backwoods psycho story. Great location, great characters. This is a gripping read. I loved it!

whydoIhavetodothis Oct 23, 2012

Wow, some pretty harsh reviews of a great novel. I'm not sure what put people off. The story starts off and takes a few pages to get going, but once it does, it flies through. The first half/two-thirds is fantastic, a terrifying journey of what can go wrong. The last third was ORIGINAL, I didn't see it coming and I thought it was a nail-biting conclusion and the final few pages were fantastic. Overall, great book and I highly recommend it.

notTom Oct 22, 2012

The payoff was certainly not worth the build-up. The violence was stretched to the believability line, and the antagonists, when finally revealed, really weren't all that exciting. However, I do give it marks for a creepy atmosphere and at least attempting to establish a deep sense of character amongst a fast-moving plot. ~wearespartacus/notTom

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