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The Ritual by Adam Nevill
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The Ritual (original 2011; edition 2012)

by Adam Nevill

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2231852,123 (3.63)11
Member:seldombites
Title:The Ritual
Authors:Adam Nevill
Info:St. Martin's Griffin (2012), Edition: Reprint, Paperback, 432 pages
Collections:Bookcrossed, Released in 2013, Read in 2013
Rating:****
Tags:forest, horror, occult, survival, sweden, woods, fiction, paperback, @bx, @controlled, @2013

Work details

The Ritual by Adam Nevill (2011)

  1. 00
    Stallo by Stefan Spjut (Amsa1959)
    Amsa1959: Swedish folklore horror.
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English (17)  German (1)  All languages (18)
Showing 1-5 of 17 (next | show all)
I recently finished reading the ritual and was thoroughly emotionally exhausted by the time I got to the last few pages ! Adam Nevill is a brilliant storyteller and thankfully he doesn't use any gratuitous gore to get his point across, the brilliant thing about this story is that it is set in the mundane world of the ordinary, a group of mates on a walking holiday and then the strangeness starts.
I could not have second-guessed this story even though I thought I had, the surprises and the shocks just kept coming!
I intend to read all of his other works, highly recommended !! ( )
  Jeff-Rees-Jones | Feb 5, 2016 |
The first half was tense and creepy and promising. The second half completely undermined all that and pulled my rating from 3 stars to 1. The wilderness and isolation that gave the story so much atmosphere was mangled by a ridiculous plot device that just wasted pages. If you are interested in stories about pagan mythology in desolate areas, choose something else. ( )
  grammarchick | Jan 5, 2016 |
The first half was tense and creepy and promising. The second half completely undermined all that and pulled my rating from 3 stars to 1. The wilderness and isolation that gave the story so much atmosphere was mangled by a ridiculous plot device that just wasted pages. If you are interested in stories about pagan mythology in desolate areas, choose something else. ( )
  grammarchick | Jan 5, 2016 |
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. I found the writing style hard to read, not to mention the story was repetitive and capped with a horrible ending. My interest in the real life inspirations for the story were really the only thing that kept me reading. My friend recommended The Ritual at the same time. He thought The Ritual’s references to black metal and Scandinavian setting would appeal to me. So, despite my reservations I decided to give Nevill another chance and picked up The Ritual.

This story focuses on four middle-aged college friends looking to reconnect and recapture old times on a hiking trip through the Swedish back country. Luke is the only one of the four who is unmarried and living a bachelor’s lifestyle. His married and seemingly successful friends belittle his lifestyle and achievements leaving him feeling disconnected, frustrated, and angry

When two of the friends suffer minor hiking injuries the group decides to take a shortcut to their destination. After consulting the map, they decide to blaze a trail through an uncharted, old-growth forest that has been untouched for thousands of years. They find the primeval woods thick and suffocating and quickly become lost. Wet, scared, and tired the men stumble into an ancient cottage filled with animal bones and artifacts of a dark, pre-christian religion. After spending a disconcerting night in the dilapidated cottage they set off to search for an exit. Instead they find themselves hunted by a creature linked to the ancient forest and the people who once inhabited it.

While this book suffered from a similar predictability and repetition of Last Days, I found that I enjoyed it much more. The imagery of the Swedish forest and the ancient pagan symbols and rites intrigued me. While many critics of horror have deemed the scary-thing-in-the-woods plot device as cliché, it continues to make for a satisfying and effective horror story. There is just something primal about it and it’s woven in our psyches through children’s stories like Little Red Riding Hood and Hansel and Gretel.

The writing and storytelling in this book was loads better than Last Days, which seemed to be stream-of-consciousness in it’s structure and punctuation. This book took a more traditional approach which made it more enjoyable to digest. The author also pulls in interesting elements and imagery from Scandinavian folk lore (Krampus anyone!?) from the black metal subculture. It was fun to recognize the specific images that Nevill used from The Lords of Chaos. (Which happens to be one of my favorite music history books.) I also very much enjoyed the Krampus allusions.

The ending felt like Nevill was trying to execute an epic showdown between good and evil, but it ultimately failed to capture anything epic feeling. That said, it was still a satisfying ending and felt much less rushed than Last Days.

Overall I enjoyed this book. I thought it was a solid horror story. The pacing and action were excellent. The interplay between external events and internal dialog was balanced and the supernatural elements were also well done. I would recommend this book and encourage folks to start here if they are interested in the work of Adam Nevill. ( )
1 vote erlenmeyer316 | Sep 21, 2015 |
I´m swedish and part of the fun in listening to this novel was that it take place in the northern woods of Sweden. The first part of the novel is great but then the story seems to become a totally different one, and not at all the kind of story I hoped for. ( )
  Amsa1959 | May 2, 2014 |
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Epigraph
The Gods are here, if they are anywhere at all in the world.  Algernon Blackwood, from the Willows
Dedication
For Anne and our cub, for making me and my life less beastly.
First words
And on the second day things did not get better. (Prologue)
At midday, Hutch stopped walking and turned to look back at the others; three colorful figures appearing insignificant upon the misty vastness of the rocky landscape they meandered across. (Chapter One)
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0230754929, Paperback)

And on the third day things did not get better. The rain fell hard and cold, the white sun never broke through the low grey cloud, and they were lost. But it was the dead thing they found hanging from a tree that changed the trip beyond recognition. 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 fitness and 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. And as the four friends stagger in the direction of salvation, they learn that death doesn't come easy among these ancient trees...

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:24:45 -0400)

(see all 3 descriptions)

"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 . . "--… (more)

(summary from another edition)

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