Book Review: “The Ritual” by Adam Nevill

ritualWith the early sunsets and cold air of Winter, it is the perfect season to wrap yourself up in your warmest blankets and read a scary story. As such I felt it was time to get around to reading Adam Nevill’s highly-praised horror novel from 2012, The Ritual. The story follows 4 old friends, who are hiking through the Swedish woods as part of a semi-regular reunion. 2 of the group have gotten a bit out of shape since they’d all met and are not managing the trek very well, which prompts the de-facto leader to lead them on a shortcut through a protected and largely untouched strip of marshy forest. As they get to be too far along their detour, it becomes apparent that something larger than any animal they have ever heard of is stalking them through the trees, and things only get worse for them from there, as they are left with little choice but to keep pushing forward in the hopes that they can make it out with their lives. The sense of dread and fear the friends feel is palpable throughout, with several moments leaving me jumping at any random noise my house would make in the wind. Each of the 4 main characters are described well enough to feel real and relatable, and I did find myself actively hoping for their survival, which is necessary to make any story truly suspenseful. As for what’s chasing them, it is largely left up to the reader’s imagination, making it all the more frightening. The story goes in some unexpected directions, but is always scary and engaging, leading up to a pulse-pounding finale. If you like a good horror tale this is certain to be regarded as a modern classic in the genre, just make sure your doors are locked before you start reading. ★★★★★ – Sean Farrell


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