Goodreads helps you keep track of books you want to read.
Start by marking “The Ritual” as Want to Read:
The Ritual
Enlarge cover
Rate this book
Clear rating
Open Preview

The Ritual

3.62  ·  Rating details ·  10,967 ratings  ·  1,553 reviews
Four old university friends reunite for a hiking trip in the Scandinavian wilderness of the Arctic Circle. No longer young men, they have little left in common and tensions rise as they struggle to connect. Frustrated and tired they take a shortcut that turns their hike into a nightmare that could cost them their lives.

Lost, hungry and surrounded by forest untouched for mi
Paperback, 418 pages
Published May 28th 2011 by Pan Publishing (first published May 6th 2011)
More Details... edit details

Friend Reviews

To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up.

Reader Q&A

To ask other readers questions about The Ritual, please sign up.
Popular Answered Questions
Veronica Shields The problem with the novel is that it's two books slapped together into one story that ultimately isn't cohesive. Part One is more horror-suspense,…moreThe problem with the novel is that it's two books slapped together into one story that ultimately isn't cohesive. Part One is more horror-suspense, and the Part Two is more horror-fantasy. (IMO, the real failure here is on the part of Nevill's editor - a good one would've caught that genre shift right away and curbed it before it reached the later stages of drafting.)

I think the movie actually improves upon it in the sense that it dumps the Blood Frenzy plotline and changes the character of the village Luke stumbles upon. Instead of the overarching theme of the search for meaning and purpose in a world where human life is small and devalued, it turns into a reflection on death and loss as an inevitable and natural of human experience and how we come to terms with that. I think this was a wise shift for the movie, and the second part (which I won't spoil) more naturally progresses that theme in terms of the relationship of the villagers to the creature. Pretty decent horror movie all around, and honestly, the creature design alone is worth a watch.(less)
This question contains spoilers… (view spoiler)
Lisa Wintler-cox I thought this was to show how the Mother and her children were manifested into the world. I didn't think the "how" of the process was explained…moreI thought this was to show how the Mother and her children were manifested into the world. I didn't think the "how" of the process was explained though. I was thinking more along the lines of The Dunwich Horror as I think this was partly an homage.(less)

Community Reviews

Showing 1-30
3.62  · 
Rating details
 ·  10,967 ratings  ·  1,553 reviews

More filters
Sort order
Sep 27, 2014 rated it did not like it
[Spoilers.] Every now and then you come across a book that causes you to examine your life: the good you've done in the world, the ill. What sin did I commit to have deserved a book as god awful as The Ritual?

Here it is in brief: The Ritual is a derivative, shallow, insidiously sexist novel from an author whose ideas far exceed his technical skill.

In the foreword, Nevill credits a number of other authors for inspiring him, among them Cormac McCarthy. Within the first chapter of The Ritual, it wa
Melissa ♥ Dog/Wolf Lover ♥ Martin

I first saw this movie on Netflix & then I found out on GR that is was a book. I went right to Amazon to buy it! I loved it! I love both the book and the movie although I'm glad they left out the first part of the movie in the book. I didn't care for it.

And on the second 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 re

Wow. This one came soooo very close to getting five stars from me. I am a horror buff and I LOVE to be scared ...really, truly freaked out. Not grossed out (I'll take a bit of that in good fun) but creeped out. My ideal physiological response to horror is when I get the heebie-jeebies (pardon my use of technical terms here) -- you know, the tingling spine, sweaty palms, paranoia, pounding pulse. I'm addicted to dread, and if you can make me want to sleep with the light on I will love you forever
3 - 3.5★

Hmm. I enjoyed this novel, for the most part; until it went in a direction I wasn't expecting. The 'South of Heaven' chapters, didn't really work for me, much - though it did redeem itself, slightly, with the attic scene, and the seemingly, harmless, little old woman (who I would've despatched first).

Four friends: Luke, Hutch, Dom and Phil, reunite, to go on a hiking-trip through the Scandinavian wilderness, and get more than they bargained for, after taking a shortcut, into unknown ter
Maxine (Booklover Catlady)
Adam Nevill never fails to thrill me as a fan and a reader. I am working my way through all of his books and The Ritual perked my interest late at night on a cold February evening here in England. I was sucked in from very early pages and picked this book back up at every opportunity I got eager to know what was coming next in the journey of four friends who have found themselves in a terrifying and horrific situation deep in the dense woods of Scandinavia.

Nevill is brilliant at building up ten
Sep 30, 2016 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Dizzy with exhaustion, weary like the dying, you hang between the bindings of vine and the scaffolding of sticks. And wait...

Wait for it.

I read this novel over a year back, and I recently watched the movie adaptation of the story which brought me back to the sinister uncharted woods of Scandinavian forests, where the unspeakable thing lurks in the shadows, cunningly stalking its prey.

The novel tells the story of four long-time friends getting together for a hike in the woods, but the trip is
Sadie Hartmann Mother Horror
A little personal history on my encounters with The Ritual.
First, I had seen it around on various horror book lists, so I bookmarked it long ago (it was published in 2011!)
Then, Book Outlet was having a sale on horror and I bought like a dozen titles for my Christmas present last year. So this has been on my shelf almost a year.
This summer, my son and husband watched the Netflix movie adaptation and I don't really "do" horror movies but my husband assured me I would like it. And I did! It was v
Nov 02, 2015 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: horror, fiction
This year, I chose Stephen King’s Pet Sematary as my Halloween-season book. I’m not much of a horror junkie, so I generally don’t read more than one scary book in a year. In one respect, Pet Sematary turned out to be a great pick. It is a work of absolute genius. But in other respects, Pet Sematary failed. Or maybe it’s better said that it succeeded too well. Anyway, I’m trying to say that Pet Sematary filled me with the kind of oppressive existential dread that I usually only feel on my birthda ...more
The first half of this book was genuinely terrifying -- it's as harrowing as "The Descent," and in very similar ways. Luke and his three friends meet to go hiking and camping together, but Phil and Dom's less-than-stellar physical condition forces Hutch, the leader of the group, to propose a shortcut through a section of national forest. This shortcut turns frightening very quickly: not only is the forest much more dense and difficult to navigate than anyone anticipated, but early on they discov ...more
Oct 16, 2017 rated it really liked it
Shelves: 2017-shelf, horror
Survival Horror!

Just in time for October. Wanna dive into some very nicely creepy atmospherics and get reacquainted with your old buddies on a camping trip, just getting away from the old world, finding out what the big deal about Scandinavia is?

Welcome home.

Of course, these four men are a bunch of ponces. They eventually grow on me after some of the real festering shit comes out, but before then, there's very little positive I can say about it other than the fact that the atmospherics are pret
Mar 03, 2016 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: favorites, bought-own
I just finished this book and I am utterly exhausted emotionally and physically. What a harrowing journey through the Scandinavian wilderness this turned out to be. Mr. Neville has such a beautiful and descriptive voice. Some of the passages are so lyrical yet horrifying. I honestly felt the fatigue, agony, and utter hopelessness these characters felt. While some readers didn't care for what some are calling the second half of the book, South of Heaven, I found it just as frightening as the firs ...more
May 10, 2014 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: ha-100-2014
The Ritual was a stunning book to get lost in. The beginning with the four University friends trying to hike out through some ruthless Scandinavian forests ravages more than their clothes, they all have personal issues that over time have formed thorns between them and what better time to hash it out then out in the wild where tempers flare. So it's a double lost in the bushes story, physically and mentally, it's a grueling non hold barrel of a good time, for the reader who is safe on the couch ...more
Paul Nelson
Apr 05, 2015 rated it liked it
'And then the nearest part of the shadow, that defined itself by the thinnest light of the torch that brushed that place, moved. Raised itself no more than a few inches, in the way a stalking cat will engage in the next step towards its prey.'

I'm almost ashamed to say that The Ritual is my first read from British supernatural horror author Adam Nevill and I was for the most part quite impressed with the characterization, tension and pace of the story.

Four old University buddies decide to relive
Jun 24, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: owned-books
4.5/5 stars

As soon as I found out that The Ritual was based off a book, I just had to buy it.
As a horror movie buff, I was chuffed. I loved the Netflix movie adaption and boy, this book did not disappoint.

”Someone is crying. Upstairs. He looks to the indistinct ceiling and swallows the fear that is tightening his throat.”

This book is fast paced, with short chapters and is completely captivating from the very first page.
I couldn’t put the bloody thing down.
The style of writing was something new
May 27, 2016 rated it liked it
Shelves: horror, group-reads
This is my Book Of the Month- June 2016, with GR group- Horror Aficionados

3.5 stars

“There comes a stage at which a man would rather die cleanly by a bullet than by the unknown terror of the phantom in the forest.”
― Tahir Shah

The story is about four friends who go on a trip post 15 yrs of their college life- it's like a reunion. They decide to go on a hiking trip in Scandinavia, take a wrong shortcut and enter their nightmare. They are now being hunted by a unknown predator one by one.

The book i
Sep 12, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Horror Fans
Recommended to Terry by: Addy
Ultimately, a very creepy book. The first half was filled with very scary moments, straight out of nightmares! The ending was not what I was expecting, but was very good in its execution. If you enjoy horror, this is one well worth getting to.
11811 (Eleven)
Aug 22, 2012 rated it really liked it
**02/16 - Bumping this up a star. 3+ years later I still can't go into the woods without thinking about it and still look over my shoulder every time I hear the rustle of leaves.**

The first half of this book was excellent. The second half barely resembled the first. I was under the impression that I was reading the best horror novel of the year until it suddenly became something erratically different, resulting in the most disappointing horror novel of the year. I've never experienced anything l
Martin Belcher
Oct 25, 2011 rated it it was amazing
First of all, I must say this is one of the most terrifying books I have ever read, the front cover write up describes it as being "horrifyingly scary" and it is not wrong!

This is my second Adam Nevill book, the first being Apartment 16 which was good, but The Ritual is by far streets ahead.
The story begins with four University friends reuniting in London and taking a hiking holiday to the remote artic forests of Northern Sweden, The friends Hutch, Luke, Dom and Phil all seem to have their own p
Jun 11, 2011 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: horror-fiction
Imagine, if you can, that the Blair Witch project had actually been scary, and not just irritating teens with runny snotty noses randomly appearing in the dark, running, falling over, running again ... anyway, I digress. Nevill utilises the dark and primal iconography of pre-Christian religion to draw the reader absolutely into the bleak yet compelling landscapes of Swedish forests, where unnatural things lurk and stalk human prey. The atmospherics were superb, and I particularly enjoyed the Nor ...more
Jan 27, 2015 rated it liked it
3.5 stars

To start with, Part 1 of this novel was spectacular in regards to the atmospheric tension build-up, and the the way that we are able to get to know the characters through their trials in the forest, and with each other. I found this section to be a real page-turner, and was engaged with each development that the four friends, reconnecting on holiday with each other, ran into. Still, there were scenes that struck me as somewhat repetitive, and I felt that 50-100 pages could probably have
Mar 14, 2018 rated it liked it
This is the story of four men, old friends from their university days fifteen years before, who go on a holiday in order to reconnect. For some unfathomable reason they go hiking in the Scandinavian forest.
Not surprisingly things quickly go awry, and their holiday turns into a fight for survival.
I thought the first half of this book was actually pretty good. The gruesome scenes were suitably gory and I was starting to feel totally creeped out by the descriptions of the surroundings. Then the sec
Joseph D'Lacey
Apr 12, 2011 rated it it was amazing
The best novel - horror or otherwise - that I've read in many years. Nevill’s words teleport you to darker realms. Trouble is, once you’ve travelled to the world he creates, you never fully return... Brilliant and unputdownable.
I loved everything about this book! Exactly what I look for in a horror story. Scary without ever being in your face, but had me biting my nails throughout.
Beware. Semi-spoilery comments below. You have been warned.

Hmmm. A tale of two parts. The first part was written well (a wee wordy, maybe) but pretty darn good. A tense and suspenseful journey in the forest with 4 old chums on holiday who are being stalked by an unknown entity and getting picked off one by one. Then, just when I was wondering how this could possibly continue for the remaining half of the book, the story takes a hard left turn and the next thing I know we run across some Black Me
Sep 19, 2011 rated it did not like it
I don't read much horror but I was excited for this book because I won it from one of the monthly giveaways for the Speculative Fiction Challenge. I read The Ritual in one sitting. The first half of the book was, for me, everything a horror story should be. It was suspenseful, chilling and scary. The unseen monster in the woods was made real enough that I wouldn't want to go hiking for a while. If you had asked me at that point I'd have said that I'd be sleeping with my light on that night.

Aug 28, 2014 rated it it was ok

'The Ritual' reminded me of my experience of watching Stanley Kubrick's movie 'Full Metal Jacket' for the first time. I remember enjoying the movie immensely, until [movie spoiler alert] Pyle kills his tormentor and blows his own brains out in the toilet. After that the movie becomes something different entirely. Not bad, but a bit disappointing.

Although entirely different in genre and medium from each other, 'The Ritual' follows the same trajectory as Full Jacket Jacket did, as far as the dras
Fungi From Yuggoth
36 stars!!!

I was totally engrossed in this book from the first sentences. A graphic, gory, terribly suspenseful, tense, horrifying, mystery-adventure-horror-untangling of emotional revelations, this novel riveted me completely. I so wanted to stay up all night to finish it! The compulsion to know “who’s next” and “what’s going on,” “why oh why is this happening,” and “is there inexplicably a human cause-or is this truly all Supernatural?” kept me turning pages nearly at the speed of light.

Mr. Ne
Melissa Chung
Mar 20, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Started this book on a 5.5 hour plane ride and read about 60% of it. That right there is a sign that this was a good book. 4 star read. A little wordy and philosophical at times, but a great survival story.

The Ritual is about four friends going off into the unknown. A backpacking trip in Sweden. Hitch is our map guy and decides to take his mates on a shortcut. A little cliche, but that's okay. We read in the prologue exactly what the four witness in their first day of hiking through the ancient
Oct 26, 2017 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Do you know the feeling when you watch a horror movie where people enter their own house or apartment, seeing the door was open for some reason, them knowing something is wrong - but then they call "hello" into the void and you just want to smash their head against the wall as punishment for their stupidity?
This book is exactly like that.

If it wasn't for me having seen the trailer for the upcoming movie adaptation, I would probably have never read this book.I hope the movie will be better (it se
Nov 13, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Gripping and thought-provoking horror novel from Nevill about a group of friends hiking in a Scandinavian forest who encounter a strung-up animal and strange artifacts that may be related to a unseen spirit that seems to be following the group. The book is told in two parts, and many of the reviews I read felt that the second part was a completely different book than the first and pretty much ruined the story. I just don't see it. The second part, to me, was simply a continuation of the first, w ...more
« previous 1 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 next »
topics  posts  views  last activity   
Contemporary Brit...: The Ritual 5 52 Mar 19, 2019 02:09AM  
Horror Word Game 1 5 Dec 21, 2018 06:07PM  
Around the Year i...: The Ritual, by Adam Nevill 1 7 Oct 01, 2018 07:21PM  
Horror Aficionados : The Ritual 33 79 Mar 19, 2018 04:55PM  
Horror Aficionados : The Ritual 105 98 Nov 20, 2017 07:11AM  

Readers also enjoyed

  • Incarnate
  • The Cipher
  • Naomi's Room
  • The Faceless
  • Hell Train
  • The Unblemished
  • Pretty Little Dead Things
  • The Croning
  • The Fisherman
  • In Silent Graves (Cedar Hill #1)
  • Gateways to Abomination: Collected Short Fiction
  • Bad Glass
  • The Mall (Downside, #1)
  • Enter, Night
  • The Pilo Family Circus
  • Behold the Void
  • The Narrows
  • The Missing (Keeper, #2)
See similar books…
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 horror novels: 'Banquet for the Damned', 'Apartment 16', 'The Ritual', 'Last Days', 'House of Small Shadows', 'No One Gets Out Alive', 'Lost Girl', and 'Under a Watchful Eye'. His first short story collection, 'Some Will Not Sleep: Selected Horrors', was published on Halloween, ...more
No trivia or quizzes yet. Add some now »
“Some teeth long for ripping, gleaming wet from black dog gums. So you keep your eyes closed at the end. You don't want to see such a mouth up close. before the bite, before its oblivion in the goring of your soft parts, the speckled lips will curl back in a whinny of excitement. You just know it.” 3 likes
“It’s like you said, it’s all about P.R. these days. Brand management. Social networking. The corporatization of our own experience. We’re all our very own communications directors. But what a load of bollocks it all is when you’re faced by something like this.” 2 likes
More quotes…