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The Ritual

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3.62  ·  Rating details ·  13,371 ratings  ·  1,877 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
...more
Paperback, 418 pages
Published May 28th 2011 by Pan Publishing (first published May 6th 2011)
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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, an…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 thoug…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

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Average rating 3.62  · 
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 ·  13,371 ratings  ·  1,877 reviews


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A.
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
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Kat
May 05, 2020 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
i’d say that adam nevill should have quit while he was ahead with this one, but then no book would exist (although maybe it’d be better that way)
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 reco
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Trudi

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
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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
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RedemptionDenied
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
...more
Sr3yas
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
...more
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
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Kirsten
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
Matt
Nov 02, 2015 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fiction, horror
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
Bradley
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
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Michelle
Mar 03, 2016 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: bought-own, favorites
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
Carol
"There are some things worse than death."

I don't know what possessed me to bypass my next intended read for THE RITUAL....probably the wonderfully creepy cover? All I know is that once it showed on my GR feed, I was being drawn to it, and once I started, I couldn't stop the need to find out what IT was and how it would all end.

This story is about four university mates who get together for a hiking reunion in the wilderness of Sweden. If you're a horror reader, you know that often times character

...more
Larry
Apr 11, 2020 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Underwhelming. I struggled with the main characters, and lost interest in the ridiculous aspect of the latter part of the story. Maybe the movie is better?
Kasia
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
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Misstdennis
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 n
...more
Poonam
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
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Terry
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
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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
...more
Kimberly
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
...more
Helen
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
Bill
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
...more
Latasha
Jul 18, 2013 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
The first part of this book was so scary. I loved it!! Then the second part- I never saw coming! Overall I enjoyed the book & read. I read it a lot faster than I thought I would. ...more
Marc-Antoine
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.
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.
Steve Stred
Jul 07, 2020 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
** Edited as review is now live on Kendall Reviews! **

In 2011, Adam Nevill released his book ‘The Ritual‘ which caught the eye of filmmakers and became a celebrated 2017 Netflix movie.

At the time of it’s release to Netflix, I was just starting to dip my toes into the Horror Community more and more and had not read any of Nevill’s work. As well, in 2017, a period of time worked out that my wife and son went on a visit to my In-Law’s and I had time available to watch the movie.

‘The Ritual‘ movie s
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Allisyn
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.

Once
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 Reading Reindeer
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
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Contemporary Brit...: The Ritual 5 57 Mar 19, 2019 02:09AM  
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Horror Aficionados : The Ritual 105 102 Nov 20, 2017 07:11AM  

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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', 'Under a Watchful Eye' and 'The Reddening'. His first short story collection, 'Some Will Not Sleep: Selected Horrors', was publish ...more

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