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The Rats

(Rats #1)

3.94  ·  Rating details ·  15,027 ratings  ·  698 reviews
For millions of years man and rats had been natural enemies. But now for the first time - suddenly, shockingly, horribly - the balance of power had shifted and the rats began to prey on the human population.
Hardcover, 208 pages
Published 1999 by Macmillan (first published 1974)
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Ty-real This is a silly novel filled with silly things, but oh noes a little bit hyperbole.

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3.94  · 
Rating details
 ·  15,027 ratings  ·  698 reviews

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Jeffrey Keeten
Oct 08, 2015 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: horror
By gnawing through a dike, even a rat may drown a nation.
Edmund Burke

There are rats and then there are RATS.

 photo Rats_zpsct1oqnji.jpg

A scientist has brought back an oversized rat from a radioactive island, and he begins breeding it with the local London rats. These rats are famous in their own right for bringing down London more than once with plague in the long, distant past.

Obviously, we all need bigger rats, right?

That would be a negatory.

Rats do what rats do best which is out rabbit rabbits in the area of fornic
Hannah Greendale
Click here to watch a video review of this book on my channel, From Beginning to Bookend.

Gory, shocking, and moderately offensive, The Rats reads like a campy B-movie train wreck one doesn't want to watch but cannot look away from.

Sean Barrs the Bookdragon
Nov 05, 2018 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: rat haters
If a horror book makes you laugh this much then it's a failure. Simple as.

Sure, the rats might have been selectively bred to be giant and vicious, but they are still rats: they are still little bundles of loveliness with their little ears and cute noses. They are not scary. Don’t demonise rats James, it’s not cool!




I happen to be very fond of rats, and they are often very misrepresented in fiction and media. Sure, you might say they are disease carriers and pests, but in reality who pesters who?
Oct 26, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Pack up your bags and run, my friend, because oversized Rats are here.... And they are really hungry.

Welcome to London, the ground zero of a terrible rat infestation.

Nope, Ratatouille rat infestation was almost cute. This is much worse! Let me put it this way. If you are on the streets, You'd have a better chance surviving a Zombie apocalypse than this rat invasion! Not only they can devour you in minutes, a bite from these mutant bastards will infect and kill you within 24 hours!

This is a bl
Mar 03, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Holy heck, this was brutal.

Herbert's writing is brilliant, and the story launches straight into the action, with rats having their fill of human flesh in the first chapter. What follows is basically a near-200-page massacre.

The plot is so incredibly simple: mutant rats are attacking people and devouring them in horrific ways. There's nothing particularly smart about it, but what it lacks in intelligence it makes up for in graphic, gory detail.

I really enjoyed the way Herbert introduces charact
Johann (jobis89)
Sep 22, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
"The rats had had their fill of his body, but were still hungry. So they searched. Searched for more food of the same kind. They had tasted their first human blood."

There's a new breed of rat in London, England, and they're bigger, more intelligent and more vicious than their predecessors. These rats are thirsty for human blood and as they feed, their bloodlust becomes more and more rampant. As the rats wreck havoc on those living in London, the question becomes: how do you eliminate hordes of r
Paul Nelson
Aug 15, 2015 rated it really liked it
OMFG this is about rats, lots of fucking rats, not just your average normal run of the mill rats but super big fucking rats that have taken a liking to human flesh. I listened to this on audio and have to say it's pretty entertaining, in an upper class, hoighty-toighty kind of narration, we get to know various characters some very quickly as they get, well, eaten and a few others that are in it for the long run.
Decent story, enjoyable horror, plenty of cringing and I have to say, where would we
Nov 25, 2013 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2017, horror
This is a old fashioned Horror book and just having revisited in perhaps 30 years time makes me realise how weel it is written and how good a scribe James Herbert actually is.

There is this little house in a lane that gets forgotten and overgrown and after some time people forget about the house and that it ever was there. The last person who lived there was taken away and put in home for the insane.

Years later London finds out what probably has driven her insane when the attacks start by a new
Sep 16, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
"Something landed on his bonnet with a thump causing him to swing round to the front again. One of the giant rats was staring at him through the windscreen, its evil face almost level with his own, the distance between them only two feet, a thin sheet of glass his only protection.

THE RATS....not your average ordinary big rats....but ugly humongous bristled creatures larger than a dog....attacking type creatures with teeth like electric saws and a taste for human blood. They first arrive in th

Dannii Elle
Oct 20, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: horror-hazes
I did not expect to read a novel first published in 1974 and find it so gruesome as a modern-day reader! This was probably a massive oversight on my part, given that this was the book that defined a genre!

Herbert's The Rats gives a chilling insight to what a world overrun, with the creatures that bear their name in the title, would look like. There is a central story-line but this is interspersed with an assortment of additional narratives that relay confrontations with these terrifying creature
Apr 15, 2014 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: a-to-z-challenge
The Rats is pure horror goodness. Unrelenting, unapologetic horror. Babies, puppies, giraffes, nothing is safe from the teeming mass of mutant rats that are terrorizing London. 5 squirming stars.
Nov 25, 2011 rated it really liked it
Shelves: not-loanable
Old school horror fun! This was the kind of book that I read as a teen in the early 80s that caused me to become a life long fan of horror.
A rollicking good time. :)
Oct 05, 2018 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 1970s, horror, reviewed
*Pulls up Spotify and plays “Rats” by Ghost for the remainder of the review*

If you’re doing the same at home, please imagine every time you read the word “rats” that it is delivered as it is in that song. It will make the review significantly more entertaining.

So, James Herbert was an awesome horror author. I feel I cannot stress that enough before I begin this review, because “The Rats” proves that was not always the case. Now do not get me wrong, this book is actually quite entertaining, and d
Mar 27, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: horror
This is the fourth book by James Herbert I've read and it's easily my favourite.

The premise couldn't be more simple in setup. A new breed of rat, which is larger, more intelligent and far more vicious, starts to appear in London, England. These new rats start their killing from the very start of the book to the end. It's a cast of characters trying to figure out where the rats are coming from and trying to eliminate them. Easier said than done however.

The book is dark and brutal all the way thro
Nov 22, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: own-paperback
The Rats was my very first taste venturing into the authentic horror genre. I was so affected by this book that I still clearly remember what led up to me finally turning that first page.
I was constantly looking at it sitting on a bookshelf in our home, and being drawn to the terrified face of the man, as well as those two little words:"The Rats"and being charged with nervous anticipation, wondering exactly what I would find between the pages. Somehow, I sensed that when I did finally have enou
Jul 22, 2015 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: horror
Rats by James herbert is horror at its very best i loved this book sent chills down my spine i hate rodents & reading this i hate RATS even more.

well written no wonder this book sent Herbert career sky rocketing blood sucking rats devour everything in their wake even a baby that made me sick what else can i say BLOODY BRILLIANT 5 big stars
Adam Light
Dec 12, 2013 rated it really liked it
Shelves: own-it, james-herbert
Good old fashioned mutant animals run amok horror. The writing was somewhat thin, but the story was fun, and there are two sequels to look forward to. As far as Herbert goes, this is only the fourth or fofth of his sizeable canon I have read. I enjoyed The Fog was similar in construct and plot, and I liked it a little better.
Aug 13, 2011 rated it really liked it
First a bit of background to my penchant for Herbert’s novels… Back in the days of my youth, when I was about thirteen years old (circa 1984 or thereabouts!), I had to do a book review for my English class. A year or two previously I had found a copy of Herbert’s ‘The Jonah’ at a jumble sale, and attracted by its freaky cover, I bought it. It languished on a shelf for the next couple of years, until I decided it would make an excellent book to review. My English teacher took exception to this id ...more
Rebecca McNutt
Jan 16, 2015 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This book is really great, from the cover (I bought the 1980 edition with the giant rat on the front) it looks kind of like a cheesy cult horror movie poster but this book has a lot of action, the story moves quickly but makes you want to read more, it's fact-based and well researched (there were never giant killer rats but it does provide some credible info on the times when rats were spreading the plague back in the middle ages), the characters are likeable, there is never a dull moment in thi ...more
Mar 20, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: z-4-stars

In this horror story by James Herbert rats have mutated to the size of dogs and kill off humans. It follows multiple characters living in London trying to survive the attacks from these super rats. I read the special 40th anniversary addition which is absolutely gorgeous.

I like that it starts with the first kill, that means you are with the story from the start and see how these rats evolve. It also shows very many aspects off the story, the people who are attacked, the bystanders, the scientis
Feb 18, 2013 rated it really liked it
Re-reading this book reminded me of why I like James Herbert so much and how he got me back into reading when I was younger in a big way.
All his stories combine interesting but everyday characters with some bizarre or extreme event - the combination of the two makes his books even more scary - it could happen to ANYONE!!!
The story is told in a chatty, laid-back style that is contrasted with the huge phenomenon of the monstrous rats invasion!
Very skillfully woven and completely absorbing - I love
Feb 21, 2012 rated it did not like it
Read this for Genre. Lacking in horror and excitement. Lackluster descriptions of the rats, to say the least. Harris, main protagonist, is dull and drawn into saving London for no valid reason it seems. The book is incredibly sexist. His girlfriend is nothing more than a cutout that the main character has sex with and cooks him meals. Twice on the book he commands her to make him a meal, rest of the time he just tells her about the amazing dangers he experienced fighting the rats.

Every other fe
Apr 05, 2018 rated it really liked it
Three and half stars

I read The Fog a few months ago and I was curious about The Rats, the first novel from the author and a success that made Mr. Herbert instantly known; and when I saw it in the Kindle Flash discounts, I could not resist.

Despite its fame, as Neil Gaiman comments in the prologue, it is still a first work and and you can see it in some aspects, but the pace is good and the reading is very entertaining.

The characters are well described. Somehow their behavior seems more like a mo
The first of the Rats trilogy, A special 40th anniversary edition of the classic, bestselling novel that launched James Herbert's career.

I read this book many years ago in some form of paperback and quite enjoyed it. This is a beautiful hard cover edition with a die cut cover published by Pan Macmillan, so how could I pass it up.

6/1/15 Update.

I purchased the Centipede Press set also which are a set of 3 Herbert books.

This is number 40 of 300 signed numbered copies, signed by:

James Herbert
Jason C
Jul 14, 2012 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
My rating is based upon the general effect this book had on me as a child (I shouldn't really have read it so young) and upon my subsequent reading habits, and not upon the book's literary merits, assuming it has any.

Summer, 1974 (possibly 1975): I went to the park to see if any of my mates were there, and they weren't. So, I went to the café to get an ice cream, but being a 10-year old bookworm decided to look at the novels in the rotary racks they had just inside the door. I would have been lo
Alan Toner
Apr 10, 2011 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
The Rats is, without doubt, the BEST horror novel I have ever read in my whole life. I first read this classic novel by James Herbert way back in 1975, and just could not put it down. I honestly cannot voice enough superlatives to describe this truly fantastic shocker of a book. It was just one big roller coaster ride of sheer, unbridled, entertaining horror, from start to finish. I enjoyed it that much that I actually finished it in one whole day!

The Rats is truly the horror novel template whic
Jan 28, 2014 rated it really liked it
James Herbert's debut horror novel about killer mutant rats terrorizing London may sound somewhat corny, but this slim novel shows an early work but one of the true masters of modern horror fiction. Haven't heard of him? Pity, because until untimely passing last year, Herbert was Britain's top chiller author (think UK's Stephen King) and one of the best ever, period.

The time is the mid 70's and a schoolteacher becomes embroiled in a desperate search by authorities to find and exterminate these l
Apr 07, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: buddy-read, 2018
Good grief, so many rats!! RATS!!

This was a solid, old school, creature horror tale. It’s set in London during the 1970s so it’s a bit dated but I still enjoyed it. There’s a smart and heroic main character trying to help the UK government defeat the rat epidemic. Harris was a bit full of himself at times but I had to cheer for someone!

There are tons of rats causing chaos and death in London and this is a nightmare for most people. Rats breed way too fast and are definitely disgusting! Most peop
Amphetamine Sulphate
Have set myself the task of reading (or in some cases re-reading) the first eight novels by James Herbert. 'The Rats' is good fun, with some fine mass death sequences (attacks on the London Underground, a cinema, and most memorably, Regent's Park Zoo). Alternating with these set piece atrocities Herbert sketches out little downbeat vignettes of life which end inevitably with painful mutilating destruction. Reminds me of similar sombre sketches by Robert Aickman or certain grim stand-alone novels ...more
Lilyn G. | Sci-Fi & Scary
James Herbert’s The Rats is one of those books that, as someone who loves horror, you almost feel required to read. Doubly so if you’re someone who likes creature features. After a while of hearing about it though, if you’re like me, you start to get nervous. How often does a book actually live up to the hype? So, I held off on getting it. And held off. And – oh look – it’s on sale at BetterWorldBooks! Well, shucks, no excuse now.

Almost as soon as it was in my semi-reluctant, but still greedy an
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The Rats Is My All Time Favourite Horror Novel 7 11 Apr 23, 2019 12:35PM  
Contemporary Brit...: The Rats 4 30 Jun 10, 2018 08:23AM  
Horror Aficionados : The Rats - James Herbert 61 58 Apr 16, 2018 03:28PM  

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James Herbert was Britain's number one bestselling writer (a position he held ever since publication of his first novel) and one of the world's top writers of thriller/horror fiction.

He was one of our greatest popular novelists, whose books are sold in thirty-three other languages, including Russian and Chinese. Widely imitated and hugely influential, his 19 novels have sold more than 42 million

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  • Lair (Rats, #2)
  • Domain (Rats, #3)
  • The City (Rats, #4)
“But the point was it was the construction itself that had made a minor disaster into a major one. And the construction had been a cheaper means of building - a cheaper way of cramming thirty or forty families into the smallest square footage possible. That is what embittered Harris. The incompetence of 'authority'.” 0 likes
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