The Ritual

The Ritual - Adam Nevill An old-fashioned tale told in an old-fashioned voice, there is no denying the talent behind this book. An intriguing setup finds four college friends reunited for a trek through a dense forest in Norway. All goes well until their leader decides to take a shortcut through "virgin" territory, and soon they find themselves stalked by something monstrous and ancient. All the ingredients are here for an excellent horror novel, but while more than competently told, instances of long-windedness, repetition, and exhausting detail, reduce the impact to a noticeable, if not significant degree.

And while the third act shift which has alienated many readers didn't bother me at all (I found it made perfect sense in the context of the story), I did feel it could have come sooner to avoid incongruity.

Still, I have to recommend Adam Neville's novel. He's a good writer, the atmosphere is palpable (I found myself checking my fingers for pine sap and grass stains), the imagination on display is commendable, the horror truly bone-chilling. My proviso is that the book will clearly not be for everyone (it could have been cut by 80-100 pages and been twice the novel), and requires a great deal of patience. But for the patient, the payoff and indeed the many genuinely unsettling sequences along the way, make the journey well worth taking.