Thursday, August 9, 2012

The Ritual

Didn’t I tell you to stay out of the woods? Well in Adam Nevill’s horrific The Ritual, Hutch, Phil, Dom, and Luke didn’t get the memo. It was supposed to be fun: four long-time friends from London who decide to get together for a three-day hike through the wilds of Sweden. Just the fellas, away from the wives and the kids and the troubles of civilization for a little while. Needless to say, it doesn’t take long for things to go wrong. First, Dom twists his knee, and that combined with the fact that he and Phil aren’t in hiking shape to begin with slows the men’s pace considerably. Second, because they’re not making proper time, Hutch decides that a shortcut is in order and they head off the trail and into a stretch of unmarked virgin forest. It’ll be a treat, he says. Trust me. Big mistake, guys. Because that’s where they come across the dead thing in the trees. That’s where they take shelter from the incessant rain in an abandoned house they stumble across, a place of nightmares. And that’s where they learn that yes, they’re being hunted by something big, dark, strong. And hungry. You see, in a forest seemingly as old as time itself, there are much more terrifying things than bears, but perhaps most terrifying of all are the humans who worship It. Feed It. Call It a god. The Ritual is a panic-inducing page turner, the sort of tale that with each chapter closes in around you like midnight in a graveyard. Believe me when I tell you that it’s truly disturbing, but it’s also good. Read it. I dare you.

And for the love of God, stay out of the woods!  

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