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The Ritual by Adam Nevill

Reviewed by Max

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When four friends venture into the Scandinavian forests of the Arctic Circle aiming to briefly escape their mundane lives, a shortcut meant to ease their hike turns into a nightmare that could cost them everything. They quickly find themselves lost, hungry, and surrounded by forest untouched for millennia and, in their desperate attempt to find their way, they stumble upon a derelict building, ancient artifacts, and the residue of old rites and pagan sacrifice for something that still exists in the forest. Something responsible for the bestial presence that follows their every step. As the four friends stagger in the direction of salvation, they learn that death doesn't come easy among these ancient trees.

As an avid lover of all things spooky, I make time to read as many horror stories as possible during the fall months. Nevill's exemplary talent for character introspection, penchant for protracted terror, and intermittent dashes of hope keep the reader on the edge of suspense throughout this transcendent mystery. Although there are sections of the story where it feels this suspense is unnecessarily perpetuated, the sustained ethereal interpretations of the forest and consistent presence of an entity equal parts serenly ancient and ineffably wicked places this book near the top of my recommended horror reads.

Rating: 4.5/5 stars