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review 2018-04-07 16:42
The Ritual by Adam Nevill (2016 Review)
The Ritual - Adam Nevill

The Ritual by Adam Nevill
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

The reunion of four University friends not only offers a chance to escape from the stresses of the everyday, but also an opportunity to behold the wonders of the outdoors... Or at least that was the plan. The last thing Hutch, Luke, Phil and Dom needed was to get lost within a virgin forest in a foreign country; a Scandinavian wilderness that just feels wrong. When they bare witness to something hanging up a tree - something dead, everything changes from then on.

(WARNING: This review contains MAJOR spoilers.)

Collecting dust on my bookshelf, amongst the other two hundred unread books (more or less), for a few years now, I finally decided to pick this one up and give it a go. I didn't know what exactly to expect at first, but the whole "man versus nature" aspect appealed to me, and thus I found myself thoroughly impressed with the initial direction of the plot. Even to imagine getting lost in such an ancient maze of untouched forest, where daylight itself refuses to penetrate, definitely makes my skin crawl. Even so, I'm not usually all that affected by horror in general, and even though I didn't feel terrified or frightened, I certainly felt a sense of unease and foreboding. The writing was a main factor in creating such responses; so darkly atmospheric with sentences that conveyed so much, from every stab of fear to every thread of hope. If not for the very drastic change in story in the second half, I'd have rated it five stars.

I didn't even find the characters entirely likeable, but not because they were poorly written - on the contrary, they were painfully realistic. The ones who picked on another out of a jealous attempt to hide their own crumbling lives, the one with obvious commitment issues and lack of purpose, and lastly, the one with the level head. However, even despite Hutch being the one to try and keep everything civil and together, he shared a particular shallowness with Luke in regard to continuously calling the other two "fatties". They had their flaws, as we all do, and as all good fictional characters should. Luke, whom I eventually came to feel sympathy for, was probably the worst, as his views on women were verging on being downright sexist. He clearly had his problems with anger management as well, but what that man experienced, his helplessness - I couldn't help but hope he'd survive the whole ordeal.

As for the complete shift titled "South of Heaven"; I didn't hate it, but admittedly it appeared quite silly at first. Going from the struggles of survival in the wilderness whilst hunted by a mysterious creature, to being held captive by a metal band consisting of face-painted teenagers - it was confusing to say the least, but after a while I settled into the craziness and accepted it for what it was. The trio; Fenris, Loki and Sutr, were void of sanity of any kind (as you can tell from what they called themselves), but even though they were all sorts of ridiculous, the old woman and what dwelled within the attic succeeded in returning the eerie tone. From stitching together the pieces given, the inhabitants of the house were children of the "moder", which added a nice touch. It then begs the question, why did the woman need Luke to do her dirty work in dispatching of the disrespectful teens when she could've called the monster? Well, if you revere something, if you worship something, it stands to reason you don't want to piss it off by expecting it to do pest control.

Still, the rambling on of Christianity, and of how evil they were as Vikings, it got a little tedious after a short time. I'm all for Norse mythology and how religion played a role in the origin of the forest, but I don't need dialogue that seems never-ending to get the point across. I rolled my eyes, I facepalmed, and I missed the simple yet effective quality of the first couple of hundred pages. Again, I state it was close to being a well-deserved favourite, but the last half just wasn't as good.

In conclusion: I'm definitely interested in Nevill's other works now, as I appreciated his ability as a writer. I favoured the first section of this particular novel, but the change in direction jarred me.

Notable Scene:

Luke took three mouthfuls of water from his bottle. It tasted of rubber and of the forest around them: the cloying of damp wood, rotting leaves and cold air. He detested it. He smelled of it too. They were almost a part of it now. Just a few bright colours of the man-made fibres they wore marked them out as any different to the thoughtless, relentless decay of season and nature. It would be so easy now to just sink to the ground and get recycled, to be eaten or rot away. The endlessness of it, the sheer size of the land and their total insignificance within it nearly shut his mind down.

© Red Lace 2016

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Source: redlace.reviews/2018/04/07/the-ritual-by-adam-nevill-2016-review
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review 2018-04-01 22:20
Norse Mythology
Norse Mythology - Neil Gaiman

This was a good overview of the Norse myths, written in a simple manner, but I found the style got a bit tedious after a while. Or maybe I'm just not that into myths.

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review 2018-03-23 23:54
Loki had how many wives?!
Norse Mythology - Neil Gaiman

I've never yet been let down by Neil Gaiman and Norse Mythology certainly didn't break that winning streak. In this nonfiction book Gaiman covers a wide range of Norse myths and in the process destroys what Marvel had implanted in the minds (my mind at least) of what Asgard looked like and who inhabited it. For example, Marvel led me to believe that Loki and Thor were adopted brothers. Nope! In actuality, Loki was Odin's HALF brother sooooo the family dynamic just got a whole lot weirder. I think the best thing about Norse Mythology is that it justified my interest in Loki and non-interest (is that a word?) for Thor (who is described as all brawn and no brain). I really enjoyed learning about how these myths explained world events like earthquakes which were thought to be caused by Loki struggling against venomous poison inside of a mountain. And humans attained the gift of poetry from mead that was made from the blood of the wise god, Kvasir. Gaiman doesn't only focus on the 3 biggies (I'm talking Odin, Loki, & Thor) but also discusses the 'lesser' gods and in particular the events surrounding Ragnarok. Up until reading this book, I thought Ragnarok was another word for apocalypse but actually it's better termed as a time of grand change. Yes, the world as the gods came to know it will end but then it's time for a new world which isn't necessarily a bad thing (unless you're a god I guess). This would have been a 10/10 for me except that I kept wishing for illustrations culled from historical texts. This would have really added to the short stories and made it a standout. However, that doesn't stop this from being a very interesting read and I don't think it should stop any of you from grabbing it off the shelves.

 

What's Up Next: Rest in Pieces: The Curious Fates of Famous Corpses by Bess Lovejoy

 

What I'm Currently Reading: Eleanor Oliphant is Completely Fine by Gail Honeyman

Source: readingfortheheckofit.blogspot.com
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review 2018-03-07 01:22
Review: The Norse Chronicles by Karissa Laurel
The Norse Chronicles - Karissa Laurel

This is a must read for every fan of Norse mythology fan. Even if you have not read or seen much Norse mythology you will love these books. This urban fantast trilogy is the perfect mix of modern world with accident gods roaming this world among us.

 Follow Solina as she discovers she is part of a world she never thought was real and as she learns so much she never even thought of. She uncovers secrets she was never meant to know, which puts her in danger and on the run. During her journey she meets some new people but quickly learns that she can’t trust everybody and people will betray her to stop her from finding out too much.

All three books are jammed packed with action, laughter, sass and just the right amount of romance and they will keep you on the edge of your seat with some pretty big and awesome plot twists.

Overall, I highly enjoyed all three books and can only recommend them. I rate it 4 ½-5 ★

 

Image result for thor and loki gif

 

 

 

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review 2018-02-26 12:00
Go Gently into the Dark...
The Long Dark Tea-Time of the Soul - Douglas Adams

At the outset of this short book by the author of 'The Hitch Hiker Trilogy', I was hopeful for a blissful return to the cosmic mayhem of yore. I came upon the book on a hospital shelf and it seemed like a dead ringer to lift the gloom and restore spirits and that it did.

As a random choice, it did mean my introduction to Dirk Gently – ‘Holistic Detective’ - came at the character's second outing (originally published in 1988), but this didn't seem to detract from the story (and I will go back to check on "Dirk Gently's Holistic Detective Agency", 1987, through my tbr list). In any event, Gently's fundamental belief in the interconnectedness of all things provided a delightful proof for the anarchic stream of glorious gibberish served up by Adams here. Leastways the inbuilt laugh-out-loud moments are also a fairly reliable indicator of an intact funny bone and a sign that dependent on one's perspective, we do continue to mill about in a curiously mysterious world.

 

Like a well-honed stand-up routine, the author highlights some of the ambiguities and illogical nature of human behaviours and starts at the fertile territory of an airport, with an American traveller, Kate Schechter, bewildered by the inability to get pizza delivered in London. There follows an inexplicable incident, labelled an 'act of god', but what if Kate's path has indeed crossed with a god of old Norse mythology, also in transit to Scandinavia? The possibilities that flow from Asgardians walking the Earth might, in other hands, be threatening, yet Adams shows even super-humans might suffer the similar frailties of mortals, driven to extraordinary lengths to secure well laundered bedding. Throw in a gory murder, awaiting the kismet influence of the hapless detective and giggle-laden chaos is assured. Still, not too much of a spoiler I hope, to reveal, Gently does it....

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