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The Reddening

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One million years of evolution didn't change our nature. Nor did it bury the horrors predating civilisation. Ancient rites, old deities and savage ways can reappear in the places you least expect. Lifestyle journalist Katrine escaped past traumas by moving to a coast renowned for seaside holidays and natural beauty. But when a vast hoard of human remains and prehistoric One million years of evolution didn't change our nature. Nor did it bury the horrors predating civilisation. Ancient rites, old deities and savage ways can reappear in the places you least expect. Lifestyle journalist Katrine escaped past traumas by moving to a coast renowned for seaside holidays and natural beauty. But when a vast hoard of human remains and prehistoric artefacts is discovered in nearby Brickburgh, a hideous shadow engulfs her life. Helene, a disillusioned lone parent, lost her brother, Lincoln, six years ago. Disturbing subterranean noises he recorded prior to vanishing, draw her to Brickburgh's caves. A site where early humans butchered each other across sixty thousand years. Upon the walls, images of their nameless gods remain. Amidst rumours of drug plantations and new sightings of the mythical red folk, it also appears that the inquisitive have been disappearing from this remote part of the world for years. A rural idyll where outsiders are unwelcome and where an infernal power is believed to linger beneath the earth. A timeless supernormal influence that only the desperate would dream of confronting. But to save themselves and those they love, and to thwart a crimson tide of pitiless barbarity, Kat and Helene are given no choice. They were involved and condemned before they knew it. 'The Reddening' is an epic story of folk and prehistoric horrors written by Adam Nevill, the author of 'The Ritual', 'Last Days', 'No One Gets Out Alive' and the three times winner of The August Derleth Award for Best Horror Novel.


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One million years of evolution didn't change our nature. Nor did it bury the horrors predating civilisation. Ancient rites, old deities and savage ways can reappear in the places you least expect. Lifestyle journalist Katrine escaped past traumas by moving to a coast renowned for seaside holidays and natural beauty. But when a vast hoard of human remains and prehistoric One million years of evolution didn't change our nature. Nor did it bury the horrors predating civilisation. Ancient rites, old deities and savage ways can reappear in the places you least expect. Lifestyle journalist Katrine escaped past traumas by moving to a coast renowned for seaside holidays and natural beauty. But when a vast hoard of human remains and prehistoric artefacts is discovered in nearby Brickburgh, a hideous shadow engulfs her life. Helene, a disillusioned lone parent, lost her brother, Lincoln, six years ago. Disturbing subterranean noises he recorded prior to vanishing, draw her to Brickburgh's caves. A site where early humans butchered each other across sixty thousand years. Upon the walls, images of their nameless gods remain. Amidst rumours of drug plantations and new sightings of the mythical red folk, it also appears that the inquisitive have been disappearing from this remote part of the world for years. A rural idyll where outsiders are unwelcome and where an infernal power is believed to linger beneath the earth. A timeless supernormal influence that only the desperate would dream of confronting. But to save themselves and those they love, and to thwart a crimson tide of pitiless barbarity, Kat and Helene are given no choice. They were involved and condemned before they knew it. 'The Reddening' is an epic story of folk and prehistoric horrors written by Adam Nevill, the author of 'The Ritual', 'Last Days', 'No One Gets Out Alive' and the three times winner of The August Derleth Award for Best Horror Novel.

30 review for The Reddening

  1. 5 out of 5

    Sadie Hartmann Mother Horror

    5 ++++ stars! “But, alas, in such places where hell is made on earth one can never look away from the business of depravity.”- The Reddening All the stars. This book, THE REDDENING by Adam Nevill gets all the stars from me because this is the kind of horror I want to read all of my days. This will definitely make my Best Books of 2019 list. First, as a writer, Nevill checks all the boxes for me. His storytelling voice is seasoned with intention and care for the reader; he knows where the story is 5 ++++ stars! “But, alas, in such places where hell is made on earth one can never look away from the business of depravity.”- The Reddening All the stars. This book, THE REDDENING by Adam Nevill gets all the stars from me because this is the kind of horror I want to read all of my days. This will definitely make my Best Books of 2019 list. First, as a writer, Nevill checks all the boxes for me. His storytelling voice is seasoned with intention and care for the reader; he knows where the story is going and exactly how he’s going to get his audience from point A to point B. He also spends a lot of time on his characters, even characters that are in a scene for a few beats-these are people to him with real lives and motivations--a reason for being on the page. This is so important to me. I cannot stress enough how strongly I desire characters I can invest in when I’m reading horror--I don’t want to show up to a 300+ page book and read intense scenes of violence if I’m a mere observer to these atrocities. I want to feel like the author has invited me to participate and engage in my emotions. I want to care. I want to fall in love and then I want to be destroyed. Also, Nevill painstakingly creates the world his story exists in. There is so much going on in the world-building that I cannot even fathom how much research goes into stories like THE REDDENING. It feels authentic, born out of realism that I appreciate. Too often, I read books where the author didn’t spend enough time on this aspect of storytelling and there is too much telling and not enough showing. In this book, prepare to be shown everything in unflinching vibrancy, the reader will not be left unsatisfied. The Reddening begins with all of my favorite things. Nevill teases us with a brilliant prologue, Origins. From here, he expertly leads the reader through a series of vignettes, all the while planting seeds of intrigue. Archeological digs, explorations, discoveries, found footage, mystery. We come to meet Kat and Helene--our main protagonists. I adore Kat and Helene. Throughout the book, these two women go through individual journeys, their lives intersecting briefly. Nevill created these women to be our anchors as we navigate through all of the horrors. It’s through their experiences, trials, and tribulations we get to tangibly engage and encounter pure unadulterated savagery. It is terrifying. TERRIFYING! Folk Horror is on-trend right now, having a big moment with the success of the movie, MIDSOMMER but Folk Horror is Adam Nevill’s long-time jam. This is his wheelhouse. This is his ninth horror novel. If you have read THE RITUAL, you know what I mean when I say that Nevill’s unique brand of folk horror reigns supreme. The man knows how to manufacture a realistic folk legacy that feels ancient and profound. THE REDDENING is a new gold standard for this sub-genre. The genocidal cult of this book, The Children of the Red and their bizarre, depraved, ritualistic activities is the stuff of nightmares. At night, after reading, I was haunted by detailed descriptions and images. The most impressive part of this book is the language of the descriptions. I was in awe of Nevill’s word choices, his prose is impactful and original without being overwrought or trying too hard. Telling this story seemed effortless on Nevill’s part which in turn, reads like driving a well-designed car--this is quality, this is prime-time, like sitting behind the wheel and the machine drives itself. At no time during this read was I struggling to make sense of something or laboring with questions. I won’t go into any plot points or tell you the variety of ways in which this story crawled up under the skin but know that this is a well-developed plot with realistic antagonists doing some very horrific things to unsuspecting people who showed a little bit too much curiosity and interest in them. I’m also not going to spoil the climax or the ending of this book. I’m not going to tell you why I’m so in love with Kat and Helene because when you read this, you’ll know. You’ll love them too. I will only say that this hit on all my emotions. Primarily, I was addicted to this story. I felt like I didn’t get enough time with it in long stretches. On Saturday, I read about 150 pages and I could have read for the whole day but you know, life. I hated putting it down. I was engaged, rapt with attention the whole time. I was emotionally invested--terrified, anxious, heartbroken, overcome with feelings most of my time in this book. This is what quality horror feels like when you’re done reading it: Exhilarating.

  2. 5 out of 5

    Mindi

    So guess who is going to be reading a lot more from Adam Nevill? I want to start by talking about the actual book, because presentation means a lot to me. Of course that jacket art is amazing, but I always remove the dust jackets when I read a book, and the cover underneath is a brilliant red with a pleasant grainy feel. My copy was sent straight from the author, and he included a bookmark with the title on it, and a very cool inscription in Latin. The book is the perfect size for holding a So guess who is going to be reading a lot more from Adam Nevill? I want to start by talking about the actual book, because presentation means a lot to me. Of course that jacket art is amazing, but I always remove the dust jackets when I read a book, and the cover underneath is a brilliant red with a pleasant grainy feel. My copy was sent straight from the author, and he included a bookmark with the title on it, and a very cool inscription in Latin. The book is the perfect size for holding a hardcover (slightly smaller than most hardcovers) and the font is gorgeous and very pleasing to the eye. It also smells amazing. I sniff new books as well as old, and this one is very nice. Let's just say, before I even started reading I was impressed. Kat is a lifestyle journalist who lives near Brickburgh, in Devon when suddenly a cave is discovered in the Brickburgh area near the sea. Helene is a single mother who is drawn to Brickburgh to try to understand why her brother would take his own life. He spent a lot of his time recording natural sounds in caves and other areas, and his last recordings were taken near a farm that is very close to the newly found cave. Both women meet and are suddenly thrown together when their separate investigations put both of their lives in peril. The cave and the atrocities the archeologists find inside it turn out to be much more than anyone could image. There is an ancient entity in the vast network of caves in Brickburgh, and those who serve that entity will stop at nothing to keep the two women from snooping around. THE REDDENING starts out as a slow burn that soon turns into a nightmarish gorefest. And I love it. The things the characters go through are thoroughly intense and absolutely nail biting for the reader. I read so much horror that I constantly expect any author to just kill all of the characters and be done with it, so no character is too precious from my point of view. I was sincerely on the edge of my seat for a good part of this book, and I had no idea how Nevill was going to wrap the whole thing up. I enjoyed this book so much and cannot recommend it enough to all horror loving readers. Pick this one up for the gore, high tension, and superb writing.

  3. 5 out of 5

    Janie C.

    This is a captivating and frightening novel that captures our sense of dread and refuses to let go, shaking us within the jaws of historical menace and its threat of eternal continuity. Surrounded by a barren and inhospitable landscape, the unknowing are caught up in appalling rituals and ancient cult activities that are animalistic and merciless. Cosmic horror melds with unrelenting group mentality as crimes against outsiders become increasingly brutal and horrific. Undercurrents of This is a captivating and frightening novel that captures our sense of dread and refuses to let go, shaking us within the jaws of historical menace and its threat of eternal continuity. Surrounded by a barren and inhospitable landscape, the unknowing are caught up in appalling rituals and ancient cult activities that are animalistic and merciless. Cosmic horror melds with unrelenting group mentality as crimes against outsiders become increasingly brutal and horrific. Undercurrents of supernatural omniscience and human iniquity create routes of suspenseful and almost unbearable feats of survival. The occurrences are harrowing at times, but are interspersed with moments of unexpected courage and the possibility of endurance. Employing the use of unearthly sounds, defiled and decrepit dwellings and stories older than life itself, the author creates a part of the world that we hope never to encounter. Once you have glimpsed the Red People, you will never be the same. Godspeed.

  4. 4 out of 5

    Chris Berko

    It pains me to say this because I have a lot of respect and admiration for Adam Nevill and I have enjoyed every other book I have read by him, but this is a boring, pale representation of what he is capable of. I loved the first 20% when the bones are discovered and we get the history of the area and what actually happened deep in those caves but as the story evolved I lost interest more and more and by the time everything came to a head I really couldn't have cared less. Even the last chapter It pains me to say this because I have a lot of respect and admiration for Adam Nevill and I have enjoyed every other book I have read by him, but this is a boring, pale representation of what he is capable of. I loved the first 20% when the bones are discovered and we get the history of the area and what actually happened deep in those caves but as the story evolved I lost interest more and more and by the time everything came to a head I really couldn't have cared less. Even the last chapter which added a little tiny bit of flair was underwhelming and underappreciated, at least to me. Nevill in his other books has always been able to creep me out. He has had me looking around, checking my surroundings, picking my feet off the floor with an accelerated heartbeat in fear because of what he has written and what he comes up with but those feelings were non-existent here. In here there was tons of violence but no scares or chills. I am in no way shape or form put off by violence or gore in books and I've read some pretty graphic stuff but it just didn't work for me here. I was also put off by the repetition. Describing the same thing twenty different ways, performing the same acts of violence over and over and over, it just all got to be pretty redundant and I was bored by about halfway through. At different times this book reminded of a mash-up of Jack Ketchum's Off Season and Nevill's own far superior novel The Ritual but it doesn't do anything as successfully as those two books did themselves. Three outta four ain't bad with regards to how I rate my experiences reading Mr. Nevill so far (Ritual and Last Days were 4 stars, Under A Watchful Eye 5 terrifying stars) and I will continue to buy and read what he puts out, I just go to him to be frightened and not for buckets of blood.

  5. 5 out of 5

    Tony

    The south Devon area of England is well known for its rugged and natural beauty; its stretching coastlines and meandering paths loved by ramblers, however, after reading Adam Nevill’s outstanding new novel The Reddening you may well decide to book your next holiday elsewhere. The author has been a south coast resident for a few years now and, although his last two novels have also been set roughly in this area, this ninth outing is dominated by its locality. Highlights include threatening The south Devon area of England is well known for its rugged and natural beauty; its stretching coastlines and meandering paths loved by ramblers, however, after reading Adam Nevill’s outstanding new novel The Reddening you may well decide to book your next holiday elsewhere. The author has been a south coast resident for a few years now and, although his last two novels have also been set roughly in this area, this ninth outing is dominated by its locality. Highlights include threatening landscapes, secluded farms with vicious secrets and a sea full of dangers rather than its picturesque beauty. One thing is for certain; the offices of the south Devon Tourist Board will not be stocking The Reddening! Long-term fans of Nevill are going to love this brutal tale and if you have never previously dipped into this author, here is as good a place to start as any. If it is to your liking, Nevill’s back-catalogue is so good it rivals the very biggest names in world horror. The story has several very clever strands which I will cover briefly, some out of context to avoid spoilers. Whilst out paragliding Matt Hull discovers the entrance to a cave which leads to the excavation of a hugely important archaeological site concerning early man, however, once the experts have spent some time examining their discoveries they realise this was a location of ritualistic mass slaughter, terrible suffering, and cannibalism spread over many years. The level of detail, and descriptions, of the manner of these deaths was simply outstanding and it perfectly sets the tone for what horrors lies ahead. Even though these monstrosities occurred thousands of years previously, the brutality was so extreme it still scares those hearing about it for the first time in the press conference. The cover of the novel depicts the silhouette of a creature which is clearly connected to the caves in some way. Don’t go into this novel expecting some cheap monster rampaging creature feature, there is significantly more to the story than that. The pacing is exquisite and the discovery of the caves is only one part of a very cleverly drawn and complex conspiracy which is one of the strengths of the novel. One of the golden rules in horror fiction is never reveal your hand too early: Adam Nevill wrote the book on this important literary technique and expertly leads the reader a merry dance on what horrors lurk in the underground caverns. For anyone who has read, arguably, Nevill’s masterpiece No One Gets Out Alive the address of 82 Edgware Road should set off plenty of warning bells and maybe a few shivers of revulsion. The Reddening has its own equivalent: Redstone Farm. If you ever go rambling close to disused quarries in south Devon make sure you heed the ‘NO TRESSPASSING’ signs, otherwise you’ll regret it. This was a stunning location and was described with the horrible decrepit detail which will be familiar to regular readers of his fiction. There were scenes inside this farm, including when a character is hiding in the house, which were as unrelentingly unpleasant and nail-biting as anything the author has written. Worryingly, it does not look like there is much farming going on in Redstone. Overall, the descriptions were outstanding from the mangy stinking sheep which seem to be stalking campers to the threat of being hunted through the bramble infested local forests and being clubbed to death with blunt instruments. Kat writes for a local lifestyle magazine, ‘Devon Life and Style’, and is present when the archaeologist makes the big reveal, her photographer boyfriend Steve is also interested in the amazing discovery. Intending to write a feature, she is instead sucked into a dark world which is right on her doorstep, she never imagined could exist. Kat soon meets Helene, who has her own interests in the archaeological dig, and is investigating the apparent suicide of her brother Lincoln. The deceased had an odd pastime; he recorded natural sounds which came from deep within caves and other natural environments. Soon Helene realises Lincoln was recording very close to the site of the dig not long before he died. The mystery deepens and plays out exquisitely over 400-pages. Sounds and music both play a crucial part in adding to the oppressive atmosphere where permeates throughout The Reddening. The sounds captured by Lincoln which Helene listens to are deeply unpleasant and are described via waves of bestial grunting and other unnatural noises which soon have Helene revaluating what her brother had unwittingly stumbled upon. The novel also features a highly convincing folk music vibe which harks back to the 1970s glory years and a now reclusive former singer who was once big enough to play festivals to the scale of Knebworth. The seventies flashbacks were very convincing and I smiled at the references to the “mad crusties from back in the day.” There were many other funny musical references, including the “Hippy Slipknot” and “Filth Pigs are fucking here!” which may well have been a nod towards industrial metal band ‘Ministry’. If you follow Nevill on social media you will know he is a fan of long-distance sea swimming. Perhaps there was a touch of personal fears built into the novel; it includes a stunning scene which is spread over several chapters where a character is dumped far out at sea to drown. This individual is a born fighter and the battle for survival is so intense the reader will feel they are also in the water fighting for life whilst hypothermia kicks in. This was, quite simply, outstanding writing and one of the most thrilling sequences in the book. A different type of horror. I’m amazed that after eight previous novels, the first of which was published in 2004, Nevill can still come up with refreshing new fiction which does not particularly tread over old grounds, except in the very general sense of ‘horror being horror’. Long-term fans are bound to make their own comparisons and there is a tiny similarity to House of Small Shadows, but only in a broad folk-horror sense, but there is a slightly bigger connection to Last Days which also includes flashbacks to the seventies, otherwise it is all new. The plot is a very clever one, which effortlessly moves over time periods and has many very clever strands which pull together as the brutal body-count rises with the novel heading towards an outstanding climax revealing what ‘Reddening’ and its cryptic variations really means. If you’re new to Adam Nevill and would like to investigate him further here are links to articles written by myself on the Ink Heist site. Supernatural horror does not get much better than The Reddening. If you’re a fan of slow build-ups, heavy atmosphere, superb and intricate plotting, bloodletting and a novel which has a unique sense of time and place then you are going to love this quality story.

  6. 4 out of 5

    Shaina

    This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here. Edited: Dec. 9, 2019 This book is still on my mind. Adam’s books never quite leave, you see, but I wanted to add that this had archaeology and anthropology. I enjoyed that part immensely. This book reminded me of feelings and experiences I have had reading his other books (The Ritual & Last Days) as well as hiking experiences where I just wanted to put my tail in gear and get the fudge out. It was like I sensed a strange otherness, something other than me watching closely. (No! Going to Edited: Dec. 9, 2019 This book is still on my mind. Adam’s books never quite leave, you see, but I wanted to add that this had archaeology and anthropology. I enjoyed that part immensely. This book reminded me of feelings and experiences I have had reading his other books (The Ritual & Last Days) as well as hiking experiences where I just wanted to put my tail in gear and get the fudge out. It was like I sensed a strange otherness, something other than me watching closely. (No! Going to Comi-con doesn’t count in what I’m about to say! Wait... I think it does.. Yeah! Let’s definitely count that. ) So anyway, something ‘other’ watching closely: Maybe it was just the feel of shadow setting over the landscape after noon had bronzed the sky, however; maybe it was a weird person or a big animal; I sure wasn’t sticking around. Nah ah. We’ve all been to an ancient place, either carved by time or inhabited in history (or Comic-con) and there IS a certain feeling around such places to those open to it. I mean how can you stand on an ancient Aztec site where they slaughtered hundreds? Thousands ? To feed their river of blood and not get a twingle? (Small note here: with cons it totally different .. it’s more of a pungent aroma and an oppressive ... moving on ) The Reddening involves an accidental archeological find involving an old culture of people that practiced sacrifice, cannibalism (uhhuh) and tossed victims into what they called “the red”. A culture very many thousands of years old. 60k!, but very much still alive thanks to one of these accidental finds by someone whom was not interested in it’s science or value to inquiring minds, but instead let it infest her mind and her family. We are all red. She gave herself over to the red, and it gave to her but then it stopped. The red takes as it has always done. When it is through with you, it takes you. We all go into the red. The red will choose. So... part cult weirdness and part past mystery due to missing persons, I did love this, but it was typical A. N. So much tension to get there!!! If you like cults and the mystery as to what drives them then reach for this. It’ll knock your socks off. Cause they don’t wear them. 4 stars

  7. 4 out of 5

    Janelle | She Reads with Cats

    The cover of Adam Nevill’s THE REDDENING first caught my eye on Sadie’s (@mother.horror) Instagram page when she posted her special edition copy. Unfortunately for me the hardcovers were all sold out, but Adam kindly offered to send me a free signed paperback. He is incredibly generous and I am so grateful for my copy because, guess what?!...I loved it. Kat is a lifestyle journalist who escapes her past by moving to a coastal area near Brickburgh in Devon England. Artifacts and remains from The cover of Adam Nevill’s THE REDDENING first caught my eye on Sadie’s (@mother.horror) Instagram page when she posted her special edition copy. Unfortunately for me the hardcovers were all sold out, but Adam kindly offered to send me a free signed paperback. He is incredibly generous and I am so grateful for my copy because, guess what?!...I loved it. Kat is a lifestyle journalist who escapes her past by moving to a coastal area near Brickburgh in Devon England. Artifacts and remains from thousands of years ago are discovered in a nearby cave and this discovery definitely has Kat’s attention. Our second protagonist, Helene, has a very personal tie to the Brickburgh caves. Her brother, Lincoln, vanished six years ago while he spent time there recording subterranean sounds. Helene and Kat are thrown together during the course of their individual journeys and are forced to move forward together in a place where they are not welcome. Wow, Nevill sure knows how to write folklore, and HORROR. This book hit every mark for me. The writing is exquisite, the storytelling incredible, and the horror unapologetic. And oh my goodness, do I love Kat and Helene. If you like horror with complex storylines, wonderful characters, a rough coastal setting, archeological digs, cannibalism and cults, then you’ve found the right book. There is a reason why Nevill’s fans have been recommending his books to me - I am so glad I am finally among them.

  8. 4 out of 5

    The Grim Reader

    I consider myself a pretty big fan of Adam Nevill. It all started with The Ritual a few years ago, it blew me away and I've been a fan ever since (I still haven't seen the movie though). I loved Under A Watchful Eye, it was my favourite book of 2017. Last Days was good too, though the final few acts didn't quite work for me. The Reddening is another excellent outing from Nevill. Set on the south coast of England, Nevill spins a tale of strange and bloody folky goings on...human sacrifice, caves I consider myself a pretty big fan of Adam Nevill. It all started with The Ritual a few years ago, it blew me away and I've been a fan ever since (I still haven't seen the movie though). I loved Under A Watchful Eye, it was my favourite book of 2017. Last Days was good too, though the final few acts didn't quite work for me. The Reddening is another excellent outing from Nevill. Set on the south coast of England, Nevill spins a tale of strange and bloody folky goings on...human sacrifice, caves full of human bones, a reclusive musician with plenty to hide, it's a wonderful read for the most part. The writing is excellent, as is always the case with Nevill's books. My own slight grievance was with how the book kind of petered out. When the shit went down I was geared up for a blockbuster finish, but it didn't quite pan out that way and I felt the book peaked just a little too early. Still, The Reddening is one of the year's best horror books by one of the genre's best writers. And so... 4/5 red handprints on the door from the Grim Reader

  9. 5 out of 5

    Niki

    The Limbo of "It was neither awesome nor awful" 3 stars. Let's begin with the negatives, because that's how I roll: the book was so, so overwritten. Dunno if Adam Nevill was attempting some Romanticism by injecting "lush" descriptions of nature and a lot of emphasis in the "introspective" existentialist musings of this and that character, but it did NOT work for me. There was pretentious/ purple prose-y writing in every single narrative paragraph, like: She must have moved too far from the The Limbo of "It was neither awesome nor awful" 3 stars. Let's begin with the negatives, because that's how I roll: the book was so, so overwritten. Dunno if Adam Nevill was attempting some Romanticism by injecting "lush" descriptions of nature and a lot of emphasis in the "introspective" existentialist musings of this and that character, but it did NOT work for me. There was pretentious/ purple prose-y writing in every single narrative paragraph, like: She must have moved too far from the familiar because her imagination had additionally been lured into epochal considerations she'd not entertained since childhood. Too clear here were reminders that she was a mite on a great chunk of rock, one formed by distant and monumental collisions and processes in deep space, occuring billions of years before. Awareness of the great abscences above the inert earth and the vast, unbroken stretch of empty water into the horizion seemed to intensify her loneliness while making her strangely fearful. Or A fleeting comprehension conjures the sense of deep personal insignificance and an acute vulnerability before an insurmountable, barely knowable presence. I don't know about you (maybe you liked what you just read, maybe you want to check the book out now), but me? My eyes glazed over and my brain kept slipping off all the time. It didn't help that the pacing was pretty slow, as well. We had sooo many parts like the above with the plot barely moving. I get it, you have to build the atmosphere, you have to set the tone, but there must be a limit to it, because otherwise the book ends up looking padded, like you didn't have enough plot to fill it with and had to fill the pages up with something. Also, while I liked some parts of it (view spoiler)[like the revelation that Sheila was in on the Red the entire time- I was suspecting it and it was nice to see it confirmed (hide spoiler)] , the ending was pretty weak for me. The ping-ponging between Kat and Helene's POVs, especially when Helene's came first even though she was chronologically second and (view spoiler)[seeing everything AFTER the carnage- we were basically already digesting the pie even though it wasn't out of the oven yet, if you get what I mean (hide spoiler)] was annoying at best, terribly written at worst. Oh, and now that I mentioned (view spoiler)[Sheila (hide spoiler)] , what was INCREDIBLY frustrating was seeing the characters unable to connect the dots on the most obvious shit. (view spoiler)[Tony Willows literally had an album called Hark! Hear the Red People Sing, and Kat was STILL like "Well, he's just a retired musician, he must have NOTHING to do with those Red People we've been looking into, even though his land is in the centre of the Red's activity, you're such an idiot for wanting to look into this, Steve" Guess who's proven wrong quickly afterwards? Sheila not wanting to write anything about the Red and acting like Kat is an annoying child for wanting to investigate is a big red flag (geddit), and yet Kat is STILL "Sheila is just a pampered rich woman who probably thinks murders are too grisly". Helene sees Kat acting extremely suspiciously with two people basically tailing her and is like "Oh, I don't see Steve, they probably broke up and she's devastated because of it :( " NO, WOMAN! Get the hell out!! (hide spoiler)] Other than all of the above, and why the book gets a 3 and not a 2, is that I enjoyed reading it. I wasn't as creeped out as I was hoping to be (mostly because (view spoiler)[the threat is elderly people, painted red and just high and violent as hell, and I'm never creeped out by just plain ol' murderous people- (hide spoiler)] yes, I'm a Special Snowflake (TM)), but I still liked it enough to keep going despite the purple prose, the dumb characters, the slow pacing etc. I should also mention that by the end I was very ready for it to be over, though. Now that I think about it, the rating is probably 2,5, but let's just leave it rounded up to a 3.

  10. 5 out of 5

    Carmilla Voiez

    The story is dark and claustrophobic, like the caves it frequently dwells within, yet expansive like the wild countryside of Devon that is described beautifully and evocatively within its pages. It is the land, both beneath and above the surface of Devon that is the star of the story, and that character is brought to life by Adam Nevill, warts and all. The human characters are flawed yet strong like so many of Nevill's characters. No one here is truly good although some are irredeemably evil. The story is dark and claustrophobic, like the caves it frequently dwells within, yet expansive like the wild countryside of Devon that is described beautifully and evocatively within its pages. It is the land, both beneath and above the surface of Devon that is the star of the story, and that character is brought to life by Adam Nevill, warts and all. The human characters are flawed yet strong like so many of Nevill's characters. No one here is truly good although some are irredeemably evil. Those who serve the Red Queen and her white pups follow a long tradition that consumes them, giving strength to their rage in ways Kat (one of two heroines) comes to understand intimately. We are left questioning what Kat may become and that lends a haunting tone to the conclusion. We know that this is not over, nor will it ever be. This horror is cosmic in the Lovecraftian tradition. A beautiful hardcover edition to treasure and a story to return to year upon year. Adam Nevill is a modern master of horror.

  11. 5 out of 5

    Jolene

    I was incredibly disappointed with Adam Nevill's newest novel. I was so looking forward to it and even got a signed, hard copy, first addition! I've been a huge fan for years since a friend turned me on to "House of Small Shadows." That book truly creeped me out, to the point where I was turning on the lights to go to the bathroom in the night. I've read all of his other novels and enjoyed them to varying degrees. His short story collections are incredible too. But he completely lost me with I was incredibly disappointed with Adam Nevill's newest novel. I was so looking forward to it and even got a signed, hard copy, first addition! I've been a huge fan for years since a friend turned me on to "House of Small Shadows." That book truly creeped me out, to the point where I was turning on the lights to go to the bathroom in the night. I've read all of his other novels and enjoyed them to varying degrees. His short story collections are incredible too. But he completely lost me with "The Reddening." I should start by saying I'm not a fan of gore. I like good old fashioned, creepy, ghosty, haunted house/haunted anything, weird horror and Lovecraftian stories. This book has a LOT of gore. I mean, gore, gore, gore, gore, GORE and more gore. Or, to use Nevill's ubiquitous word, "butchery." Way too much butchery for me. But it wasn't just the gore. I didn't connect to the characters either. Steve seems like a douche, Kat is a huge Debbie Downer, and Helene - well Helene is a single mom who hasn't spent a day away from her 6 year old daughter until the events of the novel. THAT may be the most frightening thing in the entire book. My favorite character is actually dead before the novel even begins (Helene's brother). I also found the prose in "The Reddening" to be a bit overwrought - very un-Adam Nevill like. There is also a bit of slut shaming (IMO) here that bugged me. Infertility plays a part in two of the female characters' backstories. That in and of itself isn't upsetting. It's HOW these women became infertile. Not only a bit slut shame-y, but pretty unlikely as well. But the most disappointing thing about "The Reddening" is that is just isn't scary. Not even a little bit. In fact, some of the descriptions of the characters walking and/or sitting around with these big old stinky, mangy headpieces/masks on actually made me laugh. The end takes a big left turn that manages to be absurd without being surprising. I did, however, love the very very end describing Kat's situation. THAT was creepy. I am still a fan of Adam, but I hope his future works rely less on blood, decapitation, bowels, bludgeoning and shit and more on creating a truly terrifying atmosphere as he has done so well in many of his other novels.

  12. 5 out of 5

    Dan

    Adam Nevill's THE REDDENING is an extremely well-written bit of folk-horror, but, in the end, it falls victim to its own tropes. If you've seen/read even a little folk-horror, you'll know pretty much where this is headed, who is in on it, and how it will pretty much play out. That said, I was really enjoying the build-up for a while, until I realized that there was quite a bit of build-up. This is a LONG book, and a little bit of this went a long way. You could probably cut a few hundred pages Adam Nevill's THE REDDENING is an extremely well-written bit of folk-horror, but, in the end, it falls victim to its own tropes. If you've seen/read even a little folk-horror, you'll know pretty much where this is headed, who is in on it, and how it will pretty much play out. That said, I was really enjoying the build-up for a while, until I realized that there was quite a bit of build-up. This is a LONG book, and a little bit of this went a long way. You could probably cut a few hundred pages out of this, and not miss much, especially considering how abrupt and unsatisfying (most of...) the ending was. A decent read, but I wasn't sorry to see it end.

  13. 5 out of 5

    Latasha

    Yay! i love reading Adam Nevill cause his stuff actually scares me! From the very start of this one, the mood is bleak and foreboding. That sense of dread continues through this whole book. You just know something bad is going to happen. It could be on the next page or in the next chapter but it's there. There's archaeology, crazy cults & rituals, and lots more to scare you in this book. I really, really liked the ending. i won't spoil it but it's good!

  14. 4 out of 5

    Reading Divergence

    I've developed quite a predilection for British folk horror as evinced by authors Jasper Bark, Sarah England, Adam Nevill, Sarah Rayne, and others. There's something immensely appealing about countrysides with millenia of continuous history preceded by multiple millennia of prehistory; land where the past (in THE REDDENING, literally) coexists with the contemporaneous. There are so many threads in this horror novel that I hesitate to try to compose a summary. Instead I will just emphasize the I've developed quite a predilection for British folk horror as evinced by authors Jasper Bark, Sarah England, Adam Nevill, Sarah Rayne, and others. There's something immensely appealing about countrysides with millenia of continuous history preceded by multiple millennia of prehistory; land where the past (in THE REDDENING, literally) coexists with the contemporaneous. There are so many threads in this horror novel that I hesitate to try to compose a summary. Instead I will just emphasize the lovely complexity of this novel, the extreme depth of characters, delineation of life's instinct-no, passionate drive--toward survival; and always--always--the weight of the Past suffocating the Present.

  15. 4 out of 5

    Rachel Bea

    "What was done in there, in that dark, horrible place, should have stayed buried. And no good will come of them digging up any more of what's down there." The Reddening takes a little time – it’s worth the wait – to focus on two women, Kat and Helene, who each have their own reasons to be drawn to the Devon coast and to its newly discovered caves. It is in these caves where early humans engaged in disturbing, violent rituals. But it’s clear from the beginning of the book that such ritualized "What was done in there, in that dark, horrible place, should have stayed buried. And no good will come of them digging up any more of what's down there." The Reddening takes a little time – it’s worth the wait – to focus on two women, Kat and Helene, who each have their own reasons to be drawn to the Devon coast and to its newly discovered caves. It is in these caves where early humans engaged in disturbing, violent rituals. But it’s clear from the beginning of the book that such ritualized brutality was not left in the past. The story scared me because it felt so believable, from the vivid descriptions of the coastline to the horrific acts of violence. As I turned the pages, I didn’t know what was going to happen next, and Nevill surprised me to the very end. It’s bloody, fantastic, and primal. “From end to end, history was collected horror, preserved for the fascination of a bestial species.” As an aside, I happened to rediscover my enjoyment of the drone metal band Sunn O))) around the time I started reading this book. They released two albums this year and both of them are fantastic accompaniment to The Reddening. Both the band and Nevill seem to tap into something beyond us, something ancient. Listening to Sunn O))) while reading heightened the feeling of dread. So I highly recommend checking out Pyroclasts and Life Metal as the soundtrack, should you choose – and I hope you do! – to read the book.

  16. 4 out of 5

    Matthew Hull

    Easily his best yet. His most disturbing, interesting and engaging with a brilliantly creepy history to the evil that comes for the characters. Slow burn horror gives way to fast paced terror and a pretty epic conclusion

  17. 4 out of 5

    Gavin

    Adam Nevill is simply a word magician. His prose triggers my minds eye like few others. A stunning story set along the gorgeous English South Coast this book should feature on many a year end 'best of' list. Go into this book knowing no more than the blurb/synopsis reveals and you'll be utterly captivated by Nevill's pitch perfect plotting. The Chapters that alternate between the two female leads are some of the best examples of pacing/plotting I've read in a long while. The Reddening is initially a Adam Nevill is simply a word magician. His prose triggers my minds eye like few others. A stunning story set along the gorgeous English South Coast this book should feature on many a year end 'best of' list. Go into this book knowing no more than the blurb/synopsis reveals and you'll be utterly captivated by Nevill's pitch perfect plotting. The Chapters that alternate between the two female leads are some of the best examples of pacing/plotting I've read in a long while. The Reddening is initially a slow burn tale that ramps up to be a pacey multi-faceted horror that is so well written Adam Nevill is seriously starting to challenge Clive Barker as my favourite author I can offer no higher praise Edit: I'd also like to add that I purchased the Limited Edition Signed Hardback. These books were self published by Adam under the Ritual Limited banner. They are beautiful, weighty books that I know I'll treasure forever more. I really do recommend you check Adam's website out and treat yourself to some of the best books in terms of writing and manufacture quality I've had the pleasure to own.

  18. 5 out of 5

    Charlotte Munro

    Haunting, creepy, dark and with a Lovecraftian air. THE REDDENING by Adam Nevill has left me reeling. Set in Devon, the backdrop is a perfect air of mystery and grey, crumbling old farmhouses and abandoned-esque jones. You’re lost in the pages, suffocatingly barren in the deep, dark caves below and the inky black, numbing waters of the icy May sea. The Reddening is a dark, sinister folklore tale, through the mad, white eyes of the Red Folk, we see just how macabre and gruesome the means they go Haunting, creepy, dark and with a Lovecraftian air. THE REDDENING by Adam Nevill has left me reeling. Set in Devon, the backdrop is a perfect air of mystery and grey, crumbling old farmhouses and abandoned-esque jones. You’re lost in the pages, suffocatingly barren in the deep, dark caves below and the inky black, numbing waters of the icy May sea. The Reddening is a dark, sinister folklore tale, through the mad, white eyes of the Red Folk, we see just how macabre and gruesome the means they go to, to make sure what lurks below is not unleashed above. The characters are heroines in each their own right, Katrine and Helene, two polar opposites are thrown into this sinister plot, both drawn together by Helene’s dead brother and his penchant for underground geological recording. Adam Nevill has done it again. His prose is unique and macabrely beautiful, his way of mastering scene building and world building is first class. There are moments in the book where you have to stop and readjust yourself, you’re transported right there into the suffocating deep reaches of Devon, or the inky depths, chilled by ice and the deplorable things you’ve just witnessed. A mix of gore and well written horror, Nevill has written another amazing, chilling and creepy horror that stays with you even after the last page is turned. It has now made me question whether I want to explore those dank caves in Devon. Beware the Red. The Red, Red, Red. Adam Nevill, becoming a true master of horror in my eyes.

  19. 4 out of 5

    Matthew Barbeler

    The Reddening is the third of Adam Nevill’s novels I’ve read. It is a brutal, dreadful march through the countryside of Devon in the United Kingdom, where the location is as much of an integral character as the human characters. Kat, a journalist approaching middle age, and Helene, a single mum are front and centre, standing at the font of the bloodbath. But the characters that move around them in the maelstrom of foreboding and forgotten song are just as compelling. Matt, the paraglider. Steve, The Reddening is the third of Adam Nevill’s novels I’ve read. It is a brutal, dreadful march through the countryside of Devon in the United Kingdom, where the location is as much of an integral character as the human characters. Kat, a journalist approaching middle age, and Helene, a single mum are front and centre, standing at the font of the bloodbath. But the characters that move around them in the maelstrom of foreboding and forgotten song are just as compelling. Matt, the paraglider. Steve, Kat’s charming bearded boyfriend. Lewis, the local police officer. Tony Willow, the aged and reclusive folk music singer. The Red Folk in their horrid masks, stinking of the ages long dead. There is an overwhelming atmosphere of dread that permeates each page. The prose drips with a barely contained fury, evocative of the corruption and waiting violence that has poisoned this stretch of English coast. The Red Folk sing the songs of the ancient ways, deep in cloistered caverns, calling out to long-forgotten Gods. Nothing stays buried forever, and when a seam splits into a cave system millennia old, dark secrets come spilling out into the light of day. Nevill is a master of planting the seeds of dreadful images into his reader’s subconscious in such a way that the mind cannot help but blossom into abominable nightmares. In the case of The Reddening, I was awarded mere glimpses of the things that transcend space and time to hunt in the red. I won’t spoil it here, but Nevill’s descriptions were so effective that thought I could hear their far-off cries in the corners of my mind, and feel their hot, hungry breath on the back of my neck. I won’t say The Reddening was a pleasant read. It was deeply unpleasant, but captivating and powerful nonetheless. This is an effective horror novel unlike any other I’ve read. Highly recommended.

  20. 5 out of 5

    Audra (ouija.doodle.reads)

    From the writer of The Ritual comes another folk horror masterpiece—one that will paint your mind red and leave you wondering. "Let what is so great fill red. Let the walls and the air be red. Let the earth soak red and the sky be red. Let us be blessed in the red. We are red. This, our reddening." This story centers on a strange cave with prehistoric artifacts that's been discovered in a remote English seaside town. Helene's brother made some unusual recordings in the area before disappearing, From the writer of The Ritual comes another folk horror masterpiece—one that will paint your mind red and leave you wondering. "Let what is so great fill red. Let the walls and the air be red. Let the earth soak red and the sky be red. Let us be blessed in the red. We are red. This, our reddening." This story centers on a strange cave with prehistoric artifacts that's been discovered in a remote English seaside town. Helene's brother made some unusual recordings in the area before disappearing, and she is on the trail to closure, looking for that elusive why. Kat is a journalist who is used to fluffy lifestyle pieces, but her photographer boyfriend starts uncovering a story involving the caves and soon she's more involved than she wants to be. This story has an epic scope, and I loved the way Nevill juggled the multiple storylines. The beginning builds excellent suspense and dread with vignettes of multiple different characters who chance upon the area. Nevill proves his writing chops by thoroughly creating even the characters that are only involved in a small piece of the plot. This makes his world feel like it's full of real people, which I love to see while reading. By the time the main characters were introduced, I had no idea what to expect anymore, but I knew it was going to get crazy. Nevill keeps amping up the story at every level. There is an amazing section about halfway through the book where the chapters bounce back and forth between Kat and Helene's perspectives during a tense situation. I couldn't put the book down even though it was way past my bedtime! I needed to know where it was going. Nevill is a very descriptive writer, and while it sometimes goes over the edge, I mostly enjoyed the long, lush descriptions of scenery and characters. And when it comes to the horror, Nevill doesn't shy away. You're going to see everything—and it's much crazier than you're expecting. For me, the story didn't quite stick the landing, but I was so invested in the journey that it didn't really matter. I had such a good time reading this book: the characters are excellent, the story is very original, and the horror is dark and oozy—the type you want to look away from, but you just can't. Highly recommended for Nevill fans and newcomers alike. Red is the new black! My thanks to the author for my copy of this one to read and review.

  21. 4 out of 5

    Dale Robertson

    Really good. In fact, really REALLY good. Adam's writing is so great, you can picture yourself in each situation with the characters. Which makes the book terrifying. I got sucked into this world so much, i read every single chance i got to see what was going to happen next. Even if was only for a few mins at a time. Claustrophobic, tense, creepy, gruesome, heartbreaking - only a few words to describe The Reddening. Oh, and that cover...fantastic! Fan of horror? Do yourself a favour and check Really good. In fact, really REALLY good. Adam's writing is so great, you can picture yourself in each situation with the characters. Which makes the book terrifying. I got sucked into this world so much, i read every single chance i got to see what was going to happen next. Even if was only for a few mins at a time. Claustrophobic, tense, creepy, gruesome, heartbreaking - only a few words to describe The Reddening. Oh, and that cover...fantastic! Fan of horror? Do yourself a favour and check this out. You won't be disappointed.

  22. 4 out of 5

    S.J. Budd

    Amazing!!!

  23. 4 out of 5

    Tina

    The Reddening is by far the best horror I've read this year, hands down. The story gets going and never slows down, transporting the reader into a blood red world of violence and terrifying darkness. If you're starving for great, well crafted, nightmare inducing horror, this is the novel for you.

  24. 4 out of 5

    Paul

    In a quiet corner of the English coast, a grisly discovery has been unearthed. Evidence of a cannibal tribe from thousands of years in the past has been uncovered. How does this tie in with a rise in missing persons in the area? Who or what are the mysterious ‘red folk’ and what do they want? Kat has walked away from her job, her home and her partner. The trials and tribulations of living in London have worn down her spirit. Moving to the coast and starting again seems, at least on the face of In a quiet corner of the English coast, a grisly discovery has been unearthed. Evidence of a cannibal tribe from thousands of years in the past has been uncovered. How does this tie in with a rise in missing persons in the area? Who or what are the mysterious ‘red folk’ and what do they want? Kat has walked away from her job, her home and her partner. The trials and tribulations of living in London have worn down her spirit. Moving to the coast and starting again seems, at least on the face of it, a far easier option. Unfortunately, fate has other ideas and she becomes embroiled in a missing persons case that is not quite as clear cut as it appears. Kat becomes a target, and potential victim, for a group who are keen to remain out of the public eye. As events escalate, there are some insightful moments that pick apart the nature of trauma and how we react. Kat really is put through the emotional and physical ringer. Helene’s situation is a little different. Her life as a single mother has not been easy, but she has risen to every challenge. There is a grim determination that pushes her continually forward. It struck me that she was far better equipped than Kat to deal with the extraordinary events they become part of. There were moments when Helene’s steadfast refusal to give in made me want to stand up and cheer. The Reddening strips away concepts we take for granted like society and civility. There is something primal about the forces that lie in the Brickburgh caves. They speak to people at the most fundamental level. Those who are prepared to give themselves over to the reddening become almost creatures of pure id, allowing their own base instincts to drive them. This of course leads to violence, blood and death. You’ll not be surprised when I tell you that The Reddening is not for the faint of heart*. The red folk do not hold with the same rules as the rest of us. Taboos do not exist in their group and some of their actions are undeniably extreme. Adam Nevill remains one of the few horror authors who’s writing always affects me. He manages to imbue his work with such a sense of dread. That menace grows and feels palpable on every page. It’s the anticipation that gets me every time. I just know terrible things are going to happen, and they most definitely do, but I am powerless to look away. When it comes to horror, I think everyone decides what they consider to be taking things too far. We all set our limits regarding how much is too much. Nevill once again expertly manages to stay just on the right side of that line for me. The Reddening is another horrific gem to be added to the author’s back catalogue. The novel succeeds in being distressing yet captivating, unsettling but also often heartfelt. It’s quite the emotional rollercoaster, exactly how every good horror novel should be. I don’t doubt for a moment that existing fans are going to love this. As far as the rest of you are concerned where the hell have you been? Pull up a chair, Mr Nevill has a story to tell you. *Might be an idea to hold off eating anything while your reading. Just a suggestion.

  25. 4 out of 5

    Nichola

    What a brutal outstanding read! "Let what is so great fill red. Let the walls and the air be red. Let the earth soak red and the sky be red. Let us be blessed in the red. We are red. This, our reddening." The Reddening being my second Adam Nevill novel, now is it safe to say he's one of my favourite authors ever? Once again Adam has executed yet another terrifying story that I have never been the same since finishing. I told myself when this book arrived, I would read it the same day, and I did. I What a brutal outstanding read! "Let what is so great fill red. Let the walls and the air be red. Let the earth soak red and the sky be red. Let us be blessed in the red. We are red. This, our reddening." The Reddening being my second Adam Nevill novel, now is it safe to say he's one of my favourite authors ever? Once again Adam has executed yet another terrifying story that I have never been the same since finishing. I told myself when this book arrived, I would read it the same day, and I did. I was placed in such a heart accelerated situation over and over again, and it never stopped. Adam always has such a way with words that he places you amongst the characters. in the dirt, sea breeze and blood, and alot of it. The Reddening is one of those books that once you've read it, you will never ever be the same. A part of you is left with the red people. Once you spend anytime with them, i'm telling you. You are not the same. Part of your soul lives on with them, deep in the caves, where it's not the draft that gives you chills. Somebody once told me that reading this was like a jack-in-the-box. That's the best way to put it. You know something is going to happen. something is stirring, growing. the anticipation is making your heart rate speed up and when you think oh maybe nothing was meant to happen, something definitely happens. When it does you are there witnessing such a horror in front of you that if you dare look away, you are next. I had to keep reading. Adam Nevill's writing is always outstanding.The way he talks about smells, feelings, noises. the sounds and smells seep through the pages and and at you. One out of many parts that I loved, mainly the way it was blended together is the following: " The sound Shelly heard was akin to the beating of a drum filled with wet sand. Dunk, Thud, Dunk, Thud." the more I actually thought about this sound accruing over and over again to what was happening in this scene, the more it sent chills down my spine. The world Adam has created with The Reddening, is ghastly. In a amazing, bloody, shivering way. You can tell every step of the way, from the opening chapter, to the end, that the research, time and effort has all been worth it, into creating this story. All these factors clearly is shown throughout The Reddening. He's made it feel real. Also made me feel many emotions through out the book. most importantly I felt a sense of uneasiness and that feeling only kept escalating, digging itself deeper as the story concluded. Speaking of conclusions, what a ending. One of the best endings I've ever read for a long time. The Reddening is brutal, heart pumping, shocking, in every way. A story that will not disappoint. The day after reading this, I woke up to dogs barking. I've never become wide awake so quick in my life. I can keep going on, but I'll leave it at that. I've said it before, and I'll say it again. Adam Nevill You bow to no one. Thankyou.

  26. 4 out of 5

    John Lynch

    The Reddening served as my introduction to the work of Adam Nevill. That being said, I hadn’t even finished the book before buying 3 more of his novels, it’s that good. An ancient cave network dating back to prehistoric times is discovered. Within the network of caves, evidence of cannibalism and barbaric sacrifices occurring throughout history are uncovered. While covering the dig site for a local magazine, Kat meets up with a woman named Helene who has not come to grips with her brother’s The Reddening served as my introduction to the work of Adam Nevill. That being said, I hadn’t even finished the book before buying 3 more of his novels, it’s that good. An ancient cave network dating back to prehistoric times is discovered. Within the network of caves, evidence of cannibalism and barbaric sacrifices occurring throughout history are uncovered. While covering the dig site for a local magazine, Kat meets up with a woman named Helene who has not come to grips with her brother’s suicide. Cave recordings taken by Helene's brother draw her to one of the last places he visited before killing himself. What is discovered turns out to be deeper and more horrible than anyone imagined. The Reddening is a wonderfully written horror novel. Nevill does an immaculate job of describing the environments within these pages. It was easy for me to close my eyes and envision the cliffs, the paths, the caves of a country that I’ve never been to. The descriptions do a wonderful job of setting the atmosphere and tone while Nevill keeps the tension high for the duration of the book. Barbaric rituals and brutal violence live within these pages, as those who serve the red will go to great lengths to do so. There are enough twists in here to keep the reader intrigued, and the conclusion of the book was well done. As I mentioned before, The Reddening is the type of book that compels you to buy more from the author. I suspect this is a feeling Nevill fans are already familiar with, and for those who aren’t, prepare to read your new favorite author. 5/5

  27. 5 out of 5

    Venus Maneater

    Wow I'm actually pretty pleased with this ending! There is zero urge to return to this world, this story - but I feel absolutely satisfied. Also; I had so much fun while reading this book! It unveiled in a way that I did not expect but loved. It challenged me when it came to my expectations when it comes to certain genres and their tropes. Tribal chanting and human sacrifices on the cold English coast?? It works!! By not just describing the visuals of the gory acts, but also making a point of Wow I'm actually pretty pleased with this ending! There is zero urge to return to this world, this story - but I feel absolutely satisfied. Also; I had so much fun while reading this book! It unveiled in a way that I did not expect but loved. It challenged me when it came to my expectations when it comes to certain genres and their tropes. Tribal chanting and human sacrifices on the cold English coast?? It works!! By not just describing the visuals of the gory acts, but also making a point of describing the noise (the bubbling and sounds of cloth being torn but it's very much a belly), Nevill got me to shudder and to dread what would be about to come. I also was very stoned while reading and that made it all get VERY REAL VERY FAST. Could've done without the heavy themes of MOTHERHOOD

  28. 5 out of 5

    David Jordan

    Cosmic horror and mystery with visceral, sweaty claustrophobic terror. Strong recommend if you're looking for new horror, but you love Machen. Reminded me a bit of Lovecraft's "The Rats in the Walls" with the discovery of eons of cannibalism. Tony Willows character reminds me of prog-rocker dude from the movie "Mandy."

  29. 5 out of 5

    Robert

    Another excellent horror novel from Adam Nevill. Nevill is one of, if not the best around today. He is certainly my favorite. The Reddening has more of a Lovecraftian feel than his other books, and despite the familiar two-part structure, there is far more cohesion between each section. This makes for a more straightforward tale and may come as a bit of a surprise for his regular readers. The natural world plays a large part in the story and the Devon coast is an excellent setting. Full of caves, Another excellent horror novel from Adam Nevill. Nevill is one of, if not the best around today. He is certainly my favorite. The Reddening has more of a Lovecraftian feel than his other books, and despite the familiar two-part structure, there is far more cohesion between each section. This makes for a more straightforward tale and may come as a bit of a surprise for his regular readers. The natural world plays a large part in the story and the Devon coast is an excellent setting. Full of caves, crumbling farmhouses, and rugged beauty there's a great sense of danger and isolation that fits the story well. If you haven't read and of Nevill's works before I would probably start with Last Days or No One Gets Out Alive, but this is a worthy addition to his stellar body of work.

  30. 4 out of 5

    Anthony Watson

    The Reddening is the new novel from Adam Nevill. It’s the first to be published by the author’s own Ritual Limited (the company’s previous two books being collections of short fiction) and the author’s ninth novel, arriving some two and a half years after the last one, Under a Watchful Eye. Within that time, of course, the film version of Adam’s third novel, The Ritual, has been released to huge acclaim. It’s little surprise that The Ritual was such an effective film as Adam’s writing has a true The Reddening is the new novel from Adam Nevill. It’s the first to be published by the author’s own Ritual Limited (the company’s previous two books being collections of short fiction) and the author’s ninth novel, arriving some two and a half years after the last one, Under a Watchful Eye. Within that time, of course, the film version of Adam’s third novel, The Ritual, has been released to huge acclaim. It’s little surprise that The Ritual was such an effective film as Adam’s writing has a true cinematic feel to it. This is not a case of damning with faint praise - cinema is an art form in itself and when done well can evoke the strongest of emotions - rather a huge compliment to the skill of the writing itself. That writing is so assured and precise that the images it seeks to convey are delivered straight into readers’ imaginations, the scenes playing out in their minds’ eyes as they follow the words on the page. The cinematic feel to The Reddening is perhaps enhanced by its differences to Under a Watchful Eye. Whilst the latter was a slow burner of a novel, preying on psychological rather than visceral fears, The Reddening pelts along at a cracking pace, employing multiple points of view and short chapters both of which lend a real urgency to proceedings. A few of the chapters start with a startling image or piece of action – the literary equivalent, I guess, of a jump scare – and the author even manages to use sound effectively (again testament to the skill of the writing) to unsettle and terrify the reader. There’s a scene in Adam’s novel Last Days which really freaked me out at the time, and which still gives me a shiver to think about, involving strange sounds on a recording and that effect is recreated in a scene in The Reddening with equally impressive results. The power of suggestion created by “noises off” is not to be underestimated (think movie versions of The Exorcist or even The Ritual – the scene where Luke can hear whatever is happening to Dom in another room inside the cabin…) and it’s used to brilliant effect here again. It’s the set-pieces in The Reddening that really stand out though; among them a dog attack, a desperate fight against drowning and, at almost the halfway point of the book, a scene of extreme horror that is one of the most disturbing things I’ve read in quite some time. I’m already regretting using the term “extreme horror” as that conjures up (in my mind anyway) lurid and gratuitous descriptions of violence designed to shock and disgust rather than create any real feelings of horror. The scene in question does involve extreme violence but the writing here is so good that the emotions it stirs in the reader are ones of horror in its purest sense; eschewing over the top descriptions, the spare and concise way in which it is written magnifies the terror of what’s happening. It’s a grim and relentless scene that will leave you shaken and stirred; a masterclass in how this type of thing should be written. Set in Adam’s own stomping ground, The Reddening is a novel of folk horror. Its starting point is the discovery of a cave containing Neanderthal remains, among which is found evidence of ritualistic behaviour involving bizarre, dog-headed idols, mass slaughter and cannibalism. The novel opens with a series of vignettes, setting the scene and introducing some of the book’s characters. The always tricky job of providing information to the reader is handled very cleverly, the findings of the teams exploring the cave are presented retrospectively in a press conference, the reader discovering the horrors alongside Kat, one of the book’s main characters. It’s another brilliantly written scene with the dark revelations of the dig stirring feelings of horror and revulsion in Kat, her emotional responses magnifying and enhancing those of the reader experiencing them vicariously. It soon becomes apparent that the horrors uncovered in the cave aren’t as ancient as they might seem. Enter Helene, the book’s second protagonist: sister to Lincoln who has disappeared after having made the aforementioned recordings near the site of the cave. It’s another clever move, introducing a character to play the role of the outsider – a standard in any tale of folk horror, a baseline of normality against which to measure the strangeness of the “locals”. This is done extremely effectively when she finds herself caught up in a procession, the inherent hostility of the residents – and the sense of unease and danger this creates - permeating the whole scene. As both women pursue their investigations, so the dark secrets of this particular part of South Devon begin to reveal themselves. People, it seems, have been disappearing on a regular basis. A possible explanation for these disappearances is that of a drugs empire protecting itself, a nice sub-plot which injects some ambiguity into proceedings and also the allows the introduction of seventies’ folk singer Tony Willows who may or may not be involved in what’s going on. It also allows some nice cross-references to Adam’s other books, a feature of most of his novels; subtle enough that if you spot them you’ll feel the warm glow of familiarity and your own cleverness but if you don’t the narrative is in no way affected. Whilst the drug runners may provide a rational explanation for the disappearances and general weirdness, there is another, supernatural, rationale to be considered. Something, or so it seems, lurks beneath the surface of the ground; something worshipped – and feared – since prehistoric times. As with Black Maggie in his novel No One Gets Out Alive, Adam has created an entirely plausible, and terrifying, mythology as the backdrop to The Reddening. Old Creel is a fine creation, a distant relative of The Ritual’s Moder but a traveller along a different evolutionary pathway. I do like a good monster, and there are none better at creating them than Adam Nevill. As with Moder in (the novel of) The Ritual, the descriptions of Old Creel are handled in such a way that the reader’s own imagination is engaged to paint their own picture of what the monster looks like. It’s another example of skilful writing and reinforces that in most cases, less really is more. Samuel Araya provides an incredible image for the book’s cover, perfectly capturing the imagery suggested by the prose within. The cover of the hardback is particularly effective, presenting the art work unencumbered by the book’s title - an artistic decision which works incredibly well. As with all of the Ritual Limited books it’s a quality product, the care and attention to detail apparent in every aspect. The separate storylines eventually converge in a thrilling showdown at the book’s conclusion. The third act actually begins with a flashback – a bold move considering it could have interrupted the momentum which builds all through the novel. Could have, but doesn’t. Backstory is provided in order to give the reader information the protagonists lack and sets the scene for the final showdown. There may not be any wicker men involved but the horrors Adam conjures are just as effective. The Reddening is described on the paperback edition’s cover as a Folk Horror Thriller and there can be no argument that this is exactly what it is. It’s the paciest book Adam has written, hurtling along, drawing the reader towards its horrifying climax. The writing throughout is of the highest quality, nothing is sacrificed to the momentum of the plot and the characters populating the story are perfectly drawn; real people facing an unreal situation. The use of location is particularly effective here, the eerie landscape of South Devon a character in itself. The Reddening is in essence a plot driven, literary novel. Now there’s a thing. Although I’ve just used over thirteen hundred of them, words can’t adequately describe how much I enjoyed The Reddening. There are a few authors whose new books I await with great anticipation and Adam Nevill is most certainly one of them. The imagery and themes contained within The Reddening make this possibly the quintessential Nevill book but I don’t for one moment think that this is an author resting on his laurels. The change in tone, and style between this and Under a Watchful Eye shows how gifted and versatile a writer he is and I can’t wait to see what comes next.

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