J.S. Leonard

Författare till Modern Rituals: The Wayward Three

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See the complete review posted on Book Frivolity. Check out other Fantasy and Historical Fiction ruminations there as well! So, I have no love for the 'cabin in the woods' horror trope. I can't stand movies or books like it, so I felt a sense of dread fill my heart as I started to read Modern Rituals. It starts off as a mash up of the Japanese horror movie The Ring (freaky little wet girl) and a big peoples Hunger Games (a ritual to appease a higher power): running about frantically trying to survive, ghostly killings, generally stupid behaviour, stereotypical slasher characters. Bleh. I have heard it mimics an actual movie called 'Cabin In The Woods', but I haven't seen it, so I can't really comment!

In general terms, I really didn't like what I was reading. But, being the stubborn type and not one to leave the dead dog lie, I trudged on, hoping against hope that somehow the promise I saw written in the synopsis was actually fulfilled.

Then, to my surprise, about 70% in, the promise kicks in hard! And it's damned good too! Total switch flip and I wish I could tell you why I ended up giving it 4 stars when I initially wanted to DNF it, but it'd kind of spoil it. And I ain't that kinda gal! But a hint, all of a sudden you aren't in the cabin anymore and everything has a much much larger scope than the Woods. Plus the characters lose their slap-worthiness when you realise... Ha! No spoiler for you! ! It all made me Cheshire cat grin! (and there's an evil koala, so kudos for that!!)

The writing has this off beat, quirky feel to it, that's quite charming and engaging. I actually really enjoyed that aspect from the start, though occasionally it felt a little bit jaunty, like it's rushed a demi semi quaver ahead of itself. It's not too often though, so I really only noticed it during the 'bleh' period when I was not so engrossed in the storyline.

It perplexed me as to why we are only given major introduction scenes for some of the characters, where others were explained as a small reveal within the main storyline. It's not like it was a major vs minor character thing either. Maybe a lead down the garden path? Not quite sure. Whatever the reason, one in particular seemed to mar the flow of the storyline due to it being a flashback scene rather than the characters jump in point, so it seemed quite incongruous.

I do wish the initial line was cut down slightly, it would be a shame for readers to give up too early if they were looking for the scifi/dark fantasy mix rather than the horror tropes. 50/50 instead if 70/30 maybe! I doubt it would have compromised anything, and the switch wouldn't have seemed quite so hurried. Though I suppose, since this is the first book in the series, I can understand why it was dragged out as far as it was. Setting up something like this is probably not that easy to accomplish in a smallish volume.

Needless to say, if you are an impatient reader, and you aren't a horror fan, you might want to give up, but don't! Trust me, it's worth it. And I will, in all probability, be looking for the next instalment, whenever that comes out!

Hardcopy Worthy? Good question! Maybe! I think I'll wait till I read the second book to decide on that!
… (mer)
BookFrivolity | 2 andra recensioner | Apr 23, 2016 |
If you have seen Cabin in the Woods this book is almost a companion piece to the movie. This book is part The Ring, Death Note, The Professional, Sherlock and a little bit of Big Trouble in Little China. Throw in your favorite blonde adult film star and Loki from the Avengers and you have the gist of what's in this story. Most of the book is actually rather slow. The last two chapters were far more interesting to me. The way the story separates itself from Cabin in the Woods at the end is good to me. I was thinking that I wouldn't want to read the next book in this series. By the end I was willing to see what the author would do for a sequel. If you like a mix of mythology, horror, science and magic I think you'll enjoy this book. I'm not a fan of Cabin in the Woods but I think this book takes the good parts of the movie and does something smart with them.… (mer)
Kurt.Rocourt | May 22, 2015 |
Overall Impression: An addictive read that leaves you begging for more.

Recommend to: Fans of fantasy and Joss Whedon.

I thought that this book was a great pastiche to Joss Whedon's, Cabin in the Woods. It has a rather similar premise, but varies just enough to have its own original spin on the idea. I am a huge fan of the movie, and Joss Wedon in general, and it was really interesting to read new take on this idea. You can still recognize what inspired this book, but it's certainly not a rip off. I found myself rooting for the characters in this novel (well, the not evil ones) which made this book really hard to put down. I read most of it in two sittings.

It was a great examination into the horror genre, The characters, once they are immersed in the ritual, are forced into the archetypes of horror movie characters that we know so well. These examinations always capture my interest, and I did enjoy that there were moments in the book that did make me giggle. Mainly this came from moments when the characters in the book have a brief moment of clarity when they wonder why the heck they or another character is acting a certain way, sometimes thinking the same things that we think when we watch horror movies.

I'm also pretty sure that there is an Office Space reference in this book, and it totally made my day. You know something is good when it references Office Space.

I've got to say that I'm a fan of Olivia, the main female protagonist. She's smart, level-headed, and good in a crisis. In fact, there probably wouldn't have been any survivors if it weren't for her. I believe that James acts as a good compliment. Olivia can sometimes be a little too blunt about things, and can seem a bit unaffected by some of the more gory things that happen during the ritual. These are the moments when James comes in and reminds Olivia that not everyone is a trained nurse, so straightforward diagnoses of the cause of death may not be as helpful as she thinks. Despite this, Olivia is still an endearing character with a lot of heart, and it's easy to root for both her and James throughout the book.

One of the only issues I had was the fact that the characters who were not the main three got lost by about halfway through the book. They were developed a little bit in the beginning to give us a sense of who they were, but that was about it. This especially rings true for Colette. Colette plays the role of the sexy, blonde girl that always dies in horror movies, and sadly, she actually ends up staying in this role for the entire book. All of the other characters have a least one scene from their past that really tells us about them, but Colette doesn't have one. (Neither does Keto, though we at least find out a little bit about him through James.) We practically know nothing about her, and while the other characters seem to break away from the formulaic horror movie stereotypes in their real lives, it almost seems like Colette was just a living, breathing stereotype. This seemed unfortunate since I thought that it would have been interesting to give her a little more back story like the rest of the characters.

Other than that, the book is solid. It's an addictive read, so be sure that you start this book when you have time to get lost in something. Luckily, this is going to be a series, so we get to read even more!
… (mer)
kell1732 | 2 andra recensioner | May 1, 2015 |
Floratina | 2 andra recensioner | Dec 7, 2019 |


½ 3.5