The Reddening: Adam Nevill
Reviewed By Steve Stred
I’ve been on a Nevill kick as of late.
But let’s quickly backtrack. When I connected with Gavin here at Kendall Reviews, he continuously pestered me with questions about who my top three authors are and told me I had to read his top three. (KR: Makes me sound somewhat mad, but I’ll let this go) One of those in his top three is Mr. Adam Nevill. (The other two you might’ve heard of? One wrote Bird Box, the other’s last name is Barker.)
I slowly obtained almost all of Adam’s work on my Kindle. I think at this point I’m only missing ‘Banquet of the Damned,’ but I’d need to double-check.
I dove into ‘Last Days‘ which frankly is one of the best horror books I’ve ever read. Loved his ‘Some Will Not Sleep‘ & ‘Before You Wake‘ mini-collections, and devoured ‘The Ritual.’ Safe to say, I’m a Nevill fan.
When Adam announced his release ‘The Reddening‘ I jumped at the chance to pre-order the digital edition. Recently, when I was choosing my next two pleasure reads (I usually have two review reads and two pleasure reads on the go), I decided to either read ‘Apartment 16‘ or ‘The Reddening.’ I went with the second option, but will be diving into ‘Apartment 16‘ shortly.
What I liked: ‘The Reddening‘ is a multi-layered folk horror that at times read like a fast-paced thriller. It opens up detailing a fantastic archaeological find on the UK coast. Weird bones and carvings are found. From there, Nevill adds in some characters who unwittingly become involved in the underbelly of the small town’s history.
Nevill has such a way of making the location as much a character as the people we’re following, much like Andrew Pyper does. In ‘The Reddening‘ we get to see a lot of the inner workings, the layers of corruption and just what lengths the townsfolk will do to keep the secret of what lies beneath.
Interestingly, I found it wasn’t until Chapter 23, for me personally, that the story took off. If you follow Nevill on any of his social media accounts, you’ll undoubtedly have seen his passion for the bay, the water, the land around where he lives. Chapter 23 opens with such a perfect paragraph, describing the landscape that I can’t help but wonder if this paragraph was the first thing Nevill wrote that inspired the rest of the story before and after. It was at this point that the writing goes from a jog to a sprint and action comes fast and furious. It went from an enjoyable read to something I couldn’t put down, which was fantastic.
The ending of this was also well done. It wrapped up a number of key points, filled us in on so many questions I had, but also left a small sliver of light under a door for a possible followup in the future.
What I didn’t like: I kind of alluded to it already, but for the first little bit I found I wasn’t as gripped with the story as I was with ‘Last Days‘ and ‘The Ritual.’ It wasn’t bad or anything like that, it just wasn’t grabbing me that much. I wasn’t a fan of that pesky Steve character (who should’ve been my fav cuz all Steve’s are awesome! ha!) and the abrupt character change in one of the characters was tough to accept at first. It did make sense, and needed to happen, but at first it was odd.
Why you should buy this: Nevill is a stunning storyteller. Layer upon layer of myth mixed with present-day happenings pushed this story along and frankly, even at the start when the pieces were just starting to be introduced, I wanted to know what was happening and just who the red folk were.
I’ve never been disappointed by a Nevill book and ‘The Reddening‘ shows why he’s at the forefront of the horror world.
Once you start reading, you’ll be pulled far into this world. Once there you’ll abide.
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 the author of The Ritual and three times winner of The August Derleth Award for Best Horror Novel.
Steve Stred is the author of a number of novels, novellas and collections. He has appeared in anthologies with some of Horror’s heaviest hitters.
He lives in Edmonton, Alberta, Canada with his wife, son and their dog OJ.
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