Read Modern Rituals by J.S. Leonard Online


"A failed ritual annihilates modern life."Manhattan, NY: The E-Train slams into James Bixby, a strapping young artist on the rise, after a life-saving rescue attempt goes awry. Belfast, Ireland: A bullet severs Olivia Young's spinal cord while she defends a doctor colleague--the second bullet pierces her heart.Then they awaken--unharmed."Selected" and thrust into a deadly"A failed ritual annihilates modern life."Manhattan, NY: The E-Train slams into James Bixby, a strapping young artist on the rise, after a life-saving rescue attempt goes awry. Belfast, Ireland: A bullet severs Olivia Young's spinal cord while she defends a doctor colleague--the second bullet pierces her heart.Then they awaken--unharmed."Selected" and thrust into a deadly ritual, James' and Olivia's lives--along with the lives of five others--will decide humanity's fate: surrender to the old Gods' rule or live on in blissful ignorance. Follow their frantic struggle as Magnus--a secret organization of enormous reach and scientific prowess--directs the ritual to its gruesome end.Dubbed as a Cabin in the Woods "remix," Modern Rituals celebrates the movie's ritual motif and compels readers with a rich universe propped upon science fiction and mythology. If you loved the fierce pace of Battle Royale and the fight to survive in Hunger Games, then Modern Rituals: The Wayward Three will quicken your heartbeat and leave your eyes red and bleary! Pick it up and strap in--once this story leaps off the page there's no turning back.This is the first book in J.S. Leonard's captivating new series....

Title : Modern Rituals
Author :
Rating :
ISBN : 24466130
Format Type : Kindle Edition
Number of Pages : 300 Pages
Status : Available For Download
Last checked : 21 Minutes ago!

Modern Rituals Reviews

  • Yzabel Ginsberg
    2019-06-18 04:09

    I got a copy through NetGalley, in exchange for an honest review.This book is so difficult to rate: because I enjoyed the story, I really did (I have a fondness for tropes when they're openly exploited as such). However, it's also so terribly close to The Cabin in the Woods in its concept and execution, and without any acknowledgment of the movie (or, even further, of the other book that the movie supposedly plagiarised) that everything is a muddled cluster here. I'm not talking "it's about a boy who goes to a school of wizardry, so it's like Harry Potter" inspiration. I'm talking something even more blatant than this.I liked the use of technology, computers and science to fulfill the needs of elder gods, assuage them and put them back to sleep. I liked how the people behind the rituals had to resort to archetypes/tropes: the Knight, the Succubus, the Virgin, the Fool, and so on. It cast the characters into specific moulds, forced them to play roles they wouldn't have played otherwise. Besides, the blend of magic and technology is something that's always fascinated me—perhaps because both seem to be the antithesis of each other, yet, in the words of A. C. Clarke, isn't any sufficiently advanced technology indistinguishable from magic?On the other hand, the tropes didn't go far enough to my liking, in that in the end, mostly the characters did stay in those roles, and didn't subvert them, when it would have been the perfect opportunity to do so.I liked the twists, how the characters who were supposed to die got given a second chance, how the one who wasn't supposed to join them actually did more than one would have thought, how the one who was supposed to die didn't. However, there were a few but glaring holes in that, including how exactly the seven were transported into the school grounds, and the survival of... let's say characters that shouldn't have been able to fake their injuries or death. I mean, Olivia's a nurse: nothing should escape her in that regard. If she pronounces someone dead, then that person is definitely dead, or at least so close to it that no recovery should be possible in such a short time.I also wondered about the parts the characters were supposed to play, not only within the ritual itself, but in a meta way. I thought Olivia would be on par with James, as the female main protagonist, yet she was quickly overshadowed. A shame.And... I still can't overlook the similarities I pointed to at the beginning of my review. There are too many of them. I don't know if I've missed something; I looked in the first and last pages of the novel to see if this was addressed at some point, and it just wasn't (although one of the character clearly mentions the rituals having different settings throughout the world, "even a cabin in the woods"). I honestly don't know what came first. Basically, I'm not even sure I should touch that with a ten-foot pole. You just... don't do that. Is all.

  • Siobhan
    2019-06-10 00:09

    The likeness to Cabin in the Woods is almost scary. In fact, such a thing left me rather weary (especially with the reference that was thrown in). Whilst it has been quite some time since I watched the film and I cannot remember all the specifics, most of it came flooding back to me in the book and I was left more than a little bit disappointed.Due to that, a large proportion of the book was spent just making my way through it. I was not enjoying it as much as I had hoped for. It was just there. But then, suddenly, completely out of the blue, an interesting new twist appeared and I really started to enjoy it. One twist after another appeared and the book suddenly had much more depth and I was unable to put it down. In the space of pages I went from merely flickering through it to being unable to put it down. The only downside to this is the fact that I wish I’d been engaged to that degree from an earlier point in the story. Don’t get me wrong, I enjoyed it throughout – it just did not live up to expectations until slightly further in than I had hoped for.Nevertheless it was a great story. Highly amusing with great humour, I found myself laughing more than was probably intended. The characters were great too, although I felt as though the development of side characters could have been a bit better. They existed but they were not as real as the main characters who received most of the attention. I get it, main characters deserve more attention but that does not mean that secondary characters can be overlooked. They’re just as important in stories such as this, and I would have loved to know more about certain characters.All in all, I’m super interested in finding out what comes next. There is a real potential for this to be a great series based upon how things ended. I’m certainly looking forward for what is to come next!Finally, I would like to thank NetGalley and the publisher for allowing me the chance to advance read this interesting novel.

  • Sarah
    2019-05-31 06:04

    A cool premise and a slick pastiche of horror movies should have made this a more entertaining read. It engaged me from the start, and I enjoyed the character back stories which were gradually revealed, but it stuck too closely to genre conventions to sustain my interest. For example, the characters are pumped full of hormones to force them into archetypal roles, but nothing happens in the plot to subvert or critique these stereotypes. Instead, the characters fall into their designated roles of good girl, slutty girl, hero, disposable extra guys and psychopathic villain with minimal protest. There was so much potential here to surprise the reader by deviating from the generic formula, but it plays out predictably despite its postmodern trappings and the initially intriguing premise peters out into tedious running around with little tension or emotional engagement. There was also potential for moral complexity and conflict with the ritual organisers (especially Trevor) torn between sympathy for the participants and the utilitarian need to save the world; but nothing transpired. It failed to wow me but if you’re a horror junkie in need of a quick fix it should hit the spot.

  • Monique
    2019-05-29 03:03

    No spoilers here! This was a clever captivating story that keeps you hooked from the very beginning. The author releases just enough information to keep you informed and wanting more. Don't get too comfortable. Just when you think you have an idea of where the story is going, you're hit with an awesome curveball. There is so much depth to this book that unravels as you get further and further. The amount of detail that the author puts into each character really make them seem larger than life. There are a lot of characters and different points of views that are going on at the same time, what this does is provide perspective to the reader. This book really has it all: mystery, espionage, mythical creatures, sci-fi, smarts, I could go on and on. If you like page-turners that keep you on your toes, this is the book for you. I can't wait to see what J.S. Leonard comes out with next!

  • Kelly
    2019-06-18 04:28

    Seven strangers are just living their lives when suddenly they find themselves inside a Japanese school. When exploring the grounds they find that they are trapped and on top of that, some very strange things are happening. What they don’t know, is that they are part of a ritual to appease the God of Death. The ritual only succeeds when there are a certain amount of deaths within a set timeframe. If the ritual fails, it will be the end of modern life. Let the games begin…So, lets start with the undeniable similarity to The Cabin in the Woods. Every year, worldwide rituals are held to appease the Ancient Ones, malevolent beings that live under the Facility. The rituals make sure that these beings remain in a slumber, but only if they are executed right by following a couple of rules. It is one of my all-time favorite horror movies and I was sad that there was only one ritual we got to see, because there were so many great monsters that could’ve been used. Now, with Modern Rituals, we finally get to see another ritual. The story is almost exactly the same. The rituals in the book are held when one of the Gods living underneath the facility requests one. The blood of the victims keeps them at peace. And since this is only the first book, we hopefully get to see some more of the universe in the next one. So, yes the book is very similar to the movie. But is it a bad thing? Not at all!I absolutely loved Modern Rituals for a lot of reasons. The story has elements of horror, fantasy, mythology, mystery and thriller. It was a fast read, with loads of stuff happening. The characters and the different worlds are gradually introduced, which makes it possible for the story to slowly unfold and for the reader to connect the dots. I thought it was very smart, with a lot of depth, great world building, gripping and overall an exciting read. Recommended for fans of The Cabin in the Woods (obviously) who would like a bit more of that universe, horror fans and anyone who enjoys a good read. I received a free copy of this book through NetGalley in exchange for my honest review.

  • Stephanie
    2019-06-10 01:10

    This is like Hunger Games meets Cabin in the Woods. There's even a funny little "cabin in the woods" inference toward the ending. This begins as seven strangers end up at what they think is a Japanese school grounds. But, as they try to figure out where they are, they quickly figure out this is one strange place. There is a knight, a virgin, 3 fools, and succubus (the usual slut of a group), and a loki. Right off the bat you know there is a huge secretive company that makes "selections" of people to be thrust into rituals to appease the old gods, who are real. As the story progresses, you learn a little back story on each of the strangers, and some of them are more dangerous than anyone knows. Two of them can hear and see things that others can't, and they start receiving messages for how to win the ritual. As you're reading you can't tell if the ritual is going to succeed or if this is the end of the world. But, even as the ritual has received enough blood sacrifices to appease the certain god, all hell breaks loose in the company that runs these rituals. You think it's coming to end, but the story is still climaxing, and you're not sure what's going to happen next. As I was reading, I didn't realize this was the first in a series, but as I was getting closer to the ending, I began to realize it was being set up to have 3 "warriors" defeating the seven gods throughout these books. I really enjoyed it! It was a fun story to read that I had a hard time putting down. I hope that the books in the series continue to be just as good.

  • Jen
    2019-06-09 07:02

    First off I want to say this book was fantastic. For anyone who wants to read it plan on having a good chunk of time available, because once you start you will want to finish it in one sitting.In all honesty this book grabbed my attention on the first page and still has not let go, even though I finished it a couple of days ago. A combination of Science Fiction, Fantasy, and Horror it will take you for a ride you will never forget. The plot keeps up and the characters are well written throughout, even if some of the scenarios are far fetched. But hey what Science Fiction book doesn’t have some aspects which don’t seem plausible.This book involves a group of 7 strangers who find themselves mysteriously transported to an empty school in the middle of nowhere with no hope of a way out as it seems to have a field surrounding it. The come up against a ‘ghost’ similar to one from a horror movie and eventually find out that, yes, there is a man behind the screen controlling everything. But only some of them survive the ordeal.All in all this book is possibly one of the best I have read and enjoyed in the recent years and I look forward to the next installment.Side note: Thank you to Netgalley, boy meets universe, and the author for an advance copy of the book in exchange for an honest review.

  • Steven
    2019-06-13 05:08

    In the game of life things are never really what they seem. J.S. Leonard’s Modern Rituals - The Wayward Three - Book 1 is a dark, futuristic story about a secret organization that operates solely to appease the ancient Gods through terrifying “rituals”. Each ritual places “participants” in a high-tech, artificial world, filled with horrifying entities. The rules are simple: those who do not survive pass on to death, those who do may go back to their normal lives. The story is told chronologically during the timespan of a single ritual, where we are met with many characters who work for the secret organization and others who are active participants. Of all the characters, James stood out as my favorite for his courage, morals and never-ending sense of curiosity. I really liked that he developed from a hero into a hero with an actual purpose, while always staying true to his nature.Overall I enjoyed it and thought J.S. Leonard did a wonderful job of keeping me guessing at every turn of the page. Readers with technical computer experience will enjoy much of the cleverly placed jargon, but I’d recommend this book to anyone interested in the dystopian genre.

  • Roger DeBlanck
    2019-06-24 23:27

    J.S. Leonard has created an exciting novel of time-travel and alternate worlds. The action moves from adventurous to downright frightening at times. The protagonists of James and Olivia have gripping experiences that set the alternate world in motion. Using elements of mystery and thriller, Leonard is a clever writer who knows how to keep the story pushing forward. His prose flows nicely and keeps the action suspenseful. Thanks to author for an advance copy of the book.

  • NarniaGirl
    2019-06-23 03:26

    Received through GoodReads First Reads for reviewing - thank you.I liked the synopsis - intriguing, gripping. But I just could not get into this. Characterisation was okay but the characters weren't new and interesting, and I didn't like the swearing. I lost my way and it didn't grab me enough to re-read and try again. Sorry.

  • Laura Kivi
    2019-05-28 07:27

    I received this book for free through Goodreads First Reads

  • Roberta
    2019-05-28 05:27

    (Copy given to me by author via Netgalley in exchange for an honest review.)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!

  • Kristy (Book Frivolity)
    2019-06-19 03:21

    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!

  • Paul Bogen
    2019-05-30 02:29

    I admit it. I judged this book by its cover. The kind of weird fiction art of dark tendrils controlling a man like a puppet was fascinating. Sure the description was kind of like "The Cabin in the Woods" but I was hoping for something different and new. For the first 70% of the book I was disappointed. While it did a better job than Whedon did in the movie explaining how such an elaborate operation could be mounted, I was a bit disappointed that the ideas seemed the same.Unlike Whedon, Leonard doesn't seek to surprise you with what's going on or leave you bewildered. Leonard expects you to see the movie that inspired him and he even has winks and nods to the movie throughout the book. As a result none of the summary is very spoiler-ish, but if you haven't seen "The Cabin in the Woods", stop now and watch it first.Ok then? So to summarize, there is an ancient powerful organization called Magnus. They serve one purpose: to maintain a truce between the Old Gods and man by performing/facilitating complex rituals to provide the Gods a sacrifice as they see fit. The book goes between character's viewpoints both as "participants" of the ritual, those to be sacrificed, as well as Magnus operatives. Unlike in Whedon's movie, the participants are selected randomly amongst the about to die and somehow whisked away to a secret installation that resembles a Japanese High School. For most of the book the characters are trying to unravel what is happening to them and stop a creature like the monster from the Japanese horror film, Ringu, while the operatives are trying to make sure nothing goes wrong. Just like in Whedon's film, things do go wrong but this is where things begin to diverge. There is something helping the participants and power politics going on among the Magnus operatives.At the 70% point in the novel the ritual is apparently completed, the survivors are being promised a return to their lives and the political intrigue appears to be about to resolve itself. And the book takes a turn. I won't spoil anything about what happens then but this turned my opinion of the novel around. I think Leonard's turn is fantastic and a good setup for what I assume to be six more novels. I hope the series can keep itself together and am looking forward to getting a hold of the second book (which Leonard has kindly offered for free to people who subscribe to his site for free). I do have two criticisms. Many of the characters felt a little too stock. I know Leonard means them to be archetypes. Colette's backstory is completely absent and is just a cardboard "succubus", really just a slut as there is nothing sinister to her at all. Keto and Anthony are also woefully underdeveloped. However, I do like that figuring out who matches to what roll is a part of the fun of the book and I was genuinely mislead and surprised when it came to some of the characters' identities.My other criticism is I think Leonard's conditions for a successful ritual are not met in the end as two of the deaths seem not to actually qualify. I'm really uncertain, but can't get in to it more without spoiling some of the twists.I received a digital copy of this book for review from NetGalley and the publisher.

  • Amie's Book Reviews
    2019-06-21 23:24

    MODERN RITUALSBy: J.S. LeonardPublication Date: February 16, 2015Genre: Horror, Science Fiction and Fantasy, Thrillers and MysteryFrom NetGalley:"A failed ritual annihilates modern life."Manhattan, NY: The E-Train slams into James Bixby, a strapping young artist on the rise, after a life-saving rescue attempt goes awry. Belfast, Ireland: A bullet severs Olivia Young's spinal cord while she defends a doctor colleague--the second bullet pierces her heart.Then they awaken--unharmed."Selected" and thrust into a deadly ritual, James' and Olivia's lives--along with the lives of five others--will decide humanity's fate: surrender to the old Gods' rule or live on in blissful ignorance. Follow their frantic struggle as Magnus--a secret organization of enormous reach and scientific prowess--directs the ritual to its gruesome end.Dubbed as a Cabin in the Woods "remix," Modern Rituals celebrates the movie's ritual motif and compels readers with a rich universe propped upon science fiction and mythology. If you loved the fierce pace of Battle Royale and the fight to survive in Hunger Games, then Modern Rituals: The Wayward Three will quicken your heartbeat and leave your eyes red and bleary! Pick it up and strap in--once this story leaps off the page there's no turning back.This is the first book in J.S. Leonard's captivating new series."My Review:This book took me a while to get into. In fact, I almost abandoned it completely. However, I am glad that I kept reading. The story begins with an interesting premise: individuals who are whisked away (almost magically) the instant before dying then awake in a completely different place. Sounds good, right? And it does start off that way. Multiple people awaken in a school campus setting with no idea why they are there or even how they came to get there. Then it degenerates into a typical horror movie type plot. This is where I found myself losing interest. They have been placed there by a corporation that is responsible for running these "rituals" that must result in multiple deaths or the world is doomed. This is just way too much like "Cabin In The Woods" and as such, it lacked originality. But further into the story it does take another turn. This one for the better. I do not want to spoil the twist for potential readers, but this twist is what 'saves' the plot and also sets it up for more books in the series. I had a hard time deciding what rating to give this book. At times it deserves 4 stars out of 5 and at times it deserves less. After much consideration I have decided on a final rating of 3 out of 5 stars. ⭐⭐⭐To learn more about the author of "Modern Rituals - The Wayward Three - Book One' visit his blog at read more of my reviews visit

  • Ayse Nur
    2019-06-17 04:18

    I received this book from Net-Galley in exchange for an honest review.This book could have been better, nearly a 5 star book, but there were too many inconsistencies in the book.Actually I really liked the book, even more than I've expected. It is a blend of genres which I really like; horror, fantasy and sci-fi. First, the good parts;Main idea of the book was executed well, and the story-telling kept me reading. I didn't understand much about the tech stuff, especially where hacking stuff is explained but it still fit quite well. I liked the character development, and felt their emotions, -though- this is not the same with all the characters like Anthony, Keto and Colette. They felt like they were forsaken from the beginning. Twists were good. And this is where the book "wreaks havoc". There were just too many(and also big) inconsistencies throughout the book. And I really couldn't stand them. Maybe some of them are because of me being distracted while reading, if I took anything wrong, I would want to know.(view spoiler)[To begin with, Horace. We first see(read) him to be attacked by Arikura and severely injured, this has been also confirmed by the nurse, Olivia. Moreover he fell from a high place to the ground(while being attacked by the Arikura again), and thought to be dead. Unless he has some magical powers, he should have been pretty dead. But we again see him cutting limbs and dealing with another victim while dragging another, and then finding a really secret passage to a really secret chamber which is actually similar to the exact place where the Arikura died. How many possibilities are there that all of these can actually happen? Secondly, the school building which was supposed to be similar to that of Edo Period(1603-1868) sounded pretty much like a modern-day school in Japan(what about emergency lights?).And also while they were so intent on hiding from "Gods" that the rituals are actually artificial, how Gods cannot know it, and how much they would care even if they did, while they only want the blood of sacrificed? And how Amida materialized out of its sealed chamber and had power enough to hurl them to the walls? If he can easily do that, he could escape easily, too, what is the meaning of seals? (hide spoiler)]Such ideas seemed scattered around with urging us not to think too much how much they makes sense. Some things just don't makes sense in the execution and they are not minor either.Another thing which was annoying(at least to me), the depiction of creatures called Gods. I think a more original name could have been chosen to call these creatures- literally hell-bent on sucking the blood of humanity. Calling them Gods is just sounds amateurish.

  • Tabitha
    2019-06-16 04:23

    I was provided a copy of this book from NetGalley and boy meets universe in exchange for an honest review.I was honestly torn on how to rate this book. I was excited to get a copy of it because it's something that's right up my alley-- I was especially drawn to it because of the comparisons to The Cabin in the Woods, one of my favorite horror films. I wasn't expecting it to be quite so... similar, though. So, on the one hand I very much enjoyed Modern Rituals, on the other it was a little to similar. So I average it out to a 3.5.First off, I want to mention the similarities to The Cabin in the Woods, a superb, funny, and gory satire of slashers. Without the humor and satire the movie would just be another cookie cutter slasher flick with no heart. Modern Rituals is lacking a lot of that humor and thus a lot of that heart. It felt like I was reading TCitW fan fiction in fact! It's not an exact rip-off, obviously, though heavily influence (overly influenced, imo) by it. Some of the descriptions of places, people, settings, etc felt right out of the movie, particularly a part right after the first death (I don't want to spoil it, but when you read it, if you've seen the film, you'll know exactly what I'm talking about). As I said though, it's not an exact replica of TCitW. The parts that separate it are the parts that I found most intriguing. Modern Rituals has a much better elaborated universe and mythology than TCitW, and it's that universe that I look forward to seeing more of in future sequels. There was some clever science-fiction employed by the author as well, in the description of the creature containers.This is why I rated Modern Rituals a 3.5. The familiarity of the story was comforting in a way (though a bit too close to the inspiration material at times), but the more original parts was where the story really shone. The author is a competent writer (aside from overuse of the phrase "let's sync up" being used by all the characters lmao), and the action sequences were some of my favorites and left me feeling tense. Characters were a bit two-dimensional, especially the disposable ones, and I look forward to see some character growth in the sequels. Also, this is one of those books I think would make a much better comic than novel. I'd love to see this in comic form!If you like cinematic horror/action horror, than this is the story for you. FYI: for a note on comparisons. Modern Rituals is to The Cabin in the Woods what The Hunger Games is Battle Royale, though much more similar.

  • Chasing Dreams
    2019-06-03 02:07

    Synopsis: "A failed ritual annihilates modern life."Manhattan, NY: The E-Train slams into James Bixby, a strapping young artist on the rise, after a life-saving rescue attempt goes awry. Belfast, Ireland: A bullet severs Olivia Young's spinal cord while she defends a doctor colleague--the second bullet pierces her heart.Then they awaken--unharmed."Selected" and thrust into a deadly ritual, James' and Olivia's lives--along with the lives of five others--will decide humanity's fate: surrender to the old Gods' rule or live on in blissful ignorance. Follow their frantic struggle as Magnus--a secret organization of enormous reach and scientific prowess--directs the ritual to its gruesome end.This is the first book in J.S. Leonard's captivating new series.(Taken from Goodreads)It’s difficult to review a book that’s mediocre, and even though I read Modern Rituals in a single sitting, I needed time to really think about it before putting my thoughts down in a review.I loved the premise of Leonard’s plot – without giving anything away, the concept of ancient gods pacified by modern technology, but the execution (excuse the pun) was lacking.His style of writing is easy to get into, though I did feel that the first few chapters were disjointed and muddled. It’s worth pushing through though, as the pace and plot unfolds swiftly once the characters’ back stories are revealed and the action starts. I haven’t seen Cabin in the Woods which seems to be the basis for the plot, however it was very obvious throughout that the story was based on a fairly run-of-the-mill horror standard. Unfortunately, like most overdone horrors, it just wasn’t that horrifying, and Leonard makes the usual mistake of making things gory instead of frightening. I was pleasantly surprised by the twist at the end though, and will probably read the next book in the series, just to see if the author can live up to the promise that Modern Rituals is just the beginning of a captivating new tale. Worst Lines: There are no truly terrible lines in the book, however there were a few clichéd descriptions, and the alternating points of view describing the same scene were unnecessarily dull. Best Lines: Unfortunately nothing stood out for me in the way that memorable lines should, so I have to leave this blank as well. Overall, Modern Rituals is worth picking up if you’re looking for an average blend of mythology, science-fiction and horror. This book was downloaded from Story Cartel in exchange for an honest review.

  • Angel Hatfield
    2019-06-08 07:08

    Computers and science are used to fulfill the needs of elder Gods. Seven strangers find themselves in a Japanese school. After exploring they find they are trapped. What is known is they are there to appease the God of Death. The ritual only turns out right when there a certain amounts of death. If the ritual fails it will end modern life worldwide. Every year rituals are held to appease the Gods so continue to slumber. If the rituals are done right the ancient ones remain asleep. There is a huge secretive organization called Magnus that had enormous reach and scientific knowledge that was used -that selections of people that are randomly picked to be put in rituals. Each ritual put the chosen people in an artificial environment filled with monster type entities. Rules are those who don’t survive die those who do get to return to their normal lives. Olivia is a trained nurse and helps some people survive. But a lot of time the gory aspects of the ritual didn’t bother Olivia and James had to remind Olivia not everyone was a nurse. But Olivia does have a heart. They found out a man behind the scenes controlled everything and not everyone will survive. I had mixed feelings for this story It was a little far fetched for me. But i did like how James stayed true to his nature no matter what. I didn’t like this story at first almost stopped reading but did push on and really started to like by the end of the story. I just didn’t really connect with the story or the characters very much at least not til close to the end and then it’s a little late really.

  • Cheryl Marie
    2019-05-29 00:00

    I read this book in a couple of days, then sat to think about it a bit. I wanted to be fair because, let's be real, if you look at my bookshelves, I love horror, post-apocalyptic, dystopian, zombies, thrillers, etc...but "Modern Rituals"...well, it just wasn't quite my cup of tea.I won't bash the book, as some are, for being so similar to Cabin in the Woods, because, in the very description for "Modern Rituals" it literally says that it is "dubbed as a Cabin in the Woods remix", so all the people that were disappointed because of that, read your book synopses more carefully friends!What I will say is from reading the synopsis of "Modern Rituals" I knew exactly what I was getting. I just never felt surprised. Because I was familiar with Cabin in the Woods, I seemed to sense the direction the author was taking with this one, and I was right. Some reviewers commented that "this book had it all, action, horror, fighting, etc, etc, etc". Well, yes, it did. But it was done in a way that felt over-done, recycled, been-there-read-that-before.Modern Rituals is not a badly written book. It has a decent story-line, and some okay character building and backgrounds. Gruesome settings and situations, galore. But, what I may suggest is that if you are familiar with Cabin in the Woods and loved it, and you aren't looking to be surprised or thrilled by this book, but you just simply want the same type of experience as you have had with Cabin in the Woods, go for it! You will probably love this book and tell everyone it was freakin' awesome.However, if you enjoyed Cabin in the Woods, but don't feel like spending time reading it twice, or you didn't like Cabin in the Woods to begin with, I'd advise you to pick up something else. Maybe return to this once you have forgotten all about the latter, and then it wouldn't seem like a let down in the suspense department.*I received an ARC of this book through Netgalley in exchange for an honest review*

  • Maria Beltrami
    2019-06-24 03:22

    Dal tronco che raccoglie i miti antichi e li ripropone nel mondo moderno, fuoriesce un nuovo ramo, per la delizia di grandi e piccini. Antichi dei sanguinari sono tenuti prigionieri, e vengono periodicamente nutriti col sangue di uomini, catturati in momenti topici della loro esistenza (devono stare prendendo o salvando una vita) e lasciati in un ambiente artificiale, a fronteggiare fantasmi archetipici e le loro paure, fino a morirne. Ma un rituale non va come dovrebbe, anche e soprattutto perché questa volta il gruppo di persone catturate per il rituale non è quello che sembra.L'inizio è un po' confuso, e l'argomento del romanzo non è tra i miei preferiti, ma dalla metà in avanti, quando si comincia a capire che l'umanità ha prodotto di peggio di qualche spettro arrabbiato, la lettura diventa davvero divertente.Ringrazio boy meets universe e Netgalley per avermi fornito una copia gratuita in cambio di una recensione onesta.From the trunk that collects ancient myths and plays them in the modern world, comes out a new branch, to the delight of young and old. Ancients and bloodthirsty Gods are being held, and are regularly fed with the blood of human being, caught in important moments of their existence (they must be taking or saving a life) and left in an artificial environment, to face archetypal ghosts and their fears, until die. But a ritual does not go as it should, not least because this time the group of captured people for the ritual is not what it seems.The beginning is a bit 'confused, and the subject of the novel is not among my favorites, but from the middle forward, wen you begin to understand that humanity has produced worse than a few angry spectrum, the reading becomes really fun.Thank boy meets universe and Netgalley for giving me a free copy in exchange for an honest review.

  • Ian
    2019-06-16 02:18

    As my 2 star rating indicates this book was OK. However, it kind of meets the OK criteria by weighing up what was good and what was bad....and it only just scraped an OK.The main problem is with character development and the dialogue used. The dialogue seems really immature and unnatural, like a conversation early on between James and his Sister just left me thinking, who talks like that? No-one, thats who.Also, James, Theo and Trevor, could almost all be the same character, nothing much distinguishes between them in terms of the dialogue they use. So you never really get a sense of who has what role within the dynamic of this book. Also, a real oppurtunity seems to have been missed with Oliva as the heroine - was she the heroine? It seemed to be what was developing but then she kind of disappeared.Keto actually felt like the most real character, he was the only one I could see clearly in my head each time he came up.Things I did like - The basic premise, the ritual selection technique and the horror elements. All good. But not good enough to turn this into something worthwhile reading. In a genre that is very overcrowded with new books, I won't be bothering to return for the next installment in this trilogy.I recieved an ARC of this book via Net Galley in exchange for an honest review.

  • Jaymi
    2019-06-11 07:18

    Disclaimer: I received a eARC from in exchange for a review.If you can get past the similarities to "Cabin in the Woods," you'll find that J.S. Leonard's Modern Rituals has the ability to become more than just a one off story. In a world where Gods made deals with people, and ritual killings (ala Cabin in the Woods) happen to prevent apocalypses, Modern Rituals introduces us to three unlikely heroes who have what it takes to change fate. Most of the book centers around how the rituals work, what goes on in them on the inside and on the "watchers" side, and what happens when an unknown party changes the score. I liked the world that Leonard has created here. The tech, the paranormal, even the idea of "the old gods." I expected this book to be a bit more horror-ish but I'm pleasantly surprised that it's more urban fantasy with a dash of Lovecraftian mythos. The cast of characters in this book seems to be a bit over the top but as the story progresses, we're treated to the main players' points of view, until it all comes down to everyone in the same line.Bottom Line: Curious as to what would happen if Cabin in the Woods ended differently and gave humanity a fighting chance? Then you'll enjoy Modern RItuals.

  • Paula
    2019-06-23 23:02

    I read this book for NetGalley.Mr. Leonard takes a very ancient literary tradition, ritual human sacrifice to appease a god or gods (r.e. the Minotaur) and crafts into an exciting and fascinating new science fiction novel.Yes, there are some similarities to "Cabin in the Woods," but Mr. Leonard sees the better side of humanity (which I prefer - I read too much Harlan Ellison as a teen)while Mr. Whed(Cabin in the Woods)opts for the darker and more selfish side.The characters in the novel are chosen by a mysterious, omnipotent organization named Magnus. Magnus is ancient and dedicated to ritual sacrifices to appease certain ancient gods. The system is set so that there will always be an adequate sacrifice to appease the gods. But things go awry which is one of the fun parts of the plot!One interesting development is that some of the Magnus members have become disillusioned and aid the victims. Very excellent plot twist.This book is a fun read, with likeable and believable heroes and some nasty (and hidden) villains. I really enjoyed reading it and look forward the the next installment.

  • tyto
    2019-05-26 05:09

    I received this from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. Did you watch The Cabin in the Woods and think, boy, I wish there was a book like this? If so, here you go - wish granted. For three quarters of the book, it's a straight rip-off of The Cabin in the Woods (note - I do not know how long the author has been working on the novel, and I don't know when the movie script was written, but I do know that The Cabin in the Woods was released first, which is what really matters at this point) and Modern Rituals even makes a direct reference to the movie (I picture the author winking at the reader, like the author is finally letting us in on the secret). The ending of the book is different (the book is the beginning of a series, after all), but many things are identical (too identical to be a coincidence). I don't like when books ape movies and vice versa (I'm still irritated that The Village closely resembles a Margaret Peterson Haddix book I read as a kid), and I didn't want to like this book, but I couldn't help it. Will I read the rest of the series? Begrudgingly yes, if only to see how the story fairs with no Joss Whedon plot lines to steal.

  • Bill Tiberius Green
    2019-06-01 04:03

    Many thanks to J.S. Leonard, and NetGalley for providing an opportunity to give this unbiased review.This is more of a mix of fantasy and science fiction genres; not the type of book that I would normally pick up, but I thoroughly enjoyed the experience.It appears that alternate realities exist, and man has been given a second chance to succeed. In another reality mankind experienced all of the stuff our dreams are made of, including ghosts, magic, demons and more. And now the Gods in collaboration with mankind have given us a second chance to experience our evolution; hiding magic and the like from most of us. But the collaboration comes at a cost; ritual sacrifices of smaller numbers of humans keep the gods appeased. In our story a small group of seven individuals from around the world are gathered up to participate in a ritual in a closed environment; and at least two must die to feed the gods. Although the gods are to initiate the killing it sometimes doesn't work out that way. Infighting and conflict abound, and the humans sometimes fear each other as much as they fear the gods themselves.Very well done, great characters - fabulous read.

  • Seth Chaffee
    2019-05-26 23:20

    A fun read from first time novelist J.S. Leonard. If you like Battle Royal, Hunger Games, or just anime in general, I think you'll enjoy Modern Rituals. Other than being a thrilling read, one of the most interesting things to me about this book is its author and his unique angle on doing what so many writers strive to do, yet don't: write that first novel. You would only know this by reaching out to the author of course. Surprisingly, J.S. Leonard is very open to correspondence via his website and seems passionate to help new writers understand the process of publishing their first book, including managing all the stumbling blocks that come along the way. Passion over perfection. Good writing isn't a stagnant skill, it's something that develops through persistence, love, and discipline. He walks the talk. That's something that's evident in this book. Come for the adventure, stay for the process. If you haven't reached out to Leonard through his site, I dare you. It's amazing to find an author willing to be so personal with his audience and with such a strong desire to help others.

  • Kate Gentry
    2019-06-02 00:04

    I received a free copy of this book via Netgalley in exchange for an honest review. I almost gave up on Modern Rituals a handful of times, but I managed to make it all the way through. There are some grammatical mistakes and typos throughout the book that distracted me from the story and I found the characters to be a bit unbelievable and inconsistent. That being said, the premise is interesting, though it is rather slowly revealed, leaving readers a bit confused as to what is going on for a large part of the book. There are some unique fantasy elements to Modern Rituals, but I felt that some of the wonder of those elements was lost to overcrowding. This is meant to be the first book in a series featuring three of the novel’s main characters and I’m not sure that I will read the next book. Overall, I give it two and a half stars and would recommend it for fans of weird fiction.

  • Brandon
    2019-06-01 04:29

    What an exciting story! I read this book all in one sitting, once I got into it I couldn’t put it down. While the first third of the book sets up the back story and lives of the characters the second two thirds takes you on a suspenseful ride leaving you on the edge of your seat on every page turn. It’s action packed and weaves together multiple genres with science fiction, horror, fantasy, mythology, magical realism and suspense all woven into one book. As the first few chapters developed I wondered how the characters got into the situation they found themselves in. There were so many questions and I had to continue to find out what happened next. As the story unfolds there are several “wow I didn’t see that coming” moments but I won’t spoil the surprises with too many details. By the end of the book I couldn’t wait to see what was in store for the main characters. I am excited to see what J.S. Leonard has in store next!

  • Kimberly Martin-McClure
    2019-06-09 03:13

    I was given an advance evaluation copy of this book but I still would have bought it and here is why.Even though J.S. Leonard is a new writer, he is able to create realistic dialog which flows naturally and allows absolute immersion in the story. When reading, a rapport quickly builds with the lifelike characters and you genuinely care about them. The story itself is compelling and rather difficult to categorize. It could be called a sci-fi, fantasy, horror, thriller. There are plot twists, and surprises but these elements do not make the story so convoluted that it is hard to read. The opposite is true. It makes the story so fascinating that you have a hard time putting down the book. The tale was allowed to unfold gradually without feeling forced or rushed but not so slow that it felt drawn out.I highly recommend this book to others and am looking forward to the rest of the series.