Image courtesy of

Image courtesy of

By: J.S. Leonard

Publication Date: February 16, 2015

Genre: Horror, Science Fiction and Fantasy, Thrillers and Mystery

From 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


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