Thursday, August 2, 2007

Book Review: The Ruins

Author: Scott Smith

Pages: 336

Personal Rating: 3.5/5

From the back cover:

The Ruins follows two American couples, just out of college, enjoying a pleasant, lazy beach holiday together in Mexico as, on an impulse, they go off with newfound friends in search of one of their group—the young German, who, in pursuit of a girl, has headed for the remote Mayan ruins, site of a fabled archeological dig. This is what happens from the moment the searchers—moving into the wild interior—begin to suspect that there is an insidious, horrific “other” among them . . .

I picked up this book by chance from Goodwill when I saw it was published in 2006. I thought I could get a credit for it on paperback swap. I wasn’t expecting much. At home I saw that Stephen King called it “the best suspense novel of the year” and I decided to give it a try.

Four annoying, recently graduated college students follow a newly met friend into the jungle. They are looking for the new friend’s brother, who has been missing for a week. They are searching for Mayan ruins, the last place the brother said he was going. They end up being trapped on top of a hill by vines and group of native villagers. Most of the story revolves around what happens as they are trapped on the hill.

I hated three of the four main characters. I wanted to strangle them. I almost stopped reading the book I found the girls to be so stupid and irritating. The third male character was almost as aggravating. I think Scott did a nice of job of showing how a stressful situation can bring out the worst flaws in some people. The book also has no chapters. It goes on and on, just like their ordeal.

Would I call this book the best suspense novel of the year? No. I would call it good suspense/horror novel that had some interesting aspects and ideas. I think Smith could come up with some real horrifying stories in the future, I see potential.

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