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The Ruins: A Realistic Kind of Horror

Updated on February 21, 2016

The Ruins - A Realistic Kind of Horror

The Ruins - A Realistic Kind of Horror


Rating: Totally Worth the Read.

Straight out. I’m not a big horror geek when it comes to novels. Simply because books just don’t scare me and for some reason authors like Stephen King or Dean Koontz often tend to bore me. I just feel silly and when the books are trying to be creepy and I feel they aren't doing the job right. Yet every once in a while I will read a horror novel and hope to read something that is really good and often times they let me down. This time it is the Ruins.

The Ruins is a novel by Scott Smith. He’s an author that I have never heard of before and am not really sure if has ever wrote anything else. But most people will probably remember the Ruins as the 2007 film. Only issue with that is if you have seen the movie you basically know everything in the book. The movie is that close of an adaptation.

The concept of the book is four friends down in Mexico. They meet up with three Greeks who really don’t know any English but somehow find a way to communicate with the four main characters and become friends. Yeah I know it’s weird but that’s how it was in the book. It was one day when one of Greeks (who speaks very little English) said his buddy and new girlfriend went to an archaeological dig at some ruins and ask if they want to come and of course they go. They go to the ruins dispute the warnings and creepy villagers along the way. But it’s when one of the main characters steps on one of the plants and leaves, this turn darker. On the outside of the ruins these crazy Mexican villagers come out with guns, bows and spears threatening to kill them if they don’t climb onto the ruins. So what’s so bad at the Ruins? Ghosts? Psychopaths? Monsters? No. Plants. This pyramid is invested with flesh eating plants, which some people may consider lame. I considered it original. So here’s the good and bad.

The good is Scott Smith is a really good writer. His writing, unlike some of Stephen King's work, is concrete and down to Earth. He is not outlandish in anyway what so ever. You can believe in this place, these people and these killer plants. Then the Ruins somehow captured the brutality of the situation. Yes there is gore. There is a lot of gore, but he also takes you there with the image and emotion.***Spoiler*** There is a scene in the book were they have to chop off the Greeks legs with a pocket knife and a rock, and there is so much detail. Even down to looks on their faces, the Greek’s rambling and sound that are me.***Spoiler***He is a very good writer in this genre.

The bad. The writing is more of a narrative story telling. The characters only talk every once in a while and are relatively shallow. For half the book I had trouble keeping them all straight. The author really should have name them Guy #1, Guy #2, Girl #1, Girl #2, and the Greek guy. They were all basically the same character beyond the name. The book is also a situation book. There’s no real plot beyond their in a mess that must survive.***Spoiler*** My biggest complaint is this. Everyone dies. I read this for 500 pages curious of how this last person is going to get out alive. And she doesn't. She dies. They all die. And I know it’s not a supposed to be a happy book, but I like someone to live.***spoiler***

So overall if you like gritty realistic horror books, this is your baby. There’s no creepy, suspense. Everything is all right there in your face and nothing is kept in the shadows. Man eating plants are something Scott made a very successful horror about, but beyond realism don’t expect it to evolve into anything further than a situation story.

3 smoothies out of Four

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