The Ruins by Scott Smith
My Rating: 2/5
Description (From Goodreads.com):
TERROR HAS EVOLVED
In the wild interior of the Yucatan, far from the lazy beaches of Cancun, two young couples and some new-found friends venture to the site of an ancient Mayan temple, in pursuit of another in their group. What started out as a day trip spirals into a nightmare when they reach the ruins … and discover the terrifying presence that lurks there.
The premise of this book sounded promising, but it didn’t quite get there for me. We have a group of young adults (teens?) that go on a vacation to South America. One of the characters wants to meet up with his brother at some archaeological dig, so they make their way there despite warnings from the locals. The locals get referred to as “the Mayans” and once they cross a certain point, “the Mayans” won’t let them retreat. The idea is that there is something horrible lurking around the ruins, and everyone must do what they can to survive until help comes.
I felt it incredibly difficult to connect to the characters. They were your typical stupid, drunk group of people that ignored the only person with any sense of reason (Jeff). You had your space case girl (Stacey), some guy that didn’t speak English (Pablo), the token semi-normal girl (Amy), and the German guy that wants to find his brother (Mathias). Yes, the group can feel realistic but I couldn’t connect with any of them. My group of friends wasn’t like them at all, and in fact, they were all the types of people that I try to avoid in my own life. So I didn’t have much sympathy for them at all.
The first half of the book was very slow. It was realistic in that not everything was clear immediately, but still I wished something would have happened. A significant event happened to one of the characters fairly early on, but the main plot didn’t really get going until one of the girls jacked off one of the guys in the tent. I’m serious. That moment was significant enough to get the plot going.
I enjoyed the writing. It was descriptive and had a good balance between dialogue, inner thoughts, and observation. This was probably one of the best parts about the book.
Like I said, the pacing was very slow. The thing that lurks at the ruins would be scary if you happened to be there. However, there were so many moments when I was thinking, “Why don’t they try this?” It was a bit annoying at times. The concept was interesting and I liked the little bits of information we are given about the thing at the ruins, but not all my questions were answered. I wanted to know where the thing came from, why it was there, what the Mayans had to do with it, etc. These aren’t answered. The story takes place in the present, and the present only.
Did you enjoy this book? What are some horror novels that you enjoy?