This is one of the worst books I've ever read. Imagine reading this without the illustrations... that's right, it's a horror novel. The characters areThis is one of the worst books I've ever read. Imagine reading this without the illustrations... that's right, it's a horror novel. The characters are wooden, the entire text is riddled with "tell, not show," nothing that happens was interesting or exciting or sensical or relatable. It's like being transported into a dimension where everything sucks.
I'll stop ranting and give an example. The main characters, who are being pursued by organic-hating robots, find a robot head that is wired as a bomb. Instead of doing anything a logical person would do, the main character acts on intuition and saves the head and recovers most of the body. This character has a hunch that the dismembered robot had acted on his behalf in the past, and so they journey on to the sanctuary of humans. They are captured by dinosaur-like beasts who guard the sanctuary, and brought into the midst of one of these huge human colonies. REMEMBER these humans HATE robots and think they are terrible and are constantly moving and hiding from them. And then a group of crazy looking dudes accompanied by a robot just gets escorted right into this high security compound. Then they have a literally I kid you not written out montage scene. If you like storytelling you'll be about two steps away from plucking your own eyes out.
The worst insult is that Orson Scott Card's name is on this book. If I were him I would be so ashamed that this error made it through. I'm going to assume that all the things that made sense were his doing, and the rest was Doug's fault, because I've read a lot of Card and I don't think he would have done this intentionally. ...more
**spoiler alert** The Ruins is a story about a group of acquaintances who get themselves trapped on an ancient pyramid filled with asshole plants. The**spoiler alert** The Ruins is a story about a group of acquaintances who get themselves trapped on an ancient pyramid filled with asshole plants. Then they die. I wish there was something more to this book other than that, but it was written so simply and so blatantly that there really isn't any concept left to explore. Smith beats the reader over the head with his heavyhanded "theme" of inevitability, that the victims were drawn inexorably towards their fate due to tiny inconsequential choices that they made in the course of their traveling, but what does this really mean to the reader? I didn't feel horrified by the concept that everything I do may be leading towards an end, this is something that most rational people have already come to grips with by the time they reach adulthood.
Not that you're quite sure if the characters should be classified as adults. They are overwhelmingly unlikeable, one dimensional and shallow, and often written as if they're being transcribed from bullet points. The more subtle horrific elements of the story are still in-your-face enough to be annoying: copious mentions of excretion, vomit, rot, worms, blood. I get it, I'm supposed to be disgusted. There is no craft here, just throwing out key visuals that are gross no matter what the context. The plants themselves, the crux of the horror, are ridiculous. They do everything: they move super fast, they learn, they communicate throughout the structure, they mimic voices, they know English and German, they construct conversations that never happened, they can produce smells (?????!!) for no other reason than to psychologically mess with the victims?? Seriously, if these plants are so fucking great, why don't they just escape from the barrier of salt? or evolve oh, I don't know, wind-borne seeding? Since obviously mimicking ringtones and human language wasn't a challenge for them. Or, the bigger question, why do they even bother toying with the people at all? Why not just kill and eat them? Unless they are malevolent, which is what the book suggests, in which case why do I care at all about this ridiculous crap. Every good horror novel makes the reader think "what if this was me?" or at least allows for the reader to insert his own fears into the narrative... this one just makes you tired and bored and a little insulted.
Anyways maybe you can tell that I didn't care for this book. It's badly written, feels inorganically constructed, has no emotional resonance and it's not scary aside from the gore. If you want good adventure horror about strange lands and organisms, try some Clark Ashton Smith or some Jeff Long....more
A long time fan, I was willing to take Stephen King seriously despite his last few books until I got to this one. I can't believe how bad it was. FirsA long time fan, I was willing to take Stephen King seriously despite his last few books until I got to this one. I can't believe how bad it was. First of all it should have been half the length, second of all the characters were all caricatures, but in the bad way where you still don't care about any of them. I literally wanted all of them to die. The plot was right up there with the worst of them, I'm looking at you Dreamcatcher. All we need is for Under the Dome to be a movie directed by M Night Shyamalan and then the cycle of terror will be complete....more