Andy's Reviews > The Ruins

The Ruins by Scott B. Smith
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's review
Jul 31, 2008

really liked it
bookshelves: fiction, thriller-horror

I made the mistake of watching the newly released film before reading the book. Predictably, in terms of story telling, emotion, and plot, the book was superior.

Four American twenty-sometimes vacationing in Cancun, along with their newly befriended German and Greek accomplices, travel deep into the Mexican jungle, excited for adventure, but also searching for the German's brother, Henrich, whom they believed is accompanying a group of archaeologist at some Mayan ruins. What is suppose to be a fun-filled day of exploration turns bad, very bad. Indeed, the six friends discover the ruins --the hillsides are covered with verdant vines with lush red flowers, a beautiful sight. But they are shortly accosted by frantic Mayans on horseback with weaponry, begging them to leave this area. After a few minutes of confusion and bewilderment, the Mayans order the group up the hillside. Any resistance to this order would surely result in death. So the trek up the ruins began. But to the group's surprise, Henrich and the archaeologists were conspicuously missing. The group observed tents, field journals, and modest supplies, but any human presence on the hilltop was nil. Something wasn't right. In due time, they would find out. But would they live to tell about it?

Scott Smith did a nice job pacing the narrative without bogging down the flow. I thought character development was fairly strong, but I also felt Smith could have developed Mathias' character (the German) more fully without taking away the mysterious quality so peculiar to his persona. Physical description of the landscape was also quite good, a necessary ingredient in relation to the story line.

I have mixed feeling about the ending. It could have been better in my opinion. Overall, though, I found the book extremely enjoyable. Four stars for Mr. Smith.

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