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Thursday, February 1, 2018

*[Review] The Ruins by Scott B. Smith

The Ruins
Trapped in the Mexican jungle, a group of friends stumble upon a creeping horror unlike anything they could ever imagine. Two young couples are on a lazy Mexican vacation–sun-drenched days, drunken nights, making friends with fellow tourists. When the brother of one of those friends disappears, they decide to venture into the jungle to look for him. What started out as a fun day-trip slowly spirals into a nightmare when they find an ancient ruins site . . . and the terrifying presence that lurks there.
Cover and Summary taken from
Length: 509 pages (paperback)
Available Formats: Print/E-book/Audiobook
Source: Book I Own
Publication Date: July 31st 2007 by Vintage (first published 2006)
I love horror.
I love horror movies and I love horror novels. I love the feeling of reading and getting the heebie jeebies. Love it. So, after having The Ruins on my bookshelf since 2010. I have moved twice since I bought this, lived in three different homes but never read it until last week. 

Maybe my reluctance to read it was due to the fact that I still haven't seen the movie, or maybe it was a feeling that this book just wasn't going to live up to the hype that kept it neatly sitting on my shelf waiting to be read. 

When I started reading it, I had picked it up on a whim looking for a fast and easy scary read. Unfortunately, while I found it to be a fast and easy read it wasn't scary and wasn't very well written. I didn't care for how the story was told in alternating points of view (which I usually love) but found the way the author chose to switch between characters rather too quickly.

The characters weren't the greatest. They were a group of young twenty somethings that were vacationing in Mexico and decided to help a stranger find his brother in the jungle, among some Mayan ruins. We all know that these things never end well, but I was hoping to be at least slightly sympathetic to at least one character. This wasn't to be the case however, and I found them all to be very one dimensional, whiny, annoying and downright unlikable. For me, it seemed as though the author tried to make them to intellectual, too young, too sympathetic that it went the other way for me. They were all very childish and I didn't mind when some met their ends.

Now, I knew that I probably wasn't going to be reading an amazing book with great characters but I at least wanted to be scared. Unfortunately, this book was boring. There was absolutely nothing scary, spooky or remotely fear inducing in the entire book. The whole being trapped in Mayan ruins wasn't even part of the actual story other than, they arrived at the ruins. They were there for a couple days, some folks died. Seriously, the ruins were never even a main focal point of the story. Even the entity that haunted the ruins for lack of a better term wasn't even written well. It was just simply preposterous that the thing killing everyone was just so poorly written, that it was laughable. It just made no sense to me and I found it ridiculous. 

I really did try to like The Ruins, I really did. I wanted to enjoy it but it was honestly one of the most boring books I've ever read. Yes, I was able to read it in one sitting but that's because I had nothing else to do and it was just so easy and bland the pages slipped by. It felt like the author took a bunch of outtakes from previous works and through so much at the wall hoping things would stick, and in the end this didn't work for me at all. The poor characterization, forced dialogue and awkward internal monologues from the character amid an underused plot and basically useless setting wound up in this being a dud for me. That being said though I do want to watch the movie just to see how it compares.
If you're looking for a fun horror novel, this isn't one I would recommend and why I gave it one star.


  1. This sounds so much like a Joseph Conrad novel and I love him so it stands to reason I would love this book :-) Thank you for the review!

  2. Replies
    1. No, I haven't but I just looked up the first book on Goodreads AND IT SOUNDS AMAZING. Definitely going to see if my library has book one this weekend.

  3. Sorry you didn't like the book more. I like books and movies that scare me too, and usually the book is better. I read Horrorstör by Grady Hendrix a few years ago and for the longest time whenever I went to IKEA I couldn't get the book out of my head.

    1. Thanks Vicki, I'm not familiar with Horrorstör so I'll have to look that one up though I am excited to if it creeped you out that much!

  4. Sorry to hear the book didn't live up to expectations. I was hoping you would enjoy it. I enjoyed the review. We should watch the movie sometime

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