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The Ruins

Essay by   •  March 21, 2011  •  648 Words (3 Pages)  •  1,155 Views

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People would expect any modern young people cast into an unfamiliar and dangerous situation in another country to use their innate survivor skills, at least in theory, pooling their resources to find ways to overcome any conditions until help can be summoned. That would be in an ordinary scenario. Unfortunately for these travelers, their situation is anything but ordinary. A threat that is all but incomprehensible requires more than the usual human response to danger.

Well, having finished Scott Smith’s horror novel The Ruins (in preparation for the upcoming film adaptation), I can attest to those very emotions. Like a vine, The Ruins wraps itself around you, slowly at first, then tightening and tightening its hold so that it is near impossible to put down until the very last page.

Things start lazily enough in the book. Couples Jeff and Amy, Eric and Stacy are having one last fling together before they each head off to college. They are enjoying three weeks in Cancun, relaxing on the beach and drinking their cares away. They become friends with a German named Mathias as well as a group of Greeks, who don’t speak any English but go by Spanish names. One day, Mathias tells them about his brother, who set off into the jungle to follow a girl he had met to an archeological dig. The two couples, along with “Pablo” from the Greeks, decide to accompany Mathias into the jungle to try and find his brother.

After a long bus and taxi ride, they come to the jungle path they must take. They encounter some indifferent Mayans before eventually finding the ruins. There is no sign of Mathias’ brother or an archeological dig, but the group soon discovers the horrifying truth about the ruins when they remain trapped there.

I haven’t been so taken and fascinated with a book in quite some time, but The Ruins blew me away. Smith writes simply at first, but keeps the reader with an ominous feeling, one where you know something very bad is coming very soon. When trouble finally arrives, it’s far worse than you ever could have comprehended and it just keeps getting worse!

The characters are likable and relatable; I found a piece of myself reflected in each of their personalities and moods. The way Smith is able to capture both the good, the bad and the



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