The Ruins horror novel
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  • At first I thought it was to play up the fact that the story stays on the same people, but if you're going to divide it up anyways, why not put in chapters to make it easier
  • It's not a cheap King knockoff, but you can definitely see King writing a book like this one

    • by David Finniss


      The Ruins, a horror novel by the same author who gave us “A Simple Plan”. Like its predecessor, The Ruins is not an overly complex novel. We’re presented with the characters, given the essential background info, and then watch as they’re thrown into the jacked up situation that the book puts them in.

      I really liked it. The prose was solid and I never felt bored. Smith deserves credit as they spend most of the novel trapped at the top of a hill. One would think that you’d run out of stuff to have the characters do, but he keeps things going even in a stationary setting.

      Readers be warned, this book is not for the feint of heart. If you have a weak stomach, then this book is not for you. It’s not excessive, nor is it the literary equivalent of “torture porn”, however it does get pretty violent at times. What one character ends up doing to himself throughout the book is rather disturbing.

      The first thing that caught my eye was the fact that there are no chapters in this book, none, zero, zip. The closest you get is a double space every few paragraphs to break
      the book into sections. My questions is, why no chapters? At first I thought it was to play up the fact that the story stays on the same people, but if you’re going to divide it up anyways, why not put in chapters to make it easier?

      If you’re a fan of King, then this book is right up your alley as it is similar to his work in a lot of ways. King himself raves about the book. It’s not a cheap King knockoff, but you can definitely see King writing a book like this one.

      As I said before, the prose is solid. At over 500 pages, you’d think the book would be overly wordy or that there would be some padding. There isn’t any, even a seemingly gratuitous sex act actually has an impact later in the story.

      I had a hard time putting this book down. Some books, I eagerly await the end of the chapter so that I can put the book down and do something else. With this one, I only wanted to read more. Even with 500 pages of prose, I had this baby done in a few days.

      You ...

      • know how when you see a horror movie, and you find yourself yelling advice to the characters on the proper way to handle a situation? You can’t do that here. Smith is aware enough to think of the stuff that we think of and have the characters try it and fail. Case and point, the characters have booze and a handful of matches. In my head, I thought to myself “just Molotov Cocktail the place, you’re going to die anyways might as well take it with you”. Sure enough, one of the characters tries and it has little effect. Kudos to Smith for shutting out the armchair quarterbacking factor of horror.

        My complaints are mere gripes. Early on in the book, the characters come across this bizarre sap that’s almost like acid. This is fine early on as they only get a few drops on them, but as the book progresses they get it on them at regular intervals. Given the length of the standoff, how did they have any flesh left? I flipped back to see if I mistook his meaning of burning to just mean heat, but he specifically says it’s acidic.

        The other gripe is the ending. I get that there really wasn’t any other way for it to end, but at the same time it’s just kind of blah. I mean it just ends and a hook is thrown in showing that it’s about to happen with some new characters. After all that happens the overall impact is surprisingly minor.

        I don’t want to give away major plot points, so if you don’t know what the antagonist is, I’m going to try not to spoil it for you. I did read one critique that says that the book is environmentalist in nature, showing nature finally fighting back. I say poppycock. If anything, this book made me anti-environmental. I wanted to bulldoze all of it before some crazy stuff like this happens.

        The villain is pretty creepy, when you get to the part where it actually laughs and starts playing mind games with the characters…ugh. It’s great reading but it’s still disturbing on a certain level.

        Overall, I highly recommend this book. It’s characters seem like stock characters, but are fleshed out through the story. It’s disturbing, creepy, and a book you can’t put down. It’s everything you’d want from a horror novel.

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    The review was published as it's written by reviewer in February, 2009. The reviewer certified that no compensation was received from the reviewed item producer, trademark owner or any other institution, related with the item reviewed. The site is not responsible for the mistakes made. 171902601851028/k2311a0219/2.19.09
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