« South Park "The Ungroundable": Twilight in Review | Main | I hate finals. »

The Ruins (Book)

I just finished this book last night, and I have to say, I didn't expect it to scare me the way it did.  I had about 200 pages left when I picked it up at 11. I couldn't go to bed without finishing it, I had to know what happened.

I've never seen the movie, and I've heard it's terrible.  I got the book for free when the book store I worked at shut down.  I almost didn't grab it, but I'm glad I did.

I've tried to explain the plot to about ten different people, and every time I say it, I get strange looks and raised eyebrows.  Yes, it's about a plant that kills people.  But somehow, the author makes it work.  The vines that are trying to kill these college students are terrifying, for some reason I still haven't figured out.  When I fell asleep last night I was afraid one of them would crawl out from under my bed and smother me in my sleep.  It's a bleak story, and it will stay with you.  I read it with the lights on and my feet were not touching the floor.  That's one thing I always do when I watch scary movies or read scary books.  I lift up my feet so they aren't touching the ground; you never know what monsters could be hiding under your bed, waiting for you to be scared already so their jobs are half over.

The best thing about this book is the fact that you can see the ending a mile away, but you want to see how the characters get there, you want to see how that ending is possible.  And some of it just made me sad.  There isn't a whole lot of room for character development in a story like this, but even so, you get to know and love/hate the characters.  When Amy died, I was shocked (yes, I ruined it.  Go cry to your mom.) and appalled.  I really thought she would survive.  And the brutal way she dies is awful, it reminded me of the semi-rant I went on during a past review where I complained that good horror has an out, by which I mean there has to be hope, it can't just be death-death-death.  But here, that works.  I couldn't see it any other way.  If it weren't like that, there would be no horror in it.  It makes me think about what I would do in that situation, which character I would be most like.  I've decided on either Amy or Stacy, not just because they are females, but because of the circumstances that kill them off (oops, spoiler alert).  I must admit that I don't think I would have used the same method of death as Stacy chose (I would have had the Mayans shoot me, with the gun though, not the arrows), but I definitely would have taken the same conclusion.  I wouldn't have been as strong as Jeff, as stupid as Eric, or as calm as Mathias.  And I sure as hell wouldn't have been as ridiculous as Pablo.  Why the hell would you volunteer to go down into an abandoned mineshaft with a thin rope holding you from your death?  Shame on you, Pablo.

The other thing that really bothers me, and I realize it's fiction, these people were not real, but it bothers me that they were so young.  They were all going to grad school or med school or whatever future they had planned out.  And they didn't get to realize it. That just makes me sad, because of course that happens all the time.  Not the evil vine thing, but the young death thing.  They'll never again feel love or happiness or anything really.  I would have used those tequila bottles to burn down the whole forest.  But that's just me.  If I have to die at the hands of a stupid vine, you bet your ass I'm not going down without a fight.