The Ruins

I haven’t read any sci-fi/fantasy/horror yet this year so it’s about time I do so. I saw that my sister read this book and she is a reader par excellence. I asked her about it and even though she didn’t say it was a must-read, she didn’t appear to hate it.

I would like to take this chance to give some props to Shelfari because I wouldn’t have known that she read it if I had not gone through her Shelfari bookshelf. Shelfari is a cool tool.

I’m not sure I have a good definition of the horror genre. For me, horror books have two ingredients; a supernatural evil and gore. This book has both, in abundance. It’s not necessarily in my wheelhouse, but I needed a change of pace.

It was fun, engrossing, tense; but it left me kind of empty. There isn’t much to reflect on as I sit here after the fact. I could sort through the character flaws of the people that got killed and try and figure out what Smith is trying to say about our times. But I won’t. I could think about the evil that pervaded the book and try and draw parallels to evil in the world today. But I won’t. I’m moving on with very little reflection actually.


The evil in this book is a plant – a vine with a thirst for humans and their excretions. So a bunch of young vacationers venture into the Mexican outback in search of a friend, and they end up getting surrounded by this vine. They can actually touch and walk through this vine because it seems the vine really can’t kill them until they get an open wound or let the vine into their body through some orifice. So as long as they are alert, they can survive the vine. However, there’s another problem beyond the vine that surrounds them. Outside of the vine’s perimeter is a tribe of Mayans who will kill them if they try to escape.

Without food and water, their days are numbered. It goes from bleak, to really bleak, to bleaker than you can imagine, to everyone is dead.