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Saturday, November 04, 2006

The Ruins: DiVINEly Creepy

On Halloween night, my husband took the kids trick-or-treating while I handed out candy at home. Since I didn't want to just sit there, I picked up the library book I had started recently - Scott Smith's The Ruins. Talk about a mistake - I jumped every time the doorbell rang. The book is that engrossing, that creepy. It's a good read; in fact, if it wasn't for the annoying ending, I would call it a great read.

The story begins with 4 friends vacationing in Cancun. After a few days soaking up the rays on the beach, they decide to join a German friend, Mathias, on a day trip to visit some ruins. Mathias' brother had followed his girlfriend archaeologist to the site, encouraging Mathias to join them by following a crude map he had drawn. So, the 5 of them, plus a Greek they just met, head off for a remote Mayan village. Strange happenings occur right off the bat - the group's taxi driver warns them the place is "no good," the locals try to run them off, and the archaeologists are nowhere in sight. Soon, the group finds itself stranded on a hillside, surrounded by armed Mayans. The hillside is eerily silent, devoid of animal, insect or human life - the only thing that's living is the vine that grows thickly all over the hill. As it becomes increasingly clear that they won't be leaving the hillside anytime soon, the group has to figure out how to survive on little food and water, and how to avoid turning on each other. As if they didn't have enough problems, the mysterious vines seem to have a life of their own...

The story is, in a word, creepy. The first half, especially, is taut, and breathtakingly suspenseful. You won't be able to turn the pages fast enough. The only thing I really didn't like about the book was the ending - the characters became wimpy and annoying, and the mystery of the vine was never solved. Should you read it? Definitely. It's an incredibly suspenseful book - just watch out for the vegetation!

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