Trapped in the Mexican jungle, a group of friends stumble upon a creeping horror unlike anything they could ever imagine.
Two young couples are on a lazy Mexican vacation–sun-drenched days, drunken nights, making friends with fellow tourists. When the brother of one of those friends disappears, they decide to venture into the jungle to look for him. What started out as a fun day-trip slowly spirals into a nightmare when they find an ancient ruins site . . . and the terrifying presence that lurks there.
I don’t read many horror novels, but this one was a must read because I do enjoy the movie adaptation. But like all movie adaptations, the book brings something else to the table. If you haven’t seen The Ruins (2008) starring Jonathan Tucker, Jena Malone, Laura Ramsey, and Shawn Ashmore, it’s one of those pop-y horror movies with a bunch of stereotypes.
The premise of this horror, however, is very interesting. I won’t give it away, but it is quite different and not what you’d expect from the description of the book. For this reason, I really enjoyed the book.
But the enjoyment stops there. I really did not like the characterization in this book. They were all pretty flat and Smith’s portrayal of women was highly disappointing. He tries to fix this, I think, half-way through the book when one character describes the movie that will be made from this tragedy and names each person as “the boy scout” and “the funny guy” or “the slut.” But it ends there. Smith points out the superficiality of his characters and does nothing to make them better.
The story also progresses really slowly with unnecessary descriptions and information only to end abruptly. I’m not sure I’ve ever said this about a movie adaptation, but I prefer the movie’s ending to the book’s.
Overall, I’d say that the only thing carrying this book is the fact that it is truly horrifying. If you’re a fan of the horror and gore, then this book is for you.