‘The Ruins’: hyped for a damn good reason

May 28, 2022

TITLE: The Ruins
AUTHOR: Scott Smith
GENRE: Horror
PAGES: 509pg

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.

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I knew this book had a lot of fans, but I didn’t know what to expect and, for some inexplicable reason, didn’t expect to love it this much. I was completely blown away by how fantastic and terrifying this book was, though. I cringed, I wanted to cry, I felt legitimate dread for these characters, and all the while, I was fully sucked in. I’ve been having a hard time getting totally pulled into stories lately, but I read this 500+ page book in 3 days, and it would have been less than that if I’d had more free time over that timespan.

Though shit hits the fan around the 20% mark, the build-up for The Ruins is a little bit slow, but it’s worth every moment, because it introduces you to the cast of characters in such a way that they feel so real. They’re very flawed, ultimately complex characters with a layer of authenticity that I don’t see mirrored often by other horror authors; I felt like I could have known any one of these tourists, or could have even been one of them, and so I couldn’t help but root for them right to the very end.

Above all else, there’s a sense of bleakness and misery permeating this entire story that is inescapable, and it’s all I could think about even when I wasn’t reading, making it an incredibly unputdownable book that I feel will stick with me for a long time to come. The Ruins feels like a masterpiece of the genre and I am so glad that I finally experienced it for myself.

content warnings →

gore, body horror, starvation, dehydration, self-harm, eco-horror, violence, murder, grief, slut-shaming, alcohol abuse

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  • Reply Tammy May 28, 2022 at 10:06 am

    Such a fantastic book!! I’m glad you loved it. His book A Simple Plan is pretty awesome too.

    • Reply Destiny @ Howling Libraries May 29, 2022 at 11:18 pm

      I haven’t heard much about that one, but I’m very interested in checking it out now!

  • Reply Sarah June 15, 2022 at 9:57 am

    I don’t think I would have put this on my TBR if not for you! I don’t know if I realized there was a book, I’ve heard the movie is pretty wild, too. Looking forward to picking this up eventually 🙂

    • Reply Destiny @ Howling Libraries June 15, 2022 at 11:12 pm

      I hope you enjoy it! The movie was alright, definitely one of those classic “the book was better” scenarios but it was worth seeing!

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