Saturday, August 19, 2006

Review: The Ruins by Scott Smith

I hated this book. It consumed my entire week and was the only thing I read besides the latest fashion magazines. I stayed home to read it. I thought about it before going to bed. I told everyone at work about it. In the end, I felt like throwing it across the living room.
The Ruins opens in Cancun and introduces us to two couples who've just graduated from college and are in Mexico as a last fling before starting jobs and grad school. Eric and Stacy and Jeff and Amy meet several other foreign tourists; three Greek guys and a German named Mathias. Mathias' brother has disappeared into the jungle and left him a crudely drawn map of where he is. Mathias decides to go find his brother and Jeff volunteers himself, Eric, Stacy, and Amy to go with him. As they are all getting ready to leave, one of the Greeks whom they know as Pablo, arrives and wants to tag along. The group rides a bus to a distant town and then takes a cab into the dusty jungle. Trying to follow the map, they walk for several miles before coming upon a Mayan village. No one in the village will acknowledge their presence and so they turn around and start walking back to the road. Shortly after leaving, though, they find a concealed path that they are sure leads them to the archaeological dig where Mathias' brother is supposed to be. They come upon a hill covered with tangled green vines with bright red flowers in the middle of a strange clearing. Standing at the base of the hill they are startled to see several of the Mayans charging toward them with weapons. They are forced to climb the hill and quickly realize that the Mayans have surrounded the hill and trapped them there. The reason for this slowly unfolds over the next two days. I won't say why they are there in case you ever want to read this, but I will say that the sense of drama and foreboding is extremely realistic. The author has perfect timing and knows how to keep the reader hooked on his every word. I couldn't stop reading this and was thoroughly engaged with the story. However, I felt cheated at the end. It is a great story told by an excellent author, but caused great irritation in its conclusion.

Wednesday, August 16, 2006

What I Am Reading

I am reading several different books at the moment. Here is a list:

> The Ruins by Scott Smith
> The Brambles by Eliza Minot
> The Dead Hour by Denise Mina
> A Question of Blood by Ian Rankin
> Front Row, Anna Wintour by Jerry Oppenheimer

I am excited by these books and intend to finish all of them. I currently have 34 holds at the library so it looks like it will be a busy fall reading season for me. One of the books I am most anxious to get is New Moon by Stephenie Meyer. As you know, I loved Twilight and have heard that New Moon is just as good and is a satisfying sequel. I think it comes out next week -- I am seriously considering buying it instead of waiting to get it from the library. I will try to review as many of the above as I can. I think it is good practice for me and helps me to describe them to patrons.