RIP Challenge Book One: The Ruins

Don’t read this book if you’re planning a trip to Mexico. Or anywhere near the equator, for that matter.

I bought my hardcover copy last year for the first RIP Challenge. Now that it’s out in paperback everywhere you look, even Costco and K Mart, I decided to read my $27.00 edition.

It is, in fact, creepy. Imbibing peril? You bet!

Two young couples take a vacation in Mexico, where they are drinking, eating, laughing and meeting strangers. One such person is a German man, Matthias, who is looking for his brother, Heinrich. It seems that Heinrich followed a girl he’d met to an archaeological site in the Mayan jungle in order to search for treasure.

What else is there to do but follow him? (In my opinion, there are several other choices available, but that wouldn’t make a good story.)

So, off these idiots go, deep into an unknown jungle, surrounded by people who speak an unknown language, to search for an unknown treasure in an unknown site. It reeks of trouble, which is exactly what they find. In one endless drama.

Oddly enough, I was compelled to read one horrific happening after another. From running out of food, to running out of water, to searching for what they think is a cell phone chirping in the bottom of a well into which one person falls and literally breaks his back, we are faced with the terrible ferocity of nature. In particular, there is an insidious vine, with red flowers, which looks quite beautiful. And as we all know, appearances are deceiving.

Did I love it? No. Was it like watching a slow motion horror film? Yes, but I couldn’t quite tear myself away until I’d discovered what happened to each of our characters.

35 thoughts on “RIP Challenge Book One: The Ruins

  1. Definitely!!! 😉 Glad you are already off and running. I enjoy a good read where I feel compelled to just keep reading, wondering what is going to happen next. You are right, these stories aren't always the greatest, but the entertainment value can be worth taking the time to read them.


  2. Insert Twilight Zone music…One of my coworkers just mentioned this book yesterday and said I HAD to read it! Now you've blogged about it. I snagged a copy at the library. I may have to throw it into the R.I.P. II mix. Perfect plane reading fodder, right? Thanks for the rec!


  3. Chris, I've been so busy teaching (melting in our room with no air?) that I've been terribly remiss on catching up with my friends' blogs. I'll have to come over and see your list; I'm sure I'll want to copy it!Nymeth, 'entertaining' is the perfect word! It was more like a movie than a novel, with very fast action and vivid description/action.Carl, "Danielle Steele writes horror"? Sometimes, a novel seems a bit trite, and yet one can't tear oneself away.Darla, how often do you go on those jungle hikes? :)Trish, scary books give me nightmares too! In fact, I've let King's "The Stand" stand where it is: half finished.Stephanie, I thought you'd love this. You're much braver than I.Heather, can I count you in with STephanie as one who truly appreciates this genre? (Could you find a jungle recipe somewhere to munch on as one completes the novel? :)Mar, my maternal grandfather (who was Dutch) had the name Matthias. He's the only one I've known. If I'm not mistaken, it's for the American equivalent of Matthew? You'd probably know better than I.Les, isn't that funny it was just recommended to you? You will be breathless if you read it, but there's not much terribly philosophical to hang on to. In terms of a deeper meaning after completing the novel. Which is something I'm always looking for. In this book, it's pretty much what you see is what you get: creepy vine equals woe. I want to see your list, too.


  4. I read his first book and it creeped me out so thoroughly that I had to keep setting it down. I'd walk away for a while and then read a chapter. Set it down, walk away. I don't think I can handle "slow motion horror", so I'll pass on this one!


  5. Suziqoregon, I hope you like it. His "A Simple Plan" was even better.Les, I did miss it. But then I went back and got caught up.Bookfool, isn't it funny how horror books can really affect us? So we're like sleeping with the lights on? (If you're like me.)Carrie K, it was fun. Sort of like one of those Armchair Traveler things, only I was relieved to be sitting in my chair at home. And kept checking around for vines and Mayans with bows and arrows.Darla, you crack me up. At first I thought you said you were going to Amazon (as in dot com) and I couldn't figure out why you were going for a walk instead. Now I get it, on a second reading. Thanks for making me smile.


  6. ok. if you didn't love it, would you read it again if you know how it goes, now that you have finished it?I finally read The Kite Runner… after wanting to forever, it seems. Too many school books to wade through.You flipped someone off? I'm laughing.


  7. Motherpie, I'm so glad you didn't disappear. I thought I'd read something in your blog about discontinuing, which would have made me very sad.Would I read it again? Nah, now that I know what happens to each of the four individuals in the two couples. It's sort of like watching Titanic, you pretty much know how it's going to end you just stay with it to see if anyone is saved.The Kite Runner is a novel I'll never forget. Gripping in the most tragic way. I just bought A Thousand Splendid Suns which I wonder if it can hold up to Kite Runner.I'm half laughing, too. It was a knee jerk reaction, which usually I can control a little bit better.


  8. Quixotic, I've got to come over and see if you've posted your To Be Reads for the RIP II. I'm crazy about your reviews. I've finally narrowed my choices to the following:Tales of Moonlight and Rain (credit to Tanabata coming later),The House of Seven Gables, The Rest Falls Away, and Twilight.


  9. Framed, I read Dracula last year and got really creeped out! The part that was so awful, besides evil in the first place, is that he was so elusive. First a wolf, then a bat, then fog, then flowers, then a vampire…always changing and escaping. You might like The Historian, though, after Dracula because it's a gentler piggy back on the story, with the nice addition of a daughter and her father searching for, are you really going to Puerto Vallarta? If so, tell me about your trip, but don't read this book. If you're squeamish when the lights are out. In unknown places.


  10. Bookfool, I try to stay away from scary stuff day OR night. There's enough darkness in the world without going out looking for it. However, in autumn all that spooky stuff adds to the mood for October. Then I can handle it better than other times.Heather, leave it to you to find a cookbook for this RIP book. Dining with Headhunters, huh? I wonder if they cut up any of the vine to go in their stew. I'm going to your book right now.


  11. Susan, I'm glad I don't stand alone. The story is so far fetched you wonder how the editor and agent passed it along; yet at the same time, you're mesmerized in a way. "What will happen?" I kept asking myself. I just had to finish it to find out.Thanks for stopping by.


  12. J. Kaye Oldner, I liked A Simple Plan better myself. I wonder what it was that makes you prefer The Ruins. Didn't you find it a bit far-fetched? Of course, in many books, one must suspend belief to truly enjoy them.I like the picture of your "icon". My son and I always laugh at these pictures at Hallmark. He liked the card which read, "If life gives you lemons…stick 'em in your bra. That's what I do" when he was in elementary school. I forget the woman's name just now, but she is hilarious. Thanks for visiting.


  13. Melanie, perhaps it was too powerful? That's the only reasoning I could think of. But now you have me wondering if there could be something else. Maybe we should shoot Scott a letter and ask him.


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