I finished Scott Smith's The Ruins last night.  I rented the movie, so I will be watching that tonight, but at least I did it in the right order this time!

         Maybe it was just me, but I felt some misogynist undertones.  There were 2 main female characters.  Any other time females were referenced, you got the feeling that they were luring men to their deaths.  The two female characters that were "developed" throughout the plot were very flaky, stereotypical, and shallow.  One girl kept being described as "spacey" and she cried when she couldn't remember something because she admitted she didn't usually pay attention.  The other girl was smarter, but not as physically attractive and was the first to die, despite another character having had his legs hacked off, his back broken, and having already been "attacked."  Again, maybe it was just me, but I felt there were some serious, "Girls aren't as good as guys, and these chicks are downright moronic and immature," undertones…  I'll grant you that the last surviving character was a female, but she also killed herself 3 days before she would have been rescued because she admitted she had no idea what to do to stay alive, despite having watched the other guys take care of things for oh, 3 days.  Whatever.

          While definitely a page turner, I also didn't like the way time passed.  If the story line was focusing on one character at the bottom of the hill, they came back and told you what happened with the other characters at the top of the hill.  That's usually all well and good, but I'm not dumb.  You don't need to tell me, "While Jack was getting his ass handed to him at the bottom of the hill, Jill was at the top screaming bloody murder at the mere thought of having to pee in a bottle."  I don't need you to match up the two events unless that's significant.  None of the times this was done did it really matter.  So long as I know it's the same time frame (the same day, whatever), it's all good.  That was a bit annoying for me.  I felt like I was reading the same thing over again, you know? 

       *Spoiler Alert*  If you plan to read the book or see the movie, stop here.


         I want to know what the vines were and what the Mayans' involvement was.  Were the vines some weird parasite that the Mayans struck a compromise with?  Did the Mayans trap people on the hill to avoid carrying spores to other areas?  Did the Mayans have nothing to do with it besides wanting to not be destroyed by the plant?  Did the Mayans send people out to feed to the vines?  Were the women that "lured" people there part of the plan, or did they always die, too?  How did people continue to find out about the vines if everyone that went there died?  I hate having all those questions when I finish a book.  You don't have to spell out every little thing, but if you have a thing that kills people, why not explain it?  You've got a "plant" that can talk, emit odors, set traps, and its sap is highly acidic, but you never even tell me if it's really a plant.  I didn't think it was.  I think it's an animal.  How else could "vines" grow inside someone?  That sounds more like a parasite in a host, not a plant.  Plants need roots.  While I realize rationalizing a plant that talks seems silly, I'm just sayin'…  How could it extend tendrils to the middle of a salt-sown field, but not grow there?  If the salt the Mayans supposedly sowed into the soil was what kept it from spreading, how did eating dehydrated people keep it alive?  Wouldn't their salt contents be highly elevated?  *sigh*

     I thought too much about this book…  I enjoyed it until I started thinking about it.  Does that make sense?  *snicker*  I hope the movie is at least decent…   Now I am off to start Yesterday I Cried by Iyanla Vanzant.  After that, either The Birth House or The Hobbit.  Woot woot! 

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