That's what makes it fun. Starting with The Blob, Alien, the Borg, Death Star and on and on the bad guy at first is killing us humans with ease but sooner or later we find a way, a weakness, a crack in the armor in which we can use our superior cleverness to beat the killing machine. Not so in this book. Not only don't our college kids find a weakness they don't even look for one. I thought it might be the flowers. What were they for? Flowers are all about reproduction and attracting critters to pollinate them. There were no other critters, no pollination. Acidiic plants can have sweet tasting flowers and vice versa. There are many opportunities to engage the reader with the search for the escape mechanism. Even if they all died it would have been okay, but they needed to have found something that would have given some faith in ourselves as survivors.
It is not just that. There are too many things that could have been done. They, first and foremost should have started throwing the vines towards the Mayans to see what their reaction would be. Secondly, they should have explored the openning in the cave. Thirdly, they could have brought the salt around the hill and created a safe area. They also, should have tried to run together in a group when the guy with the gun was not there. The problem with arrows is that it can only be fired one at a time. One of them might have survived (and I am talking towards the end when there was no other hope). And lastly the biggest thing is that if the vines were so afraid of salt, why were they collecting the piss rather than (excuse me for saying it) pouring it on themselves or trying to kill the vine with it. Also, even though I am not a scientist, I know that our bodies contain salt (and lots of it). So how come when the vine was devouring the bodies, nothing happened to it. I am sorry to say but unlike what others are saying I never got an idea that those kids were stupid. One was becoming a teacher and from what I remember 2 were gonna be doctors. Too many holes, even though I liked the book.
I have to agree with some of the posters here, IT would have been nice to have a origin or background information on these "killer vines" so we can understand what the people are fighting against. But the author decided to leave this out so we are left wondering about the vines and IF they have any weaknesses.
Instead the book sort of made all the people start fighting among themselves and stick with the one plan on "We wait until the Greeks arrive and get help then!"
I think the choices of the characters are extremely realistic. You wouldn't really be thinking logically in that situation. Plus, to the person who talked about salt a lot, salt doesn't necessarily kill plants, but salting soil does prevent (most) plants from growing in it. So pouring salt on the vines wouldn't really help.
And I disagree about the vines needing a weakness. I think the most horrifying thing about the book is that you know the whole time that they're totally ****ed. Scott Smith came up with a pretty genius situation here - an impossible to survive situation. It's pretty hard to do that and still be original.
James, The book is a extended take off of Stephen King's story "The Lake" the only differences is the ruins take place on land while the other on a lake. Both dont give a origin of the 'monster' and the ruins added the self appointed guards.
As for the "imposible to survive situation" the colleage kids spent most of their time wondering when the Greeks were going to arrive and hoping for the Greeks to rescue them from the self appointed guards and the vines.
I just wish Scott Smith wrote this like he did "the simple plan" and quit trying to imitate King in the way he goes into great detail over boring things that slows down the story. I still would have like a origin story about the vines and how they came about but I guess I'll wait for Scott Smith to write a sequel to "the ruins" to answer all the readers' questions about the vines!
I agree. I would REALLY like to know more about the Vines. What they are, if they have a weakness. However...
Think about it. How UNREALISTIC would that be? They were in a tragic emergency situation. Little food, no water. People dying and sick around them. You REALLY think they could logically think about a weakness? About defeating a maneating vine? We can, because we are safe. Full. Hydrated. Logical. But think about it... if you were in that situation. Hell, if you were in ANY situation with someone who just broke his back. Or hell, with people surrounding you with weapons. what would YOU do?
I love the book because its so realistic. If we knew about the Vines. If 'we' knew the weakness. If they someone 'beat the extreme odds' and defeated the Vines, which have been there for lord knows howlong... it wouldn't have been real. This was real. As sad as it was. As much as it left us wanting more. It would be impossible. And that is what makes this book so great. You only learn and know what our characters do. Nothing more.
Deborah B, I would LOVE to know the origin of the vines! in the book, it was hinted that a) they came from outer space via a meteor or b) nazi scientists created them. I forget IF a is correct or mentioned since its been awhile since I read the book but the only "weakness" the vines had was the salted ground surrounding the pyramid that the natives 'salted' for a area of what a hundred yard? but that information was probably only for the readers and IF the characters took some time to think about it they MIGHT have figured it out too. But my main complaint was that no origin was given on the vines. Most horror movies and novels give a origin on why the killer became the way he is or why the mutant rats, cockroachs, zombies (with the exception of the walking dead series) came to being.