SCI-FI Reviews – SEEDERS and THE RUINS

SEEDERS
A. J. Colucci
Thomas Dunne Books / St. Martin’s Press / July, 2014
Thriller, 336 Pages

From the description: George Brookes is a brilliant but reclusive plant biologist living on a remote Canadian island.  After his mysterious death, the heirs to his estate arrive on the island, including his daughter Isabelle, her teenage children, and Jules Beecher, a friend and pioneer in plant neurobiology. They will be isolated on the frigid island for two weeks, until the next supply boat arrives.

As Jules begins investigating the laboratory and scientific papers left by George, he comes to realize that his mentor may have achieved a monumental scientific breakthrough: communication between plants and humans. Within days, the island begins to have strange and violent effects on the group, especially Jules who becomes obsessed with George’s journal, the strange fungus growing on every plant and tree, and horrible secrets that lay buried in the woods. It doesn’t take long for Isabelle to realize that her father may have unleashed something sinister on the island, a malignant force that’s far more deadly than any human. As a fierce storm hits and the power goes out, she knows they’ll be lucky to make it out alive.

You’ll never look at plants the same way again.

When I was asked if I wanted to read this book, I was all over it. I love stories like this that mix spooky stuff with science. I devoured it in a week, which for me, given all I have going on, meant a lot didn’t get done.

This isn’t a new plot line–some aspects I’ve read in other stories. For example, in The Ruins, I discuss below. There’s a lot of interesting science about plant intelligence that is not all that hard to believe. After all, how many of us talk to our plants? I believe I’ve even read an article or two that plants actually do respond to this and grow better. Maybe that’s what makes stories like Seeders terrifying to read.

For me, I would have liked more scares. I would have liked to see more from Jules’ POV as things happened to and around him. I would have liked less subtlety and more in your face horror but Seeders delivered in making me believe in the possibility of plants with an intelligence that is basic, even childlike, but that only makes all the events and the result that much more horrible.

If you enjoy a slow, steady ride building up to the possibility of a horrifying, realistic, future, you’ll enjoy Seeders.

 

THE RUINS
Scott Smith
Vintage / July, 2006
Horror/Thriller, 432 Pages

Description: 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.

I first watched this story unfold on TV. But after I read Seeders, I remembered the storyline and had to go pick up the book. Sometimes the books give more insights into what’s going on behind the movie. In this case, the story is similar but a lot is different between the book and movie. I won’t go into details here but if you end up doing both, the mix up of characters and their actions is very different. However, the overall picture is the same. For myself, I think the make-up worked better in the book.

Imagine an idyllic vacation turning into a nightmare. That’s what happens to the characters in The Ruins. While I enjoyed Seeders, I found The Ruins more obvious and to me, filled with more scares.

But more than that, both stories had an idea behind them that was more than scary–it made you believe both possibilities were…possible.

The Ruins was less about the science than about the characters and experiencing the horrific thing happening to them. The only negative thing I have to say about it is the ending of both the movie and the book–I didn’t like either one of them. The book for obvious reasons but the movie because, to me, there was no ending but not even an ending one can put their own meaning onto it.

If you want a nice easy read with an interesting premise filled with characters in a no-win situation and being with them as their lives are turned upside down, you’ll enjoy The Ruins.

Reviewed for The Book Breeze by Abby Rose

 

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