I don't think I've read a good thriller book since Gary Paulson's Hatchet – but that one was more of a wilderness survival story. Completely different story than Ruthless, a thriller about a girl getting chased by a killer who is determined to "purify" girls like Ruth.
Ruthless seems to be written in a "get to know you" format, alternating between the present (Ruth) and the past (no particular pattern – it's either Mr. Killer or Little Ruth), for the most part of the book. I won't complain about Adams letting us readers know the characters among the whole "Ahh! Serial killer on my tail!" spiel. (I may have been a bit dramatic on that phrasing.)
While Ruth is getting her bearings in the first couple of chapters, we find out Ruth had no clue what's going on at that moment and from an early age, Ruth has had a competitive nature. We also find out a little about Mr. Killer and how he actually got started in this whole "purification" ritual known as serial killing.
The book is also quite heavy on stereotypes and prejudices and popularity contests.
As before mentioned, Ruth is obviously extremely competitive and just has to win the top prize at any horse shows she goes to. Gods forbid someone else wins, but Ruth is determined from early on, and I can't really help but say that her determination and competitive nature is what gets her out of the whole mess of being the next villain of dear killer. Simply put, the whole competitive nature? It works here quite nicely. I don't think I have the guts that Ruth does, even if I have a brain cell or two operating if I were in her shoes. (Then again, brain cells might not be operating at that time. I'll stick with looking like a kid. It screams "jail bait" well enough.)
I will not be a victim. I will not think like a victim. I am going to avenge all those little girls. I am going to win.Ruth also seems to have this "holier than thou" attitude: she has a quick and snappy temper, she's mean to other girls on the family farm, she believes that her family is the best and nothing less will be accepted. It doesn't matter if you're a compassionate person with great values or extremely intelligent – to be a "Carver" you must talk a certain way, act a certain way, and it can't be anything different or you might as well be a peanut. (Read: nutty. The historian in Sophia would like to point about Hitler's whole Third Reich business and it's ultimate doom, but that would be an absolute exaggeration.)
Why does he have to talk like a redneck? He's smarter than that, should be better than that. It just shows why Caleb could never be a part of the Carver clan. The Carvers are about being the best.The killer seems to have a strong belief that men are better than women – men should be in charge, women must be controlled, the like. As the daughter of a mom who pretty much handled everything while supposedly-in-charge papa sits on a couch twiddling his thumbs and watching television nonstop, you can probably see why I'm probably scoffing and going:
Point made aside. Ruthless might be a book of prejudices and popularity contests and everything that isn't this particular reader's cup of tea, but take out the nitty gritty parts and it's really just a coming of age story where the main character pretty much realizes that she was a really crappy person. After the whole ordeal and traumatic events, Ruth might as well be the next Regan Flay.