5 February 2014

Review: The Troop

So I'm re-posting this review because the publication date is so tantalizingly close. You need to pick this up! Like right now! Or as soon as possible!  

Reviewer: Kristen
Author: Nick Cutter
Pages: 368
Format: Paperback (ARC- sent by Simon and Schuster Canada)
My Rating: 9 out of 10 stars

Summary (thanks GR): Lord of the Flies meets The Ruins in this frightening novel written in the bestselling traditions of Stephen King and Scott Smith. 

Boy Scouts live by the motto “Be Prepared.” However, nothing can prepare this group of young boys and their scoutmaster for what they encounter on a small, deserted island, as they settle down for a weekend of campfires, merit badges, and survival lessons.

Everything changes when a haggard stranger in tattered clothing appears out of nowhere and collapses on the campers’ doorstep. Before the night is through, this stranger will end up infecting one of the troop’s own with a bioengineered horror that’s straight out of their worst nightmares. Now stranded on the island with no communication to the outside world, the troop learns to battle much more than the elements, as they are pitted against something nature never intended…and eventually each other.

“Lean and crisp and over-the-top....Disquieting, disturbing,” says Scott Smith, author of The Ruins and A Simple PlanThe Troop is a visceral burn of a read that combines boldly drawn characters with a fantastically rendered narrative—a terrifying story you’ll never forget.

My Thoughts: So, Stephen King read this book (and loved it, and seriously, it's basically impossible not to) and said ""THE TROOP scared the hell out of me, and I couldn't put it down. This is old-school horror at its best. Not for the faint-hearted, but for the rest of us sick puppies, it's a perfect gift for a winter night.". I couldn't sum this novel up better myself. This book scared the bejesus out of me. The reason for that is probably because it just seems so real. The entire time, I had this super annoying and creepy mantra playing in my head that went something like: "This could happen, this could totally happen." All the characters were incredibly, for lack of a better word, real. The children were total shit heads, which made it seem like it was an actual scout group out camping in the wilderness. I really didn't know what to expect with this novel, especially in regards to "The Hungry Man". I knew it was going to be a horror, but I didn't know what kind of horror to expect. And let me just tell you how I did not, at all, expect this. I didn't know if I should be scared of "The Hungry Man" or the fact that there was something so blatantly wrong with him (cough cough tape worms). I didn't know if I should trust Tim (the scoutmaster). I didn't know what kid to trust, I didn't know what adult to trust (which turns out, neither do the children). But I think the scariest thing about this story was that more often then not, just because you don't trust someone, doesn't mean they become the boogy monster inside your closet. Not the case at all with this book. They all scared me. The bioengineered "this could only happen in ghost stories" illness, the messed up children, and the lack of response from the adults that were supposed to be their saviours. The only bone I really have to pick with this novel is the fact that little bitty animals were hurt. It wasn't gratuitous, but it was enough to make me frown. On the same hand, I understand why they're necessary to the story. My favourite part of this story is probably what separated each chapter. In between each chapter, the readers got little glimpses of what happened after the manufactured horror of the events that took place in P.E.I. The reader got to see glimpses of court readings, and reports from the scientist who "created" the monster worm, diaries from the kids who made it out of there but needed some intense therapy sessions. For any other novel, I think this could be a risky road to take, as it could easily give away too much information. However, the author weaved this together perfectly, and gave away the perfect amount of information to keep me reading till it got dark enough for the boogey man to get me. 

There were many a times when I had to just put this book down and walk away. I couldn't read it before bed, and I couldn't read it while I was eating. (Shoutout to Simon and Schuster for actually warning me of that fact, at first I thought you were kidding.... lesson learned!) This book is not at all for the faint of heart. It's graphic in all the right places. It explains everything without killing me in details. And it is so horrifyingly scary that it will keep you up nights after you have finished thinking of all kinds of "what if's". The writing was perfect and the story gave me my fair share of goose bumps. Probably more than my fair share! 

Final Thoughts: This novel is perfectly executed, and it's a story I haven't - and won't - be able to get out of my head for a long, long time. 

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