Wednesday, 23 October 2013
Review: The Troop by Nick Cutter
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 Plan, The 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.
I received this ARC via a Goodreads giveaway in exchange for an honest review.
I must admit I was nervous when I received this book. The front cover has a sticker on it with a comment from Stephen King saying "Not for the faint-hearted, but for the rest of us sick puppies". Let me tell you, I am one of the faint hearted ones. I am that person who has her hands over her eyes in a movie even when you know it is just going to be a cat jumping through the window. I started regretting my decision to enter the contest to receive this book.
For those out there that are like me let me start by reassuring you that the book is not as bad as the sticker indicated and I am glad that I stuck with it.
The story starts out a little slow and a little too descriptive however by the time the story focused on the event that occurred on the island it improved. The storyline is centered around a contagious unknown "virus" that is exposed to a troop of boy scouts who are camping on an isolated island. Think of the movie outbreak or something similar. The fact of the contagion is not in and of itself scary however the fact that with the exception of one character, these are all boys of fourteen. This is where the story is disturbing. All of the actions and events are impacting children.
I compare this story to a train wreck. Although not the usual genre I would choose, in fact the genre that I will normally avoid, I could not tear myself away. I was drawn in by the events of the story and by the compelling personalities of each of the boys. There were parts that were a little gory and the descriptive aspects of the "worm" were hard to visualize however these were easily overlooked. I could also go in to great detail about the personality traits of each of the boys and how some were simply horrifying however I wont.
The bottom line is that I am happy I committed myself to this read as I really did enjoy it. Although I most likely will not seek out another of this genre anytime soon I am glad I kept an open mind and gave it a try.
About the Author
Nick Cutter is a pseudonym for an acclaimed author of novels and short stories. He lives in Toronto, Canada.