Wednesday, December 18, 2013

Book Review: The Troop by Nick Cutter

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(I received this book to review from NetGalley)

Description from Good Reads
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 Review

About 20% of the way into reading this book, I tweeted the following out:
I did end up finishing this book. It was itchy, and uncomfortable, but I finished it. 

The Troop is about a group of boy scouts and their troop leader, over the course of a weekend, where they went for survival training. And, funny enough, that is exactly what they get when Tim, the scout master, finds a man extremely ill, malnourished, and dying. Scoutmaster Tim is also a doctor, and knows immediately there is something wrong with this stranger. He is gaunt, his skin is practically melting off of him, and he's sick. Very, very sick. He's also eating everything in sight. Including a couch cushion. 

We quickly discover what the disease is- worms. But these aren't just your normal, every day worms. No, these are scientifically engineered worms. That were made by a doctor in a lab. 

The perspective of the book stays in third person, but goes back and forth between the scouts on the island, and reports of what happened in the lab where the worms were created, and various news reports and interviews about what happened on the island.

This book is extremely descriptive, which is great. However, it makes for an extremely uncomfortable read. Ever wondered what it would be like to be infested with worms that want nothing more than to possess you? You're going to find out. Want to get inside the head of a psychopathic little kid? You're going to get that, too. Want to know what it's like to be so sick you are outside of yourself in a way that practically forbids your body from acknowledging it?
I think you see where I'm going with this!

Speaking of psychopathic children- if violence towards children bothers you, even if it's self-inflicted or from other children, you are not going to like this book. If you hate violence in general, stear clear. Not everyone that starts on the island makes it off, so try not to get too attached.
This books also has several instances of violence towards animals (both self-inflicted and otherwise), and that was harder for me to read in some ways than the violence towards the scouts.

I gave this book four stars on Good Reads, but really I'm about at a four and a half. I really, really enjoyed this book, even though it made me uncomfortable. However, I will have a hard time recommending it to just anyone (it would have to be someone that I know is a fan of the genre, and not someone that justs reads Romance, for example), and I don't see myself wanting to read it again.
I'll just keep it tucked away in my brain, where it will probably fester and create nightmares. Of which I had two while reading this book.

This book will be available for purchase on February 25th, 2014. You can preorder it for Kindle here, or hardcover here.

FTC: This book was provided to me by NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. All thoughts and opinions are my own.
Amazon affiliate links are used in this post. Please see my disclosure policy for more information.

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