Saturday, 11 January 2014

Mishel Reviews: The Troop - Nick Cutter

Mishel Reviews

Series or Stand Alone: Stand Alone
Release Date:  January 2014 (ebook)
Publisher: Gallery Books
Pages:  368
Book Site:   
My Rating: 3/5 
Source: NetGalley
Cover: I like it. I think it fits the story well and portrays the isolation of the island while looking ominous.

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.

Review:
I’m just now starting to delve into NetGalley, after having signed up over two years ago without actually using it. I had The Troop on my TBR list and was pretty excited that my request was accepted. The rough copy of the book took some getting used to. But I understand that it’s an ARC copy so I eventually got over the weird formatting and lack of editing.  I briefly skimmed over other reviews and came away with a wide range of likes and dislikes people had while reading. I don’t like to do too much research on a book before reading because I like to go in with a “clean slate”. Anyhow, I had some prior knowledge on what to expect – gory details, animal abuse, something shocking/disturbing. What I got out of The Troop are exactly these things and more! However, I felt the execution and character depth were both lacking and I honestly had a tough time staying interested at times.

While the sense of honor and duty within the Boy Scouts can be found in some passages, I never really got a sense that this rag-tag group of kids and their Scoutmaster were ever truly connected. They had years of history together but I was quite shocked by how quickly things fell apart for all of them. The friendship and family-like bond was pretty much non-existent. I also had a hard time connecting to any of the cookie-cutter characters. Each boy had personalities that were very distinct and different but none of them truly stood out. Their personalities were a little too cliché and I found it hard to care much about them, or what happened to them.

But was I scared? Hell yeah! But I was more scared of the reality of the plot. Icky germs, parasitic worms and viruses, things that do nothing but eat, breed, and destroy, diseases that spread regardless of safety precautions all tend to freak me out. It’s always the unseen enemy that can do the worst and isn’t it always the unknown that scares us the most? The fact that the evil in this book isn’t a psychopathic serial killer, mutant monster, flesh-eating zombie, or creepy alien scares the crap out of me. Did the author actually scare me through his writing? Eh, not really. While I appreciated his overly very dramatic metaphors and detailed scenes I was never really engaged enough to be truly scared by the actual delivery. 

Nick Cutter is a pseudonym and I couldn’t figure out who he was until I read a review on Goodreads that stated he put his real name on the copyright page. Very cute. So now that I know about “Mr. Cutter’s” other work I’d very much like to try it out. Some readers won’t like the detail of some of the scenes or the animal abuse/experimentation in The Troop. And while I didn’t get a true sense of horror I still thought it was a good story. Would I read it again? Probably not, but I’m not sorry that I did read it. Although I did lose interest a time or two during my reading I still enjoyed the book overall. The way the story was told through the narrative and through an outside perspective was actually pretty cool. To make the bigger picture make more sense clues were dispersed in front of some chapters. These could be found in the form of interviews, news bulletins, diary entries, court evidence and documents, etc. These elements helped make sense of what the boys were going through on the isolated island. So I definitely say give this one a go, maybe by borrowing, to see if you’d like to give it a permanent home on your bookshelf.


16 comments:

  1. It's probably a long shot but this sounds very "lord of the flies"... possibly coz it's a group of boys stuck somewhere together. Should I read this, I feel like I'd share your fears. I think a disease or infection would get to me first before anything else.

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    1. It was definitely compared to Lord of the Flies Braine so you're not far off at all. It's the thrill of the fear that makes it exciting so I hop you'll check it out.

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  2. Replies
    1. lol not you're cup o'tea Carole?

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  3. I've singed up for netgalley and haven't used it. I didn't realize there are formatting issues when you do. This book probably isn't for me.

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    1. Mary says below that there is only formatting issues sometimes. This was my first but not my last so hopefully my luck will be better next time.

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  4. I think I'll see if I find it but don't think I will buy it. thanks for your review, I didn't know this one.

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    1. You probably would enjoy it Melliane =) Nothing wrong with borrowing!

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  5. Ohhh, I'm a total germophobe, so I probably couldn't get past the icky germs part. Sorry, book, you're clearly not for me.
    Great review, though.

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    1. Lol you may not like the content then Maja =)

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  6. I really enjoyed this, and thought the troop was pretty representative of a typical boy scout troop..and yep I was scared and freaked out

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    1. I guess I didn't feel the connected-ness like you did Kimba. But yes I was totally freaked out by the actual plot - and creepy Shelley!!

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  7. LOL I so couldn't do this. Germs and things like that totally wig me out if I think about it too much. lol

    And now you've got me curious who he really is!

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    1. Lol then the book would definitely get you thinking Anna. You could probably stomach the read though =)

      And I don't know the author by either name but it's nice to know he has some other work.

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  8. There aren't formatting issues for all books but it's distracting when there are. I really like NetGalley!
    Interesting about the author's name.

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    1. Great, thanks for letting me know that Mary. I would have been very bummed out if every read was going to be like that.

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