Sunday, January 5, 2014

The Troop (review)

2.5/5 stars

Don't ask me why I powered through The Troop (Goodreads | Amazon).  There is some stubbornness to blame. Two of my friends had already marked it "Did Not Finish," not because it was a bad book but because they just couldn't do it.  I was determined to be the one to push through.

The Troop is by far the grossest book I've ever read.  I don't consider myself weak stomached, but this book got my gag reflex going.  Some people may like that, personally I did not.  I understand wanting to create a scary thriller, but the things is you still have to create a readable book.  There were many passages I had to skim quickly because I just couldn't read them and I lost nothing plot-wise for skipping them, meaning they could have probably been trimmed.

You have a description of a boy picking apart a crawdad eyeball by eyeball, a gorilla eating itself, descriptions of crazy scary mutated tapeworms, etc.  I tend to think what's scarier in thrillers is the unseen and the mental aspect.  This book attempted to bring in the mental aspect with a character who was a straight-up sociopath, but even the mental games played by this character had physically grotesque (and difficult to read) results.

The story and the mystery aren't bad.  I liked the interspersed news reporters, scientific experiments and therapy journals.  Without those I would have never made it through the book.  But they did not balance out the over-description.  It was like how we often complain about purple prose in romance novels, only taken to the opposite extreme where everything over-described was disgusting.

If you think you can handle the blood, gore and tapeworms you might like this book better than I did.  Good luck.

I received an advanced reading copy in exchange for an honest review. 

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