Sunday, January 5, 2014
The Troop (review)
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.