Title: The Troop
Author: Nick Cutter
Published: Feb 25th 2014
Publisher: Gallery Books
Genre: Horror, Thriller
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. -Goodreads
I received this book from Net Galley in return for an honest review.
I very rarely read a book that I don't give at least 3 stars to, normally because I know the kind of books I like and I tend to stick to them. However when I saw this novel on Net Galley I felt drawn towards it. It had thriller and horror aspects and the blurb likened it to Lord of the Flies, a modern version. Unfortunately this novel had horror, mostly of the gruesome gory kind, but very little thriller. In all honesty I only got 28% through this novel, to about page 100 before I stopped. This novel just wasn't doing it for me, I don't know what it was but I had no inclination to read any more.
This novel was also very gory. I don't mind gore, especially in horror, but I want the gore to be used to further the story or develop the characters. In The Troop it seemed the author had just added the gore to try and make it a horror novel, with very little purpose to it. In the 28% I read I had had enough blood and guts to last the rest of the novel. Basically I felt very little fear while reading this novel, I was mostly just repulsed.
The characters are weak in this novel, 100 pages in we know very little about them, making it very difficult for me to feel anything for them, I really didn't care what happened to them. The group of boy scouts all filled very clichéd characters, there was a fat kid and a bully etc. Overall they were a very uninteresting bunch of characters, making it very hard for me to pick up this novel.
The only aspect of this novel I did enjoy was the use of flash forwards to let the reader know what the outcome of the infection is, meaning we are aware but the characters in the book aren't. I thought this was very cleverly done, giving you a sense of foreboding and increasing the danger the boys are in, as the reader is aware of how serious it becomes in the future.
Overall I didn't enjoy this novel, I felt it lacked any real fear factor, basically I just felt bored reading it. Perhaps I will pick this novel up again in the future to give it another shot, but I doubt it.