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The Troupe Paperback – 2012

4.3 out of 5 stars 48 customer reviews

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 512 pages
  • Publisher: Orbit; First Edition edition (2012)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0316187526
  • ISBN-13: 978-0316187527
  • Product Dimensions: 8.2 x 5.4 x 1.3 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (48 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #918,249 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Paperback
For a long time I could count on one hand the number of authors whose new releases I anticipated with any real excitement, but once I read Robert Jackson Bennett's award-winning debut novel Mr Shivers, I had to start counting on both. Now, after reading his third and latest novel, I'm pleased to say my excitement has not diminished, and I'm already looking ahead to his fourth. But for now, let us journey along the vaudevillian circuit with a disparate band of players collectively better known as The Troupe.

Sixteen-year-old George Carole has been the house pianist at Otterman's Vaudeville Theatre for six months, but when he hears that The Silenus Troupe is playing in a nearby town, he quickly packs his bags and heads for the train station with only one thing on his mind: finding the man he suspects of being his father, the great Heironomo Silenus. George finally tracks his father down, but discovers something far stranger than the troupe's performances. The very texture of the night is different somehow, and time and space as George knows it has been altered, meaning only one thing: The men in grey are here. Let the show begin...

Bennett wastes little time in getting the story steaming and tooting along its dusty tracks, but sacrifices nothing in the setting of the vaudevillian scene. Greasepaint will skid on your fingers as you turn the pages, and your reading lamp will illuminate a faded backdrop, before which a top-hatted and moustachioed gent will appear on stage and regale you with the splendid and exotic acts that are to come. And splendid and exotic they are too.
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Format: Kindle Edition
Using its Vaudeville act as cover, a troupe of mystical individuals travels the country on a supernatural mission to save the world, or- if you will- a troupe of supernatural individuals travels the country on a mystical mission to save the world. It's all kind of vague. In any event, nipping at the troupe's heels while all this is happening is a group of supernatural/mystical enemies with its own agenda, which is also kind of vague.

To be fair, the magic in the book is meant to be lyrical, mysterious, and not totally explainable in a clear narrative sense. After all, the troupe of the title is traveling around the country gathering pieces of an ancient song than can- alternately, depending on what character is explaining things- prevent pieces of the world from disappearing, bring back pieces that have already disappeared, and/or restore the balance of the universe itself. It's pretty mind bending, but, yeah, still a little vague.

Anyway, here's what works: the details about the troupe's grueling Vaudeville circuit (where an exhausting schedule doesn't prevent wonderful, strange performances); how the gifted yet misfit members of the troupe befriend each other as they daily confront their enemies and challenges, both natural and otherwise; and the many imaginative displays of magic and the supernatural- many small and whimsical, others downright epic and mind-blowing.

I did find the stakes a bit unclear, the nature of the magic often shifting and changing, and the story as a whole a little long. But I suspect others- especially those who embrace lyricism, poetry, and imagery over explanation- will be fine with most of this, and perhaps like it very much.

I will say this: this particular genre- fantasy unfolding in a real-world setting- doesn't usually grab me much, but in this case I had a pretty good time with it.
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Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
I bought this book after finding it on a list of the top 25 fantasy novels of all time. Whilst I do not believe it deserves a place on that list I still thought that it was an engrossing tale in it's own right.

The story is about a young, talented pianist who tracks a troupe the leader of which he believes is his father. Not alot actually happens throughout the majority of the novel other than for a couple of encounters with the bad guys. These are agents of the anti God who wishes to destroy the whole world. The major focus of the book is George learning to counter the power of the antagonists.

There is practically no magic to speak of throughout the majority of the novel. However, I do not always believe this to be a bad thing.

Liked: I thought there were some interesting characters particularly Sileneus and Colette as well as a couple of nice twists that I didn't see coming.

Disliked: the novel ended rather abruptly I thought. There also wasn't enough going on for my liking. A Loy of dialogue particularly inner dialogue on the protagonists part and not much action.
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Another reviewer said the same thing I would have written - if you like Neal Gaimen then get in here! Perhaps with a bit less sarcasm, Bennett weaves a wonderfully complete story with good surprises, concepts and pacing. The characters were perfectly drawn, as was the world, there was a gritty realism to all of the descriptions of people, places and events that envelope the reader and ensure you stay glued to the next chapter. This is one of those books that while reading at night, I would convince myself: "Only one more page, and then I will put it down", and for a few nights in a row I was unsuccessful at this for a long while. I highly recommend reading this book; I wouldn't put it squarely into the Fantasy realm, but something more like the fairytale/celtic/old world magic category, something like Enchantment by Card or Neverwhere by Gaimen. Enjoy!
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