Jenny's Reviews > The Troupe

The Troupe by Robert Jackson Bennett
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's review
Apr 12, 2012

it was amazing
Read from April 02 to 09, 2012

Having already enjoyed Robert Jackson Bennett's previous books (Mr Shivers and The Company Man), I had high expectations when it came to reading his third novel, The Troupe. I wasn't disappointed.
The Troupe, quite simply, is a marvel. Bennett's storytelling takes the reader on a thoroughly engrossing journey across the surreal landscape of vaudeville. But this, as you may have anticipated, is not a straightforward tale of one troupe's travels along the vaudeville circuit.

Our troupe - or, rather, Silenus's Troupe - have rather more to them than meets the eye. Professor Kingsley Tyburn is a master puppeteer, but the audience can never see the strings and something about his puppets doesn't quite seem right; Franny Beatty is a strongwoman, but capable of far more than the usual displays of the act; Collette de Verdicere is a beautifully talented dancer with deeper connections to the Troupe than we first suspect; Stanley is a mute cellist who I defy any reader not to love; and Silenus himself is carrying more secrets than a conspiracy theorist would know what to do with.
No wonder, then, that when he joins the Troupe, 16-year-old George Carole finds himself getting a lot more than he bargained for.

From the age-old good vs. evil fight to fascinating battles of wits with faeries, adrenalin-fuelled chases to poignant struggles to overcome grief, The Troupe really does reach far beyond the boundaries of genre.

I could recommend this book highly for any number of reasons, but what I liked most was Bennett's ability to layer so much story within the pages. Not one word of this book is filler; everything has meaning. And it's the moments when the little clues start to add up and you get a sudden rush of realisation that pushes this book to the five star mark. Each character has a moment like this, when the reader suddenly understands what (often dreadful) secrets lie behind all the oddities. It is a mark of Bennett's talent that even the characters with the least amount of page-space stay with you long after you turn the last page.

So whether you live for fantasy or horror, romance or inspirational novels - The Troupe is for you.

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04/06/2012 page 148
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