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The Toll

3.43  ·  Rating details ·  1,023 ratings  ·  230 reviews
From Cherie Priest, the author of The Family Plot and Maplecroft, comes The Toll, a tense, dark, and scary treat for modern fans of the traditionally strange and macabre.

State Road 177 runs along the Suwannee River, between Fargo, Georgia, and the Okefenokee Swamp. Drive that route from east to west, and you’ll cross six bridges. Take it from west to east, and you might
Paperback, 336 pages
Published July 9th 2019 by Tor Books
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Average rating 3.43  · 
Rating details
 ·  1,023 ratings  ·  230 reviews

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Jul 20, 2019 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: fans of southern Gothic
Loosely billed as 'horror,' I don't think that The Toll earns the genre. With a Southern Gothic atmosphere, it has a dual plot line that only intersects near the end. One story begins with a bored seventeen-year-old boy, Cameron, his elderly witchy godmothers and the restless feeling of wanting change. The other plot surrounds a squabbling honeymooning couple headed to a cabin in the Okefenokee swamp, who experience something surreal as they cross a strange bridge. Because the tone between the ...more
Sep 04, 2019 rated it really liked it
I want to thank Macmillan-Tor/Forge Tor Books and Netgalley for the opportunity to read this book for an unbiased review.

Dark and Creepy!

The story begins with a young couple (Titus & Melanie) on their honeymoon headed to the Okefenokee State Park in the deep south of Florida to go camping and canoeing and just relax with one another. After traveling through the swampland and riding over many small bridges, they start to drive over a very narrow and what appears to be not too sturdy bridge,
You know I put my faith in a shotgun, any day of the week and twice on Sunday - but every girl with an ounce of granny magic knows it's true: Things from other worlds don't like iron.

If you're on your way to Staywater, count the bridges and pray there's only six. Because sometimes there's seven - and when that happens, (pardon my French) shit gets really weird.
Not that Staywater is normal. There's a house of dolls, ghosts in the bar, and mannequins with their own sense of fashion (but don't test
Eve (Between The Bookends)
description This one was OK. It took me a while to get through it because I kept putting it down. The writing itself was good. The characters interesting. The plot was OK, but I wanted more. It was repetitive and felt a little underdeveloped. So yea, not horrible but also nothing to write home about.



THE TOLL is only the second novel that I have read by author Cherie Priest, but it definitely put her on my list of "must-read" authors. This Southern Gothic tale was so rich in atmosphere that it was easy to put myself in the place of the characters, and see the way things were through their eyes.

"He'd seen ghosts before. Everybody in Staywater knew at least a couple, and most everyone was on friendly terms."

We begin with a newly married couple, Titus and Melanie Bell, as they travel State
Jun 24, 2019 rated it it was amazing

Despite the monstrous something that kills…

Despite the weird townspeople who hold fast to secrets…

Despite the dark bridge where terrible things happen…

I actually found I wanted to live in The Toll’s world. In The Toll, author Cherie Priest brings us a world of magic, gothic horrors, and compelling wonders. From the first chapter I was lost, coming up for air only because I had to work to pay the bills. Each one of our characters, living, dead or other, brings this world to life.

The book is
Jun 28, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
If I must read southern, it ought to be gothic. Such as this story. And frankly, the immediate premise makes you think Scandinavian, Norwegian specifically, and trolls demanding tolls for the safe pass and so on. But this one is set in the swaps of Georgia and the demanding troll is very much a location appropriate creature. So yeah, a southern gothic creature feature with a small dying off town haunted every so often by something supernatural with only a pair of aging witches to stand in its ...more
Steve Wiggins
Oct 17, 2019 rated it really liked it
“Southern Gothic” on the cover caught my attention. October caught me short-handed on seasonal literature. At one of my favorite independent bookstores I spotted The Toll and I knew the penalty for not having moody reading in a moody season. I’d not read anything by Cherie Priest before, so this was new territory for me. This is a ghost story, but so much more than just a ghost story. A visitor to the Okefenokee Swamp in Georgia (you get the vibes from that already) experiences an unexplained ...more
To be honest, a cabin holiday in a Florida swamp sounds like a terrible idea for a honeymoon. On their way to the Okenfenokee Swamp, newly-married couple Titus and Davina Bell are already having pesky arguments, mainly about this weird choice of holiday which Titus insisted upon. If only they knew what was coming for them…

The Bells are driving across a strange and ancient one-lane bridge when the young husband loses consciousness at the wheel. He wakes up to find himself lying in the middle of
Phantom bridges? Swamps? The south?

I'm deceased.
Aug 01, 2019 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: audiobooks
If you like Stephen King and supernatural thrillers, you'll love this.
I, however, don't like either of those.
Magdalena aka A Bookaholic Swede
Jun 18, 2019 rated it really liked it
Shelves: read-2019
To be reviewed over at Fresh Fiction!
Mogsy (MMOGC)
3 of 5 stars at The BiblioSanctum

The Toll by Cherie Priest is a disturbingly dark tale of the supernatural, tinged with gothic horror and eldritch elements. The story takes us to a tiny backwater town on the edge of the Okenfenokee Swamp in Georgia called Staywater, where every thirteen years or so, someone always goes missing. Their disappearance is usually preceded by reported sightings of a mysterious seventh bridge along the west-to-east route on
Mary  Carrasco
Nov 21, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
One very strange town and two kick-ass grannies make for a pretty good book! My only criticism is that it would have been better if it were a bit shorter, in my opinion. 3.5 stars rounded up.
Alisi ☆ wants to read too many books ☆
I was really looking forward to this book and it disappointed me hard. I think the best way I can describe this book would be a shittier version of Stephen King's IT. It's like, everything that was good in It is watered down and stupid in this book. Similarities: a monster, from another world/dimension, has chosen a small town to prey on. It comes out of hibernation (or whatever) every 13 years (I think, I can't remember) and just takes whomever it finds in the swamps during the "flooding ...more
Audra (ouija.doodle.reads)
My first Cherie Priest novel, but not my last!

I’m describing this book to people as Southern Gothic with a deadly modern edge. Priest really has an eye for pitting new and contemporary ideas against old-school stylings and feel, and what comes out is a hell of a good time.

The Toll begins with a mysterious bridge that, if you’re unlucky enough to find it, may cause someone in your party to disappear. It features two badass old ladies and an unusual Georgia town.

There is so much in this book to
May 18, 2019 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: netgalley, e-books
Imagine going on your honeymoon to the swamps of Florida and your wife disappears. Not only does she disappear without a trace but this isn't the first time it's happened. This book was dark and creepy, gory in parts but not unnecessarily so. It had a horror-suspense factor to it but it didn't keep me glued to it as much as I had hoped.

I was given an eARC by the publisher through NetGalley.
M  - The long hot spell
Southern Gothic

I willbe straight with you. I loved it and a big reason isbecause Priest created a southern gothic world for me complete with a smalltown, old crumbly buildings, jaded people, swamps and trees galore draped with spanish moss, mist and humidity. To be honest, I remember the book (which I only finished reading yesterday!) as being hot and humid but…did I make that up? Maybe the book’s messing with me? It was spring in Georgia. My imagination could have got away on me in which case I
Lashaan Balasingam (Bookidote)
Jul 18, 2019 rated it really liked it
Shelves: read-in-2019, horror

You can find my review on my blog by clicking here.

There’s nothing like finding yourself in the middle of nowhere with no resources at your disposition to re-establish a certain feeling of security in your environment. It is even more tedious when the answers you need aren’t the ones you get. Confronted with the impossible, it is in our nature to grasp onto logical explanations to remain as sane as possible but the more it becomes impossible, the more likely you are to abandon reason and believe
Carla (Carla's Book Bits)
This was a fun read!

The Toll is marketed as horror, but I really think this is more of a southern gothic mystery with fantastical and horror elements. It centers around the small town of Staywater, it features a mysterious bridge, ghostly creatures, and a myth surrounding this mysterious town.

Regrettably, I never really connected with the characters. However, I love the atmosphere here. The heat & humidity, and the small-town-ness of the setting are really at the forefront. Unfortunately,
Jan 03, 2020 rated it really liked it
Shelves: 2020, horror-general
This was a UNIQUE story and very fairytale like. I want to call it a retelling, but it really isn’t, in my view. It reminds me kind of, of the old troll under the bridge (trip trap, trip trap) but it’s very much it’s own story!

I found much of the story, characters, character lives, the setting to be kind of depressing - down and out kind of feel - which worked for the story but made it very bleak for me.

The ending really didn’t do it for me - there was a lot left open - which normally I like.
Sep 09, 2019 rated it really liked it
Shelves: horror, library
I defy you to try and read this book without hearing Ursula the Sea-Witch's voice in your head singing, "If you want to cross a bridge my sweet, you've got to pay the toll!" But that aside this is a fabulous Southern Gothic novel, full of ghosts and creepy crawlies and swamp water. I am not a big horror fan, being a giant chicken in human form, but I adore Cherie (as a person and a writer) and so I always make the exception for her. This one's not as scary as The Family Plot, but has creepy ...more
I enjoyed this one a lot. It's not a horror novel that's going to terrify you, I don't think, but it's a good creepy, very atmospheric story. I love the idea of a monster in the Okefenokee Swamp! That's just good fun, and I also love the humor that the older ladies provide throughout the novel. Overall, very nicely done and well worth the read.

Thank you NetGalley and publisher for a free copy of this in exchange for an honest review!
Matthew Galloway
Mar 13, 2019 rated it really liked it
Shelves: ghost, eldritch, horror, creepy
This is one hundred percent my kind of horror. Things are mysterious and unknowable (but not in an annoying way). There's a ton of suspense and creeping dread. Gory grossness is only used when necessary. Plus the whole thing is incredibly character centered.

Now I realize I didn't give it a full five stars -- that is not a loss for quality, but rather for preference. There were characters I loved and those I didn't, and some ended up where I'd like and some not. What every one of those characters
Sep 07, 2019 rated it really liked it
Although I felt this book had a slow start I thoroughly enjoyed it. I absolutely loved the setting - gothic horror set in the Georgia swamplands. What can be any better? I loved the characters and the story line. I felt invested in what happened to them and I especially loved the aunts. I look forward to reading more from Cherie Priest and I recommend this book!
Ashley (bookishmommy)
Aug 19, 2019 rated it really liked it
I'm giving The Toll 3.5 stars rounding up to 4 for Goodreads purposes.

The Toll is my first encounter with the writing of Cherie Priest and I am officially a fan! So glad I already have The Family Plot on my shelves so I can continue reading more of her work.

Described as a southern gothic with a contemporary twist, The Toll was exactly what I was hoping for. There is a lot of build up and Priest does a great job creating an atmospheric setting - the Georgia swamplands. I found the writing
Rashika (is tired)
I love southern gothic with a dash of horror and I’ve enjoyed everything I’ve read by Cherie Priest so when I came across The Toll, I was curious. I ended up being disappointed. Maybe this book never stood a chance because I read it in the midst of an extreme book hangover from finishing Spin the Dawn but here we are.

For one, there are too many different POVs for my liking. Sometimes many POVs work, especially when distinguished. They were not distinguished in this case so the transitions were
Apr 06, 2019 rated it liked it
Cherie Priest writes in her afterward of this book that she felt almost manic in having to meet deadlines with this book, and moving, and having to sell a house. Then she had two different editors. I kind of felt all of that in this book. The premise is okay. There is a bridge that when travelled on, a mysterious presence takes lives as its tolls. It happens near this dying town. That dying town is full of spooky things that have absolutely nothing to do with the story of this book. Just, there ...more
Sep 15, 2019 rated it it was ok
”He’d never forget his luck again. He promised and prayed it.

While I absolutely adored the atmosphere and setting, there was a complete disconnect with the story. At times I felt like I was loving it and really connecting and then just like that it was gone. The dialogue between the characters felt short, flat and at times boring. Unfortunately I was left disappointed.
Jessica Woodbury
Oct 21, 2019 rated it really liked it
Shelves: horror
A modern-day Southern gothic horror novel set in the Okefenokee swamp of Georgia. (More! Horror! In! Swamps!) While you can look at this book as being almost a little too focused on checking off its Southern gothic bonafides, I am not really mad about it. Bring on the sweet but creepy little old ladies! Bring on the suspicious femme fatale! Bring on the crumbling old town where no one ever gets out! There's plenty of porches and sweet tea spiked with whiskey here and I simply cannot complain ...more
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Cherie Priest is the author of two dozen books and novellas, most recently The Toll, The Family Plot, The Agony House, and the Philip K. Dick Award nominee Maplecroft; but she is perhaps best known for the steampunk pulp adventures of the Clockwork Century, beginning with Boneshaker. Her works have been nominated for the Hugo and Nebula awards for science fiction, and have won the Locus Award ...more
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“You know, everything's a ghost story, eventually.” 1 likes
“She had become something wrathful and insane, an urban legend waiting to happen.” 0 likes
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