The Forsaken Boy by Troy Tradup #BookReview

CriminOlly thinks: Expertly crafted blend of coming of age story and werewolf horror is consistently entertaining 4/5

Reviews

Text Review

Troy Tradup’s The Forsaken Boy is a thoroughly enjoyable blend of werewolf horror and coming of age story. It doesn’t set out to do anything radical, but it does what it does so well that really isn’t a problem. In fact, the book’s simplicity ends up being a strength – it allows author Troy Tradup to concentrate on his central character and themes and polish them until they shine.

The story focusses on Brandon, a Minnesota teenager on the cusp of adulthood. Brandon is half white, half native American and feels like he doesn’t quite belong to either culture. He’s bullied at school and struggling to navigate his way through the transition from boy to man. When Brandon encounters a werewolf, he welcomes the power that lycanthropy will give him. Both to get revenge on those who have wronged him, and to create an identity for himself.

The two strands of the book work well together, helped by the fact that Brandon is such a sympathetic lead. Even when he ends up taking actions which are impossible to condone, the reader understands why he has acted as he has. The supporting cast is similarly well written. Troy Tradup creates a small rural community that’s convincing and acts as an effective setting.

This isn’t what I would call out and out horror. The supernatural elements of the book are effectively handled, but it’s never terrifying. It is, however, frequently extremely suspenseful. A lot of that comes from the fact that you actually care about the central characters and what happens to them.

Ultimately, this feels like a very well rounded, almost classically formed, novel. It has simple themes (coming of age, friendship, powerlessness), but they suit the story perfectly. The progression of the narrative is both engaging and satisfying. If you’re after a solid, well-crafted and enjoyable horror novel, I’d recommend it.

Video Review


Book Details

Title: The Forsaken Boy | Author: Troy Tradup | Publisher: Tough Times Publishing | Pages: 314 | Publication date: 8th October 2010 | ISBN: 9780615409146 | Source: Author

Synopsis

People have tormented Brandon his entire life. Maybe it’s his shabby clothes. Maybe it’s the bruises on his arms or the haunted look in his eyes. Or maybe it’s some essential, unexplainable difference deep inside. Not quite white, not quite Indian, and soon now…not quite human. Brandon is about to walk a dark country road and discover a hunger he never imagined. And find out he likes it.

Run. That’s all you can do now.

Warnings

Content Warning: Rape, violence against animals.

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