December 08, 2016

Review: The Cruelty by Scott Bergstrom

The Cruelty
by Scott Bergstrom
Hardcover, 384 pages
Expected publication: February 7th 2017
by Feiwel & Friends

When her diplomat father is kidnapped and the U.S. Government is unable to help, 17 year-old Gwendolyn Bloom sets off across the sordid underbelly of Europe to rescue him. Following the only lead she has—the name of a Palestinian informer living in France—she plunges into a brutal world of arms smuggling and human trafficking. As she journeys from the slums of Paris, to the nightclubs of Berlin, to the heart of the most feared crime family in Prague, Gwendolyn discovers that to survive in this new world she must become every bit as cruel as the men she’s hunting.

I had high hopes for this book but in the end it just didn’t work for me. The concept of this book was very intriguing; a YA version of the movie Taken but this time the daughter was in search of the father. How cool, right?! Well, sadly, it wasn’t very YA and it didn’t keep the cool factor from start to finish.

The beginning was a bit slow for me; I didn’t feel as though I was connecting to any particular character, though other than our main character Gwendolyn, everyone else was basically side characters floating in & out of scenes when needed. There never seemed to be a growth in Gwendolyn and her “relationship” with “the boy back home” left me scratching my head. The ending did not feel like an ending at all. It was as though the author simply decided to stop writing mid scene…it truly made no sense to me how it ended, especially after everything the character had been through. I’m not certain if there is to be another book but there were so many questions unanswered at the end.

My main problems was Gwendolyn herself, the rate at which the story progressed and the truly lack-luster ending. I had not heard of the controversy with the author prior to reading this so that did not factor into my review of this book. Though this book is geared as YA, I find the content to be quite heavy and would not recommend anyone younger than 17-18 read this as it entails physical/verbal abuse & the reality of human sex trafficking.

Though I am rating this book 3 stars, there were a few quotes that stuck out to me. Here are a few of those quotes:

“Strange to break into a building and find your memories living inside.”

“That’s what war means. Bullets and mistakes you have to live with forever.”

“It’s a new kind of beauty on this stranger: beauty through strength, beauty through fury. It’s frightening and wonderful, and for the first time ever in my life, what I see in the mirror pleases me.”

“But something compels me to stay: If you have the courage for the act, you have the courage to watch the outcome.”

3 Stars!

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