"A groundbreaking YA thriller following a diplomat's daughter from New York to Europe's criminal underworld in search of her kidnapped father."
I was so grabbed by the premise of this book. Thriller/whodunnits are definitely a guilty pleasure for me. It's like the sequel to Taken which I'll also admit to enjoying (and I realise there actually are sequels to Taken, but like, this one sounds better).
The Cruelty is fast-paced, but not at the expense of detail. There's a lot of punch packed; four major cities, loads of baddies and some goodies and some goodies that might be baddies and baddies that could almost be goodies but are definitely still baddies. I never lost track of who was who, despite a fairly long list of secondary characters, so hats off! I've mentioned a few times that too-fast pacing is usually very annoying to me. This wasn't annoyingly fast paced. If anything, I occasionally wished she'd get to the next point quicker, with so much at stake.
Speaking of the stakes, The Cruelty demands suspension of belief. A lot of it. Maybe probably too much of it. I did reach a point of just nope. Not possible. But then what would I know I guess, having never personally traveled Europe's criminal underworld. Maybe Bergstrom's hero is spot on. There's just a lot of butt-kicking, and for one barely-finished-high-school-er, a lot of outwit/play/last-ing. Which brings us tidily to Gwendolyn. I've gotta be honest, I wasn't completely on board with her. I found her interesting initially, but she lost me somewhere in Berlin. I was more invested in her quest by then, than her.
Ultimately I came away conflicted, neither loving, or hating it. There were bugs, but despite the things that annoyed me, I was always eager to get back to the book. It was fun. Definitely the escapism I was after.
Angela read it too! Go see what she thought of it, our feelings were a little different on this one.
Or, you could make up your own mind when it hits shelves on Feb 9th. There's a movie following this one too, so make sure you read it first!
Content warning. There were more than passing references to the sex trade, human traffiking and "fucking" as a means of getting what you want/need. IDK. Maybe I'm just delicate flower. You can decide for yourself.
Review copy kindly supplied by Walker Books.