Tuesday, January 31, 2017

Book Review :: The Cruelty by Scott Bergstrom

The Cruelty - Scott Bergstrom


"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. 

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