The Cruelty #1
Feiwel & Friends
Available February 7th, 2017
Source: ARC from publisher for review
THE STORY (from Goodreads)
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.
The Cruelty is not the average young adult thriller, one where the protagonist strikes out on their own and is able to access information, bypass security, and thwart criminal masterminds with seeming ease. Though Gwen does strike out on her own in search of her father, her path is hardly an easy one marked by the luck of fiction as pieces fall together to help her along, instead her journey is darker and more brutal, each leg taking a piece of the girl she was before and crushing it under the boot of the girl she is becoming.
Gwen is a young woman who feels very real in the beginning, someone whom we could pass in our everyday lives and strike up an easy conversation with as opposed to a teenage super spy to whom we can hardly relate, something that makes her story feel more personal even as she falls deeper and deeper into a criminal underworld rabbit hole. Because she possess no special skills when we meet her–no exceptional fighting prowess, hacking specialty, etc.–it's easy to project ourselves onto her, rooting for her to take matters into her own hands when her own government and her father's colleagues fail her. She has to become a badass the hard way, learning to fight and hide in plain sight but making innumerable missteps along the way, as someone with only a crash course in spy training and a determined spirit would do.
Gwen's search for her father is intense and detailed, with Mr. Bergstrom showing no interest in keeping us on the surface and instead plunging us under along with Gwen as she fights for the smallest of clues about her father's whereabouts. The Cruelty is gritty and complex and clearly just the beginning for Gwen, and I for one look forward to seeing just what she's capable of in the next installment.
This book was sent to me by the publisher free of charge for the purpose of a review.
I received no other compensation and the above is my honest opinion.