Tuesday, September 27, 2016

Early Review: The Cruelty

THE CRUELTY
The Cruelty #1
Scott Bergstrom
Young Adult/Thriller
384 pages
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.

MY THOUGHTS
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.

Rating: 4/5

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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.

16 comments:

  1. I hadn't heard of this one before today, Jenny but it sounds fantastic and very engaging. I think I would like Gwen a lot. She seems like a total badass!
    Great review, Jenny!

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  2. This is a very early review! It sounds like a well done thriller, Jenny. That cover is gorgeous.

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  3. I love that this isn't your normal thriller in the genre and that the protagonist is so relatable, that definitely makes it so nice. I also love that you said this was gritty, there is never anything wrong with a little grit in your reads. ;) Wonderful review Jenny!

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  4. thats awesome that the character is someone that people can relate to, the story sounds deep.

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  5. I am happy to read your review. I have my copy sitting on my nightstand. I am looking forward to digging in.

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  6. Wow, this book sounds so intense and well-done and also unlike anything else I've seen lately! I don't gravitate towards this genre without a lot of pushing, but you've convinced me, Jenny! Definitely adding this one to my TBR! :)

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  7. This sounds amazing. Another to add to the stack. Thanks Jenny!

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  8. Interesting, I should read more like this, but I am scared lol

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  9. Sounds fresh and interesting! Enjoyed your review. :-)

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  10. I was just reading about the controversy surrounding this author's comments about YA. Interesting.

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  11. "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." -that right there makes me want to read this one Jenny!

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  12. Fleshed out characters?! My dream, I swear!I hadn't heard of this one but it sounds really interesting, and fast paced!

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  13. This one is new to me and I'm really curious now! I love what you said about Gwen-

    "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."

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  14. This sounds fascinating - not just the thriller aspect but the character growth you describe here really makes me want to read this. I LOVE that she starts out with no special skills and has to learn the hard way to survive!

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  15. This one sounds quite like the right kind of thriller I'd love to read, even if I'd probably need a good cup of tea to handle the tension! Great review Jenny!

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