Media Type: Ebook
Title: The Cruelty
Author: S. Bergstrom
Pages: Paperback; 377
Release Date: March 15, 2014
Content Screening: Violence; Adult Language
HDB Rating: 5 Keys to My Heart
Recommended to: Readers who enjoy deeply written, fast paced thrillers with an amazing protagonist!
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.
Pardon my language, but holy shit. Why isn't this book a movie? The Cruelty is so expertly written, so fast-paced, so impressive, that I don't really know what else to say to start this review. I don't know exactly what I was expecting, but I can definitely tell you that it was not to be so wholly immersed. I read this from cover to cover in about three hours. I pawed through the pages like a woman possessed. Yes, it's that good.
To get this out of the way, let me give you a quick heads up. This is a book that begs you to suspend disbelief to fully enjoy it. Think of it as an action-packed Hollywood blockbuster. Yes, things happen that are convenient. Yes, Gwendolyn is only 17. In the hands of this talented author, that doesn't mean a damn thing. You'll want to believe. S. Bergstrom treats us to the transformation of a young girl. The transformation from your typical, shy teenager, to a kick-ass covert operative. I hate to compare things, but honestly? Think Taken, if Liam Neeson were a 17-year-old girl. Are you hooked yet? Just wait.
Add in the rich backdrop of Europe, and this book had my undivided attention. Gwendolyn finds herself is the darker, less traveled parts of Europe on her mission to find her father. She sleeps in slums, cons people for money, and does things that she never thought herself capable of doing. The Gwendolyn at the end of the book is someone who is so totally different from who she once was, that it's mind boggling. She's harder, stronger, and definitely not someone you'd want to mess with. I gaped at the events in this book. I really did. There's this undercurrent of violence to everything that happens. It's gritty, but it's also realistic. These things are going on out there, whether we want to believe it or not.
I know I'm rambling. I can't help it. This book stole my capability to wax poetic. I think it sums it all up to say that The Cruelty is like your favorite action movie, but with a younger protagonist. It deals with human trafficking, violence for the sake of violence, and all those dark things we choose not to think about. It does it well too. Read this. That's all I can say to you. That, and that this is an author I will be watching very closely from now on.
FTC Disclosure: I received a copy of this book in exchange for a fair and honest review. I was not monetarily compensated for my opinion.