Series: The Cruelty #1
Author: Scott Bergstrom
Publisher: Feiwel & Friends
Published Date: February 7th 2017 by
Genre: Thriller, Mystery, Adult, SPY
Page Count: 384
My Rating: ★ ★ ★
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.
"Distraction is an art, and they know a card game or silly movie would never keep my mind off the swirling tragedy in my head. So here is someone else's tragedy, someone else's tough times, close enough to my own, yet far enough from my own, so that I can absorb myself in it without guilt."
Please note that this book does contain homophobic slurs, mention of rape and sex trafficking.
When I first heard about this book the summary really drew me and and made it sound like it was going to be a spy novel that would be filled with lots of action and espionage. Then after I had already accepted the invite to read this book, did I find out what the other had said about the YA genre. So after a few months of trying to decided if I should read this one or not, I decided to because the summary still made me really want to read it.
Now first if your looking for a YA spy/espionage novel this isn't it. If anything I would consider this book adult, or maybe even new adult age range, but it is most certainly not ya(unless you want to consider older YA.). Yes the main character is 17/18, but the situations she is in and the things she has to do, I don't think younger teens should be reading about because of how brutal the topics and certain scenes in this book are. Honestly at times it reminded me of the show Blacklist on NBC (mainly the things Red has done in the past and still does occasionally, or some of the things Tom the main characters husband has done as well.)
Having said that you would think that this would be a five star book for me, but it wasn't sadly. Mainly because of the main character beside her age, I never really worried about her safety,she always seemed to have some sort of a plan, or was able to come up with one out of know where. Once she had spent I think it was a week doing hand to hand combat training she seemed to be a natural and to not struggle at all wit this new world she was in. Also everything just seemed to fall into place way to easy with her being able to find out things and have the tools available to her all without getting caught. Multiple times throughout the book I couldn't help, but think that would have gotten her caught, or how has no one caught on to her small slip-ups she was making occasionally. This is also what kept me reading the book though cause I kept thinking that someone who actually knew what they were doing was going to help her. But no the main character goes from being a introvert to somebody who becomes a total badass spy all in a few weeks.
"That's what war means. Bullets and mistakes you have to live with forever."
Now when it came to actually saving her father and the things she had to do to find him. I was just blown away and left in shock multiple times. I mean really how did she get so close to these people with no one really making her jump through hoops more than once. Plus why was she allowed to do certain things in said group when she was considered to be a new person, and still most likely not that trust worthy. It just didn't add up.
"He is, I can see, heartbroken. Daughters ought not have to rescue their fathers, and ought not have to become murderers to do it."
Overall though I did enjoy this book, and I think it shined a light on some very important things the big one being human trafficking and drug smuggling. As for if I plan to read future book in this (trilogy/series?) I don't know at the moment. Sure I would like to know what happens to the main character now and what she does. But I'm also rather happy with how things turned out at the end of the book and could just leave it at that.
Ultimately I think that if you don't mind violence and want a action packed spy thriller than you might like this one. But if you don't feel like reading it or supporting the author you won't miss anything much.
"Justice isn't some abstract thing, Gwendolyn. What you did tonight, that's what it looks like. Ugly and mean."
Thank you to the publisher for sending me a physical arc of this book in exchange for my honest review.