Monday, February 27, 2017

Review: The Cruelty by Scott Bergstrom

Title: The Cruelty
Author: Scott Bergstrom
Series: The Cruelty #1
Publisher: Feiwel and Friends
Publication Date: February 7, 2017
Source: Publisher

The Cruelty...

Oh what can I say about this book...

To be totally honest with you, I read this book months ago...  And I have kept putting this review off.

Kind of one purpose.

Why?  Because I have mixed feelings about this book.

On one hand, I did like it.  On the other hand, I didn't.

The Cruelty is about a girl named Gwendolyn.  Gwendolyn's father is a diplomat.  He has worked for the U.S. Government for years.  And he gets kidnapped.  So, naturally, Gwendolyn sets off to go rescue her father.

And the road to rescuing him is not pretty at all.  She finds herself in a dark world.  Human trafficking, drugs, murder, arms smuggling, etc.  It is a dark world that she has found herself in, in Europe, that she must navigate to find and rescue her father.

To be honest, the premise of this book is what really pulled me in.  I thought it sounded exciting and that it was going to be a really great story.

I also thought, that since it was marketed as a YA read, that it was going to not be too dark.

And that was my bad.

It was dark and at times pretty horrible.  I was a lot darker than I thought it would be for a YA read.  Scott Bergstrom didn't really spare his readers from the harsh reality of the world Gwendolyn has to navigate in The Cruelty.

And there were many times I wanted to give up on the book, but I kept picking it back up determined to finish it.  I have nothing against a dark book.  I will willingly read them all the time.  But for the longest time I had a hard time accepting that The Cruelty was meant for the YA reading crowd.

I did eventually flip to the back cover and see it was recommended for ages 17+ and that helped me get past some of my prejudices.  So there is that.  But I would really not recommend this book for the younger/more immature crowd.  As mentioned before - it traverses the dark underbelly of Europe.  Sex trafficking and arms dealing are probably the most prominent topics.  And there are definitely triggers for that and for other things.

It is these issues that have stuck with me the most since I have finished reading The Cruelty.

And yet, all that said, I still found myself occasionally able to enjoy the story and I did finish it.  Will I continue with this series?  That is a maybe leaning towards a no.  I might though.  I wouldn't mind seeing where this series is going and I wouldn't mind (hopefully) seeing Scott Bergstrom growing as a writer.

My Rating
3 Stars

This review is based on a copy provided by the publisher in exchange for a fair and honest review.  All thoughts and opinions are mine and mine alone.


  1. There were quite a few times I was going to pick up my ARC of this and read it, but for whatever reason I kept putting it off, too. I'm not sure why, since this is the kind of book that I usually really enjoy, but for whatever reason I just forgot about it. I'm sorry to hear that you didn't like this one so much - to be honest, I had no idea that it was going to be a really dark book, either. Great review, though!

  2. It's so hard to write 3 star reviews!!! I struggle with the mixed-feeling reviews too. This bppl sounds interesting, but I do understand having that disconnect when you think it's going to be aimed at a certain audience, and it isn't (especially when it involves darker themes!).

    Alyssa @ Purple People Readers