The Cruelty Review

Title: The Cruelty
Author: Scott Bergstrom
Series: The Cruelty #1
Publisher: Walker Books
Publication Date: 09 February 2017(originally published in 2014)
Source: Pan Macmillan South Africa
Format: Paperback
Pages: 448
Rating: 2.65 Stars
Reading Timeline: 09 July 2017 - 13 July 2017


Goodreads Synopsis:

When Gwendolyn Bloom realizes that her father has been kidnapped, she has to take matters into her own hands. She traces him from New York City across the dark underbelly of Europe, taking on a new identity to survive in a world of brutal criminal masterminds. As she slowly leaves behind her schoolgirl self, she realizes that she must learn the terrifying truth about herself. To overcome the cruelty she encounters, she must also embrace it.

Book Review:
Pre-reading Thoughts:

When I saw this title coming out this year, I just kept looking at the synopsis and thinking wow this will probably be a really good read. And when I saw this on the Pan Macmillan South Africa website I just kept thinking that I should request it. It took me a while because I kept going back and forth for about two weeks before I requested. 

I seriously cannot wait to jump into this book because frankly I see an adventure coming on. And I seriously hope I enjoy it because I really want to get into these types of novels.

Thank you so much to Pan Macmillan South Africa for sending me a copy of this book and thank you so much to Amy who wanted to buddy read this with me! I cannot wait! Just a small little disclaimer for those reading this. I received this book for free. No money from my pocket was spent in getting this book. Please note that in no way does this affect my opinion. All thoughts still remain my own.

Writing Thoughts:

When you first start reading this book, you see sophisticated writing and big and fancy words that give you a feeling that this book is going to be really good. But that never really held up. The author switched from the good sophisticated writing in the beginning to something way simpler. I also felt like the author told us instead of showed us the story. I never got the chance to fully grasps all the gorgeous places that the protagonist went to. The dialogue in the book was well done and was straight to the point. The author relied heavy on basic descriptions when it came to characters. He stuck to worlds such as "fit" and "pretty" but never told us how the characters actually looked which resulted in all of the extra side characters and even the protagonist to blur into one smudge. 

Plot Thoughts:

We had a somewhat strong start. The author set up what normal was for the protagonist. However, as the story progressed there were random and unnecessary scenes inserted. The protagonist constantly seemed to be fighting when it clearly wasn't the first option. There was also some awkward romance just thrown in there like the author thought the core of YA was the teen love. But by putting it in the story, it just made the story less realistic and less believable 

Character Thoughts:

Gwendolyn, our protagonist, seemed cold and detached from everything around her. She never seemed to feel much from the beginning to the end of the book. It was more like she knew what she was supposed to feel but she never felt it. Gwendolyn fell flat for me. We never really got to know who she was. We never got to hear about her favourite places in Paris. And then the author would make her do something that she would never do before which never really made sense to me.

The other characters in the book just seemed to appear out of no where and seemed to just exist for the purpose of the story. What I mean by that is that when they had a role to play they existed and then when they were no longer needed, they ceased to exist.

Final Thoughts:

Overall, I was disappointed in this story. I had hopes for it. They weren't high because this was the first time that I had read a book of this nature. The book started off well but as we progressed, the book started to look less succinct. Everything seemed to coincidental and unnatural. There were odd romances and too many random characters who all fell flat.

Thank you to Pan Macmillan South Africa for sending me a copy of this book to review and thank you to Amy from A World of Words for agreeing to buddy read this book with me. It was fun and interesting to share thoughts!

Yours in Reading,



  1. Fantastic review, Melleny, and I'm so glad we could buddy read! It's a pity we found the book disappointing, but at least we had fun chatting :)


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