The Cruelty – Scott Bergstrom


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.


Title: The Cruelty (The Cruelty #1)

Author: Scott Bergstrom

Publisher:  Walker Books Australia

Pages: 384

Date released: February 7th 2017

My Thoughts

Thank you Walker Books Australia for sending me a copy to review!

“That’s what war means. Bullets and mistakes you have to live with forever.”

As soon as I read the synopsis for this book I was pretty excited to jump into it. Normal girl turned badass, traveling all over the world to save her dad from corrupt government officials? Yes please! I found this book so fast paced and always action packed which I loved. Scott Bergstrom dealt with quite a lot of important issues around the world in The Cruelty and I think he wrote about it really well.

“Justice isn’t some abstract thing, Gwendolyn. What your did tonight, that’s what it looks like. Ugly and mean.”

Seventeen year old Gwendolyn Bloom’s life is turned upside down the day her father never comes home from his work trip and she finds out he is actually a CIA agent. Filled with despair, Gwen vows to get her father back no matter what she has to do. With the help of her hacker friend and unlikely allies she finds along the way, Gwen turns from a normal teen into a secret assassin to infiltrate the gang responsible for taking her father. Traveling all over the world, Gwen soon realises that to get her father back she will have to be as cruel and cunning as his kidnappers, and she will have to see it through to the end.

The character building in this book was amazing. We got to see Gwen go from a normal sheltered teenager living in the Upper East Side of America who just wants to belong. She gets bullied at school and represses her anger instead of lashing out. That all changes when her dad goes missing and we see her get transformed into a ninja assassin who will do anything and everything to get her father back no matter what. I love her inner strength and will to achieve her goals and I love seeing her go from dependant to independent over the course of the book. Throughout Gwen’s travels we get to see inside the underworld of human trafficking, smuggling, crime gangs, the Mafia, runaways, refugees and secret societies. It shows you another side of the world, so different from where and how we live, it made me realise how different our lives could be and how sheltered we are living where we do.

The only thing that didn’t seem real to me is how fast Gwen became an assassin. It took her only a couple weeks to become an undercover agent with skills that would take you up to years to learn. It also surprised me how easily she killed people and how easily she moved on. She went form innocent normal girl to killing people and she didn’t enjoy it, but she didn’t seem to dwell on the fact that she killed people for very long. It will be interesting to see if she how she deals with these events in the next book and if she has PTSD or other issues because I sure know I would.

Overall, The Cruelty was an action packed novel and I would definitely recommend if you are into action thrillers and crime.


Goodreads ● Angus & Robertson ● Dymocks ● QBD ● Book Depository ● Amazon ● Author’s Page

Walker Books


“I’m Every bit the devil you imagined.”

“Justice isn’t some abstract thing, Gwendolyn. What your did tonight, that’s what it looks like. Ugly and mean.”

“That’s what war means. Bullets and mistakes you have to live with forever.”

About the Author


Scott Bergstrom is a traveler, photographer, and writer who lives in Colorado with his wife and daughters. The Cruelty is his fiction debut.


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