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“A woman who seeks to rise in this world must be crueler than even men”.
I was at my local library, and found a poster promoting Borrow Box. After perusing through the catalogue, I found this title. I had never heard of this book or series before, but the synopsis completely won me over.
It’s worth noting that I am not the biggest fan of audiobooks - I have trouble recalling previous events in them, and I feel like I’m not as involved in the story. I did not have that problem listening to this - Therese Plummer is a gem.
So, to give you the rundown in a minute or less, Gwen is on her way home after being suspended from school, and is sorting out her father’s birthday present. Her father, a U.S. diplomat, is suddenly kidnapped, and the government leaves Gwen no choice but to track him down herself. Suddenly, she’s trekking through Europe, following every lead, infiltrating the slums of Paris, the nightlife of Berlin, and the biggest criminal family in Prague. Diving into this underworld of espionage and betrayal, Gwen needs to become crueler then the men that she’s hunting.
At first I thought that I was going to have an issue with Gwen’s age - a 17 year old girl lying her way into crime mobs? yeah, right. Then I realised that she’s not an average 17 year old special snowflake - she’s already bent, cracked, and jaded. I was very quickly able to draw parallels to other female protagonists that had to grow up too quickly: Aelin, Feyre, and Audrey Rose.
The best way to summarise this is Dominika from “Red Sparrow” meets Carmen from “Spy Kids”. From the plots and espionage, to the justice and stained consciousness, the story seems plausible.
Ultimately, it was one of the most unexpectedly amazing books that I’ve ever come across - and one of the best espionage thrillers I’ve read.
When Gwendolyn Bloom's father vanishes on a seemingly routine diplomatic assignment in Paris, she's given one option: leave it to the adults.
Choosing instead to forge her own path, we follow Gwendolyn through her training as an assassin, and subsequent quest across Europe. Thanks to Bergstrom's streamlining of the laborious scene setting and exposition, The Cruelty reads like an explosive blockbuster movie; real edge-of-your-seat material.
TL;DR: Think Katniss Everdeen in Liam Neeson's Taken. - Jerzy (QBD)