A book review from one of the books on the Tayshas reading challenge


Salexis Zertuche, Staff Writer

Readers all around have been excited about the Tayshas challenge, eager to see what the books on the list have to give. With such a variety of books and readers, reactions to the stories may vary.

The Cruelty is 384 pages of the common cliches of the world. Gwendolyn Bloom is a bland girl in high school with little to no personality. Her life is turned upside down when she finds out that her father is really an undercover agent, and when he goes missing, the lies start to unspiral in front of her. When Gwendolyn starts to realize that the cops and FBI would not be much help, she jumps into action and sets off across the world to find her father. While her “stop-at-nothing-to-find-him” attitude is believable, the transformations she goes through in, a short few months, are not. Everything lines up in her favor along the way. The first male outcast (like herself) that she meets instantly becomes the main love interest, he luckily is a hacker and filthy rich. He doesn’t think twice when giving her his life savings a few days after they met to help her, and he proves to be conveniently helpful when it comes to any code cracking or computer hacking.

Another delightful treat she stumbles upon is a merciless assassin her neighbor just happens to know who is willing to train her. While her teaching methods are hardcore, it is still hard to believe that in a few weeks Gwendolyn can transform from a slightly overweight normal teenage girl into a killing machine. Another amusing thing was how easy it was for her to take her innocence and throw it on the floor and burn it since she had few set morals in the first place.

The reader may have trouble making connections to this protagonist since her character traits seem to be nonexistent. The only sure thing about her is her goal, which blinds her from anything outside of her path to her father. She meets a few characters on the way, and since she is insistent on not making any connections we don’t get to really know them either.

Most were able to look past the poor character development and and focus on the plot. Since it takes place in multiple areas around the world, Bergstrom’s descriptions of the places where vital to the story. In this area he did not fall short, his descriptions were accurate and helpful. The reader was able to imagine themselves there with his down to earth and expressive depictions. The fighting scenes were also laid out clearly so that they were easy to picture. These aspects really aided to the suspense, which helped distract from the other flaws.   

This book has a lot to offer, some good things and some bad things. The shelves of the library are full many other captivating books to choose from. The list of people that qualify for the prizes is getting bigger every day, so be quick to stop by and add your name to the list.