It’s been a shattering year for seventeen-year-old Zoe, who’s still reeling from her father’s shockingly sudden death in a caving accident and her neighbors’ mysterious disappearance from their own home. Then on a terrifying sub-zero, blizzardy night in Montana, she and her brother are brutally attacked in a cabin in the woods–only to be rescued by a mysterious bounty hunter they call X.
X is no ordinary bounty hunter. He is from a hell called the Lowlands, sent to claim the soul of Zoe’s evil attacker and others like him. Forbidden to reveal himself to anyone other than his victims, X casts aside the Lowlands’ rules for Zoe. As X and Zoe learn more about their different worlds, they begin to question the past, their fate, and their future. But escaping the Lowlands and the ties that bind X might mean the ultimate sacrifice for both of them.
Gripping and full of heart, this epic journey will bring readers right to the edge of everything.
Disclaimer: We received a copy of this book from NetGalley courtesy of the publisher (Bloomsbury)
Why we chose it: Both the cover and the description grabbed us. They were enticing, they were intriguing and so we did a little research on the author. What we liked, we found.
Review: The Edge of Everything has left us conflicted. Our mind is in many factions – somewhere between like, love and minor dislike. The book wasn’t perfect, but we’ll get to that later.
The first thing that struck us is the same thing that we always notice first. Our main character. In The Edge of Everything that main character is Zoe. Her point of view is told in third person which works perfectly – it allows an intimate look at her persona without getting caught up in unnecessary detail the way a lot of books do. Let’s start with how funny she is…..
Damn that girl is hilarious. On numerous occasions at the start of and throughout the novel we laughed out loud. Thankfully there was no one around to offer us weird looks or ask questions that would distract us from reading. We can’t stress how wonderfully Jeff Giles captured an authentic sense of humour that has just enough sarcasm and elements of oddity. Zoe’s thoughts and mannerisms came across as unique to her. She’s not a used up trope or an archetype. You’ll find there are some aspects of her character that are flawed (genuinely flawed) but we won’t mention what they are just yet.
After the original sense of giddiness that overtook us we hit that point in a book where you wonder “Are we getting too much information, too soon?” It’s not necessarily the author’s fault – they’ve got a whole world with a cast of characters and a backstory to introduce us to. They’ve got to do it quickly and coherently so we don’t start asking questions later on like “When were we told the colour of Zoe’s eyes?” or “What was Zoe’s relationship with her Dad?” For a moment Jeff Giles managed to annoy us in the way he wrote it (an almost flashback scene that we usually have a thing against)
After a small break we continued on, but it wasn’t long before we hit another snag that had us truly contemplating never reading another word from this book again.
In an event (that we won’t disclose any details on besides what’s given in the description) Zoe meets a guy she’ll come to call X. Jonah, Zoe’s brother meets him too, but Jonah isn’t what’s of importance right now. What’s important is that we feel the connection between Zoe and X is almost immediately too strong despite the event with undisclosed details mentioned above. To us, as readers and reviewers it’s okay for two characters to instantly have a connection. A weak one and maybe even a moderately strong connection, just enough to build on. It felt like what was between X and Zoe had already been built on prior to their meeting which seemed very odd to us…..
We even had to re-read a few pages repeatedly to see if there’d been some sort of time jump we’d skimmed over or something that could explain it to us. We couldn’t and then as our frustration built so did a headache which caused us to stop reading, take a drink and think.
Could we overlook what’s almost like instalove, but isn’t? Could we read on knowing that from this point on a book that had started out promising despite a little flaw could turn into a full on disaster? It was surprising really that we could. We simply liked Zoe in a singular way that allowed us to.
X himself is an interesting character away from Zoe for us. His life…..life is an exaggeration, but we lack a better word and the type of magic depicted are borderline fascinating. We also liked the characters who came along with him as his story thread was woven in. Ripper and Banger, as well as others proved entertaining. They were more than just secondary characters there to fill a role. They added heart and emotion in a similar way that the other character of Zoe’s life such as her brother (we mentioned him briefly earlier) and her best friend Val.
In particular though, there’s something about children characters that we can’t help, but adore when done right. Jeff Giles definitely does it right in The Edge of Everything. Jonah is beyond perfect including his ADHD, he’s so wondrous and loving that if at any point during our read or in the future we discover a way to spirit him off the page and into our life then we will do so. His interactions with the world and his uniqueness made him easy to fall in love with. For everyone to fall in love with. Zoe of course being the older sibling could be at times impatient with him. On occasion she acted wrongly towards him and that made us want to act in a way that resembles violence toward her.
(We don’t condone violence towards characters in books. It’s unlikely to end well, but Jeff Giles seems to have a thing for weaving emotion)
The plot of the book itself isn’t all that unique if we’re honest and we’re always honest when it comes to books. A girl and indeed a family coming to grips with the loss of a father and a bounty hunter forbidden to reveal anything to said girl. It’s pretty generic right? Especially the fact that he breaks all the rules for this one girl. X breaks all the rules for Zoe and together the two of them discover what fate has in store and what the future may hold.
Blah, blah, blah.
What spices this book up and makes it not all about the forbidden couple is that it actually takes the time and the words to show you how the girl comes to grips with the loss of her father. How she tries to come to grips with the loss of her father. It shows how breaking the rules has consequences, but that these consequences are limited to those members central to the crime. Not the world. This isn’t a save the world book. It isn’t even a book that shoves insane Ripper and hilarious Val to the sidelines because there’s a muscly boy on the loose.
It’s a book that manages to tell a story and not the remnants of one.
As we neared the end of the book there were some twists and turns that we didn’t see coming. At all. Our theories on what was going to happen didn’t pan out….well, one did, but you don’t need to know that. When the book ended, we were satisfied with the ending. It didn’t feel rushed and it didn’t have a false happy ending to please the reading public. It was honest to the story being told and we appreciated that.
To conclude, while The Edge of Everywhere has some problems they’re not too big and can be overlooked. In terms of those factions we stated at the very start of this review, we’ve found a home for our opinions on this book. It’s a book that we almost love, but can’t truly. At least not yet. It’s possible that in the future after some re-reads we will indeed love it because the book certainly has the potential to be loved due to the writing style and as always the characters who can make or break anything.
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