Friday, January 20, 2017

Book Review: The Edge of Everything

Title: The Edge of Everything (Untitled #1)
Author: Jeff Giles
Genre: Young Adult | Urban Fantasy | Romance
Publisher: Bloomsbury USA Childrens
Publication Date: January 31, 2017
Source: BEA
Format: ARC

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 (goodreads).

The Edge of Everything was a unique read, but that's the most praise I can give it. 

 Plot: In the midst of a blizzard, Zoe finds herself looking for her younger brother and two dogs. While seeking shelter in a neighboring home, she comes across a man who wants to cause her family nothing but pain. Enter X, the bounty hunter who is charged with bringing the souls of evil men to the Lowlands. X's introduction causes nothing but unanswered questions for Zoe's family, like who is this mysterious man that wants them dead, and what are the Lowlands?

The Edge of Everything starts with a bang, but I kept questioning "why" these events were even happening. Why did her brother wander off in a dangerous snowstorm? Why is this man so hell bent on killing them? Why is any of this happening? I don't think I got a clear answer for any of my questions. The novel teased a lot of deeper events that didn't make an appearance until the last few chapters of the novel and didn't seem to have anything to do with what was happening in The Edge of Everything. I considered DNFing this book a few times, but I was stubborn and I wanted to know what this novel was working toward. That ending was not worth me staying up late at night, I can tell you that.

Characters: The Edge of Everything has a unique perspective. It is told through alternating third-person narrative with each chapter focusing on a specific person. So even though terms like, "he," "she," "they," are mentioned, an entire chapter can be told through Zoe's eyes. That was hard for me to wrap my head around, and I usually would forget who we were supposed to be following. In addition to being confusing, this style of voice didn't give either character a definitive voice.

As for the characters themselves, they were "meh." Every interaction and every piece of dialogue was laughable and didn't have any substance. I felt like I was watching a tennis match with the amount of dialogue, but most of it felt like "bit" pieces; like characters were saying things just to be funny or quirky - no interaction carried any real emotion. And don't get me started on the insta-love.

Worldbuilding: Giles states that the novel takes place in Montana very early on, but I often forgot the setting. This is due in part that Zoe only floats through her town and doesn't make use of her surroundings. This world could have been Anytown, USA for all I'm concerned, only the in-depth paragraphs relating to the caving-culture showed that Zoe's surroundings were distinguishable.

Short N Sweet: The Edge of Everything suffers from bland characters, instalove, and a boring storyline. I wish I could have liked this one more.


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