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.
I received this ARC while attending BEA earlier this year in exchange for a voluntary and honest review. I was in no way compensated by this review.
The Edge of Everything by Jeff Giles sounded like my kind of read. Boy from a mysterious plane of existence who is sent to earth to “retrieve” the souls of those who do unspeakable and unforgiveable crimes meets girl from earth who is ordinary in every way and fall in love. Sure, it sounds like something we’ve read before, but I had hope for something great and wonderful. But sadly, it just wasn’t meant to be.
I think the first thing that threw me off was the narration. I’ve read third person plenty of times before, but I felt like this was a very distant kind of third person. The way things were told, really just felt like telling, no showing whatsoever. Zoe did this. Zoe felt this. X felt this. X did this. I literally felt no connection to these characters and it sadden me, because from what little I could grasp, they seemed like interesting sorts, definitely X in that regard. Zoe felt a little flat to me. She didn’t have much depth. Or at least none that I could really see. And worst of all was her insta-love connection with X because it was pretty freaking insta.
But let me try to explain things, X is from a place you can think of as hell in some ways. He is ruled by the “lords” who are kind of demon like. He’s told to kill the bad guys and bring their souls back. It’s when he’s on such a task that he meets Zoe because he basically rescues her from said bad guy when he was trying to hurt her dogs—thankfully no dogs are hurt in this book because I would’ve likely quit it right there and then. Zoe asks X not to kill the bad guy though, because X is better than that.
And so begins a tale that gets a little muddy and convoluted. X ends up staying with Zoe’s family for a bit and since Zoe’s dad died not too long ago, the male role model for her younger brother is nice. Plus Zoe is falling in love with him. X has a kind of innocence to him for he’s not really evil at all. He’s done “bad” things only because he was told to by higher powers. He has a kind of innocence to him. In some ways, he’s kind of naive. But naturally, romance sparks, and naturally it’s forbidden because X is supposed to return home.
The story is told kind of oddly. Like I said, it’s third person point of view, but a sort of omniscient third person. If that’s even a thing. We get to see what’s happening with Zoe in one “part” and then part two follows X and then part three goes back and forth between the two. I truly think it was this particular point of view that messed me up. I felt so disconnected with the characters, that I really didn’t care what happened to them. I merely read just to see what happened because I realized about 2/3 through that I wasn’t really enjoying myself, but felt committed to seeing this book through. But the narration…never have I felt this sort of disconnect. I still don’t feel like I know who Zoe or X are except that Zoe is madly in love with X. Which that does bother me because they’ve barely said more than a handful of words to each other before Zoe is making this declaration. And yeah, I am not a fan of insta love. Sometimes it can be made to work, in the sense that I can tolerate it, and other times it just doesn’t work whatsoever for me and this was definitely a case of the latter.
Soon X is given an ultimatum; he is to retrieve one more soul and then he can be free from this hell and live on earth with Zoe. But should he fail…then yeah, unspeakable things shall happen! I felt like once X knew who that soul was, I knew too. Because I felt like it was just the kind of twist to really shake things up and I ended up being right. The ending though, wasn’t one I saw coming. Am I happy by the surprise? Well…I’m not sure I feel anything really. Again, I mention the disconnect I had with the characters. It was all tell, tell, tell, and forget about showing! It’s quite possible that this is meant to be a series of some sort, I am not completely sure, but sadly it’s not one I plan to continue. I am usually all for any kind of point of view narration but the way this one was told just did not work for me at all. I was not made to care for the characters like one should when reading. Sadly, this book just wasn’t for me despite the huge potential.
Overall Rating 2/5 stars
The Edge of Everything releases January 31, 2017