The Edge of Everythingby Jeff Giles
Published on January 31, 2017 by Bloomsbury USA Childrens
Genres: Paranormal, Young Adult
For the perfect love, what would you be willing to lose?
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. X is forbidden from revealing himself to anyone other than his prey, but he casts aside the Lowlands’ rules for Zoe. As they learn more about their colliding worlds, they begin to question the past, their fate, and their future.
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I struggled to rate this book, to come up with a coherent enough review that captured my thoughts. The Edge of Everything had moments where I couldn’t stop reading, where I was sucked right into the world alongside the characters. But just as frequently I put it down, whether out of boredom or simply a lack of interest in the story. So by the end of the book, after several sections of binge-reading and moments of almost DNFing the whole thing, I had a lot of mixed feelings.
On the positive end of things, the writing is good. Giles as a way of really setting a scene (not counting the info dumps that became a tad bit annoying) in a way that both felt like an urban fantasy and a contemporary. It gave the book a different spin compared to a lot of the books I read. And the characters were solid on their own, though nothing about them stuck with me post-read.
My issues began with the pacing. Sometimes, I’d be hooked and unable to put it down. Yet for every one of these moments, which were randomly scattered throughout, there were just as many times that dragged and dragged. I love a good supernatural/paranormal story but this one just didn’t quite seem to reach that same level of interest for me as others.
Next came the insta-love. I rarely see a need for this kind of romance in any book or any genre even. I love to ship characters and if I can’t find a reason to then we have a problem. There was nothing about the romance to indicate there be a reason for them to be together, so why should I, as a reader, care? The beginning of The Edge of Everything started pretty strong and I was invested in the story but it soon turned to the romance playing a far more dominant role, which doesn’t work when the romance isn’t really built on anything in the first place.
Now I mentioned that the characters, individually, were pretty decent. Put them together and it’s a bunch of tropes with half not really serving much of a purpose. I just never connected with any of them. There was a distance between me and them that wasn’t working.
Also, brief trigger mention but there’s a short section related to animal violence and cruelty which is personally one of my only triggers and I almost put it down for that alone.
A lot was going on in this book. You get action, some (not so good) romance, mystery, and a supernatural element. But while that worked for some parts of The Edge of Everything, overall I think that perhaps it would have been nicer to see a stronger focus on fewer elements but with more development. Closer to the inch wide, mile deep idea versus the other way around.
I’m not sure if I’d really recommend this book. It received a lot of hype and, for me, it wasn’t warranted, but if that many people did enjoy it then perhaps it just wasn’t a good fit for me and others will enjoy it more. So if insta-love and uneven pacing doesn’t bother you, then I would give it a go. For me, it was an… interesting ride.