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.
The Edge of Everything is a fun combination of contemporary and fantasy. For me, it was a mix of ingredients that tasted good and a few that tasted bland. It has some elements that I find typical in the YA world but at the same time it also contains some unique elements that made the story a little intriguing. Jeff Giles’ depiction of hell in this book is one of the unique ones, daring his readers to reimagine the image of hell that they have in their mind. He skillfully combined the real world with the dark netherworld feels of the Lowlands —his version of hell run by hundreds of powerful lords —where the souls of unrepentant criminals were held.
The supernatural aspect of the book came to me as a pleasant surprise and we have that beautiful cover to blame for looking so contemporary-like. (I promise to read the whole blurb next time!) I had realistic expectations and the book was giving me that until Zoe meets X —a bounty hunter sent from hell. X collects the souls of criminals who goes unpunished and drag them to the Lowlands. It wasn’t clear what the lords of the Lowlands do to those evil souls as punishment aside from holding them in prison. Some of them get to train and become bounty hunters but what of the others?
“These souls we take have given up all claims on humanity. They are garbage—and we are dustmen.”
The introduction of the Lowlands was the best part of this book for me, though there were hazy parts to it that could use more detail. The place obviously have rules but what are they? How does the lords chose whose soul to take next? Were they allowed to take the soul of a simple thief or does the crime have to be heinous before they’re allowed to act? Will the lords suffer consequences if they kill an innocent? The Lowlands gave me the impression that it exist to serve justice —one that the laws above ground failed to deliver —to remorseless criminals alone. Yet the lords just go on hurting whomever they want towards the end of the book without fear of any consequences. The Lowlands was my favorite part and I would love to see it properly delineated in the next book.
The prologue immediately hooked me into the story but Zoe just have to ruin that for me by immediately being an ass to her brother. All my initial interest for the realistic world simply vanished into thin air the moment Zoe stepped in. Who claims to love her brother and call him dumb, let him play outside the house in a blizzard because she’s too fucking busy texting and couldn’t be bothered to deal with him?! Also I still don’t know what to make of that part where she saw her attacker paralyzed in the snow and was about to be killed by some strange guy who comes out of nowhere and the first thing she could think of was… Instagram? Like, damn that guy’s got some muscles! Let me take a picture of him for Instaworld! Is she fucking serious?
So yeah, Zoe and I had a very unpleasant start. She was an independent and strong character but I couldn’t bring myself to completely like her. Sometimes I think I’m starting to warm up to her character then she would do something irritating before I even get there. That part where she called her ADHD brother “little shit” while the boy was having tantrums because he’s terribly missing their dead father was the last straw. I stopped bothering to try to like her after that. I just wanted someone in that book to please slap Zoe in the face so she may see that not everything is about her.
X was way more likeable and interesting character. It was him and the mysteries that surrounds him that propels me to read this book despite Zoe’s wearisome parts. The blurb called him a “mysterious bounty hunter” but to me he doesn’t fit in the bounty hunter’s description. Doesn’t bounty hunters willingly hunt people for the offered rewards? In X’s case he hunts criminals because he was forced to and who says anything about a reward? There’s none. Nope. Not a dime. Don’t expect a number of reward-driven bounty hunters competing and running around chasing after the same target in this book. It’s not there.
X was undoubtedly the delicious, dark, and mysterious character in this book and normally if the romantic interest is like that then I’m all in. Surprisingly, not this time! Because I really liked Dallas. X was all serious stuff while I get to have a good laugh with Dallas. It’s just sad how he’d been reduced to someone that Zoe only remembered when she needed some help.
The romance was so typical and unimpressive. I didn’t buy it at all. Zoe and X met one horrible night. Next thing I read was they’re inseparable. That’s before they even know anything about each other! Ugh! There are books like The Sun Is Also a Star that presents an unfathomable speed in romantic development and still come out delightful. Proof that insta-love isn’t always awful. It can be done!
Silence, her mother liked to say, could heal you or it could make you crazy. It all depended on how you listened to it.
The Edge of Everything contains both engaging and galling qualities. It tells a story of grief and loss, of family and love, with a touch of the supernatural. It didn’t sit perfectly well with me but there were parts that I like. This might turn to be a fun read for supernatural romance and urban fantasy lovers who doesn’t mind some insta-love.