The Edge of Everything by Jeff Giles

f3.53.5 stars

The Edge of Everything is a paranormal fantasy revolving around our main female protagonist Zoe and the mysterious bounty hunter from the Lowlands she meets and names X.

It’s an edge-of-your-seat kind of urban fantasy that introduces magical and paranormal aspects to our modern world.

I enjoyed reading this novel–the action and adventure were fun and the world-building of the Lowlands and the prisoners & bounty hunters living there were exciting.

The only part that fell flat in my eyes were some of the characters & the romance, which I’ll talk about more.

Zoe has had a rough year as her father has died in a caving accident and her elderly neighbors have disappeared and been killed. On a freezing night in Montana, Zoe loses track of her brother and they are eventually attacked in a cabin in the woods but then rescued by the mysterious bounty hunter they call X.

She and her family find out more about X and the hell he comes from. He is a bounty hunter that hunts those who committed crimes & carries out revenge on those people through death.

Here is the official summary:

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.

I really should have expected insta-romance the moment I read the first part of the summary, but who actually reads the italics? Not me, apparently.

For a perfect love, what would you be willing to lose?

Not my brother, that’s for sure. To talk about the romance, we have to go through the characters first.

Zoe is our female main protagonist. She’s lost her father to a mining accident recently, and her mother works hard to keep their family afloat as her brother also has ADHD.

I thought she was an okay character, not really connecting to her very much. The part that peeved me was how she treated her eight year old brother, Jonah, who she knows has ADHD.

Even if he didn’t have ADHD, she would still be a pretty mean sister. She doesn’t spend a lot of time with him and lets him play outside barely supervised through the window, which is what gets them into the whole mess.

I’m not asking for her to be perfect, because then it’d be a pretty boring book, but she doesn’t have a lot of patience with her brother which kills my heart.

Zoe is a little self-absorbed and I didn’t connect too great with her because of her relationship with Jonah. When she does do something for him, it’s usually because it aligns with her own self-interests as well.

She’s rebellious at times, not following her mother’s wishes even though what she’s going to do might be dangerous or make her mom worry.

I wasn’t too keen on her character.

On the other hand, X should have been a very interesting character. Coming from the Lowlands and the only bounty hunter who hasn’t committed a sin (except for killing sinners and bringing them to the Lowlands) as he was born in the Lowlands, X is kind of a blank slate.

He spent most of his childhood in a cell, raised by the supposedly insane Ripper who lives in the cell next door. X can’t read, and he speaks in an antiquated way.

The only time he’s left was when he has to chase down someone & kill them, which is what happened on the night he met Zoe.

X doesn’t know who his parents are, but besides his identity as an innocent bounty hunter, he’s pretty much a blank slate.

As it is told through an alternating 3rd person limited POV, we can see X doesn’t have very much thought. One would assume he would have formed opinions about some topic or have a sort of wanderlust to know what the world is like, but he’s honestly kind of boring.

This all changes when he meets Zoe, and it’s basically love at first sight for him. X finds Zoe the most beautiful creature and is willing to risk his neck (on multiple occasions) just to talk to her.

It’s the same on Zoe’s end, except it’s more of a love-at-first-ab thing for her. She comments on his tattoos and muscular figure on multiple occasions, especially with her best friend Val.

They both instantly fall in love with each other and commit large amounts of time to thinking about the other or trying to be with each other.

I can’t see what their relationship is based off of. It’s more lust than love, but there are no racy scenes. X is like a foal who knows nothing of romance. I’m pretty sure he just likes Zoe because she’s the only female his age who’s ever expressed compassion towards him. And Zoe just likes him because he’s hot.

I wish there was more slow burn and buildup to their relationship that gave it basis, flirty looks throughout the first novel and maybe one brush of the lips. I just found their whole romance rushed and couldn’t really see what they liked about the other besides their aesthetics.

X risks his neck on multiple occasions just to see Zoe, and his stupid mistakes causes him to not be with her. It’s like a child getting into a pool, dipping their toe in and then a second later “oops!” decides they don’t want to do something (or in this case, kill someone) which leads to a lot of issues. You either get in or get out, no halfsies. X is indecisive on killing people after he meets Zoe, even though he had barely any qualms about it before. He needs to woman up and make a decision, whether it’s be punished eternally for having a moral compass or screwing morals and getting to be with Zoe, not this half-and-half thing.

There’s also a really weird mind-reading thing that wasn’t explained very well? I’m not sure how it works but I think Giles was trying to say it was part of Zoe and X’s “connection” or something? The mind reading is unclear and hopefully will be clarified in future books.

Despite the shortcomings with the main characters, I enjoyed the side characters a lot.

Zoe’s mom is sweet and hardworking and pretty bad-ass for keeping stray tattooed men in her garage; Jonah is innocent and fun and adds a childlike humor; Ripper is well developed with her backstory on how she killed a maid in the 19th century with a tea kettle and now acts insane.

I liked the side characters a lot, especially Ripper & her bad-assery while still being a nice person. They were, in my opinion, much more enjoyable to read than the main protagonists.

The plot was interesting & would have been so much better if it didn’t have the romance in it. I came in wanting action, adventure, fighting, dark, gruesome jazz but instead I got baby Fred Savage.

Image result for a kissing book gif

Yes, Fred. Yes it is.

Luckily, I have some pretty awesome filters in my head so I managed to filter out the insta-love and filter in the action. Which meant I read like 30% of the book and filtered out the other 70%.

The pacing was a little slower than I would have liked due to the romance, but we had a fair amount of suspenseful scenes, and I liked the plot twists that Giles threw at us and how he executed them.

The basis for the plot was intriguing and the entire concept behind the novel was so exciting, like a bounty hunter from hell? Sign me up, sista!

There were still good points such as the awesome caving details Giles provided us with and details about the Lowlands, like how all the people who come to the Lowlands are stripped of their name, and it’s the same case with X.

And despite my ambivalence to certain aspects of the book, I still might purchase a hardback copy because

  1. I saw a lightly used hardback at Goodwill for $5 which is what prompted me to read this novel in the first place;
  2. The cover is uber pretty. I love text-based covers and this is such a cool snowy looking cover, even with the fires spurting out everywhere. It’s got that soft, supple feet to the material and has a UV plastic-y coating over the text.

Overall I had an okay time reading it since I’m not a hardcore fantasy person and will still be looking forward to reading the next book as I want to see more of the Lowlands and the awesome characters from there, but I’m not sure if I would recommend this to people who love a good fantasy as the romance is pretty central to the plot. I think gooey-eyed romantics (there’s nothing wrong with these people!) would like reading this book as it’s a love-at-first-exposed-ab kind of situation.

compressed gifHave you read The Edge of Everything? What did you think of the novel? Leave your thoughts + any questions below!

 

 

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