Thursday, 9 February 2017

Review: The Edge of Everything by Jeff Giles

The Edge of Everything by Jeff Giles
Publisher: Bloomsbury Children's
Released: February 9th 2017
My Rating: 1.5 stars out of 5
Find it on Goodreads
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 neighbours’ 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.
(from Goodreads)

Once again, I have found myself in a position where I strongly dislike a book that most other people seem to love. I’m not too sure why this keeps happening, and I was really looking forward to reading The Edge of Everything because of the amazing things I had heard. In the end, I just had too many issues with the book to enjoy it. Of course, this is just my opinion, and you may enjoy this book much more than I did (like the majority of people!), so it is up to you to read a range of reviews and decide if you want to pick it up or not.

I’ll start with what I did like: I enjoyed the prologue, it got me interested in the rest of the story and made me (initially) want to read on to find out how the characters knew each other. I also loved the dogs, Spock and Uhura, because they were awesome and saved the life of one of the characters by keeping him warm in a blizzard. Another character I liked was Ripper; she was actually funny (a rare thing in this book) and was a no nonsense sort of person who did what she wanted when she wanted to, if that’s what she thought needed to be done.

Unfortunately, I had issues with pretty much everything else. Starting with the main character, Zoe. She just lacked personality. I knew nothing about her, other than she used to go caving with her father. And I couldn’t get over the fact that, while witnessing a crime/weird crazy magical event where her life was very much in danger, she paused to take a photo and then proceeded to actually upload it to Instagram. And then she was somehow surprised when this came back to bite her – I mean, really? Who does this? Is this what the author thinks of teenagers, that they’re so obsessed with social media than even when one is in the presence of a murderer, they would stop to take an Instagram photo?! I love social media, I really do. I use it every day and it is an amazing tool, but who would actually take an Instagram photo in the middle of an attempted murder? I mean, maybe I could understand if she were well hidden and were trying to take pictures for evidence, but she took a photo of some tattoos she thought were pretty. I’m not even a teenager, and I found this incredibly insulting.

Next was X. X had a somewhat interesting backstory, and I felt there was real potential to develop his character. Unfortunately, he became victim to insta-love, and most of his point of view was him obsessing over Zoe. He had no other characteristics other than "love Zoe" so yeah, I didn’t like him. He claimed he loved her 33% of the way in. They had met a few days ago, and literally knew nothing about each other. Really. Zoe had no idea who he was, where he came from or what he had done in the past, and all X knew about Zoe was that he liked her “blurting” and her face. He didn’t know anything else about her life at all. I really struggled to believe their “love” for each other, and the actions this led them to take. Especially Zoe; she sided with X after knowing him a week, over [spoiler, highlight to read]her own father? I completely understood her father had abandoned her family and had done terrible things in his youth, and I get her being angry, but she was willing to let him die without even hearing an explanation. She’d rather her own father die than some guy she met five minutes ago[end of spoiler]. X himself also made some very questionable choices, and despite knowing I was supposed to sympathise with him and his "forbidden love" for Zoe, I never did. It was so strange the way he and Zoe came to all these decisions, and I just couldn’t understand it.

I also couldn’t believe Zoe’s mum, because she just let X into the house despite knowing he was involved in a crime, and then let her daughter frolic around with him when there was some clearly shady stuff going on. And the Q and A session about the Lowlands was laughable, because it answered nothing and would not have eased any of my concerns at all. Jonah was probably the most realistic character, because he did act like a child, though perhaps a child younger than his actual age.

Furthermore, there was zero world-building. Nothing made sense. We were told that X was from the “Lowlands”, and we got to visit there a few times, but nothing else was explained. Zoe and her mother had no idea what the “Lowlands” were, and yet somehow assumed you’d have to do bad things to get “sent” there. Why would they make that assumption? If the regular world didn’t know this place existed, how could they guess that? And I was so confused about what the Lowlands were. They were somehow in the core of the Earth? Where actually? A place in another dimension? Was it hell? Was there a magic system? What was the weird magic/back movie screen thing that X could do (seriously, what was that)? How did people survive there? How did it come to be in the first place? How did the governing system work? We were told about these “Lords” that made up rules and all these strange laws they had, but they didn’t seem at all consistent (the trial of X) and I had no idea why it all happened in the first place. And how did the regular world not know about the Lowlands? Why and how was it kept hidden? I wanted some sort of explanation, and none was given at all.

Plot-wise, it was all over the place. It went back and forth between X and Zoe, randomly focusing on different things each time, some of which were a little bit boring and seemed unnecessary. Everything was also very over the top, and overdramatic, which kept bringing me out of the story, and as a result, it was also easy to predict a lot of what was going to happen – because I knew it would be the most dramatic thing possible. I also struggled to grasp the relevance of the title to the actual story. I know this doesn’t really matter, but even metaphorically, it doesn’t seem to fit at all, and if I’m being honest, that bothered me. I like titles to match the books.

Overall, I really didn’t like this book. There were no redeeming qualities that I could say made it worth reading. I do seem to be in the minority, so would once again advise you to read more reviews, and make your own mind up. However, speaking honestly, I would not recommend this book. 

2 comments:

  1. Just from the synopsis I can tell you I'd hate this one. After your review I'm for sure not reading it. Sounds terrible. Why are books like this so popular?

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  2. I didn't really know much about this one - besides seeing the cover around. Definitely doesn't sound like the right book for me. Zoe does seem quite "stupid" if you will taking pictures and uploading them when she could be in real danger. Definitely not something most people would do.

    -Lauren
    www.letsgetbeyondtolerance.blogspot.com

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