The Edge of Everything: For the perfect love, what would you be willing to lose?

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The Edge of Everything by Jeff GilesThe Edge of Everything by Jeff GilesThe Edge of Everything by Jeff Giles

It’s not been the best year for Zoe. What with her father’s death in a caving accident, her neighbour’s disappearance and then the fact that she is brutally attacked with her younger brother in a cabin in the woods, it’s fair to say things have been better. But with the arrival of the mysterious paranormal bounty hunter “X”, everything is about to change.

On the surface, The Edge of Everything might look like your average contemporary YA novel, but it is far darker than many readers will expect. The tortured (and suitably broody) X has been tasked with hunting those that have done evil deeds in their life. He then plays them their life events before brutally murdering them and sending their soul to hell. He is not supposed to reveal himself to anyone other than his victims, and when he reveals himself to Zoe, it is unsurprising that things get messy. X comes from the Lowlands and it is his job to serve the mysterious higher power as a bounty hunter. Imprisoned in this ghoulish role, it’s no wonder X is a wee bit of a brooder.

Zoe fulfils everything readers will come to expect from a YA heroine: she’s plucky, strong, suitably sarcastic, and (of course) irrevocably in love with the brooding bad boy. Whilst she is perhaps not the most original of protagonists, she’ll certainly tick the boxes for those looking to enjoy the familiar tropes of YA. X is a nice counterpoint to Zoe, though he’s again reminiscent of the list of tortured love interests in the genre that have come before him.

Whilst not quite as convincing as our protagonists, the supporting cast nonetheless provides a host of interesting characters. Zoe’s brother is an eccentric character with ADHD and her relationship with her best friend will chime with many readers. Although the side characters won’t feel ground-breaking to those familiar with the genre, the strength of Zoe as a character is enough to pull the story through.

The ill-fated love between Zoe and X is certainly swoon-worthy and keeps the pace of The Edge of Everything propelled from the get go, but readers are going to find fault with the insta-love. Granted, these are teens and the hormones are raging, but even so, love at first sight is always a bit of a stretch. All little bit more build-up would’ve gone a long way.

Jeff Giles triumphs in creating a well-paced love story with elements of horror, mystery and action — and the fact that it’s paranormal adds an interesting spin to Zoe’s distinctively contemporary voice. The Edge of Everything  is an enjoyable read that ticks many of the YA boxes regular readers of the genre will enjoy.

Published in January 2017. When their worlds collide, X and Zoe are pushed to the edge of everything in this tour de force from Entertainment Weekly veteran Jeff Giles. 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 shocking death in a caving accident and her neighbors’ mysterious disappearance from their own home. Then on a terrifying subzero, blizzardy night in Montana, she and her brother are brutally attacked 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. But escaping the Lowlands and the ties that bind X might mean the ultimate sacrifice for them both. Gripping and full of heart, this epic start to a new series will bring readers right to the edge of everything.

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RACHAEL "RAY" MCKENZIE, with us since December 2014, was weaned onto fantasy from a young age. She grew up watching Studio Ghibli movies and devoured C.S. Lewis’ CHRONICLES OF NARNIA not long after that (it was a great edition as well -- a humongous picture-filled volume). She then moved on to the likes of Pullman’s HIS DARK MATERIALS trilogy and adored The Hobbit (this one she had on cassette -- those were the days). A couple of decades on, she is still a firm believer that YA and fantasy for children can be just as relevant and didactic as adult fantasy. Her firm favourites are the British greats: Terry Pratchett, Douglas Adams and Neil Gaiman, and she’s recently discovered Ben Aaronovitch too. Her tastes generally lean towards Urban Fantasy but basically anything with compelling characters has her vote.

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One comment

  1. It sounds like fans of the genre will enjoy this one, insta-love aside.

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  1. Reading Links 4/25/17 – Where Genres Collide - […] http://www.fantasyliterature.com/reviews/the-edge-of-everything/ It’s been a bad year for Zoe. But with the arrival of the mysterious X, things are about…

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