Monday, July 24, 2017

THE EDGE OF EVERYTHING BY JEFF GILES - BOOK REVIEW

I'm not really too sure what I thought this book would be about going in, but it was definitely not what I ended up getting - in a good way.

Hello everyone!

I am back with another book review, today it is The Edge of Everything by Jeff Giles.



The story follows 17-year-old Zoe and her mom and brother after the death of her father. One afternoon, while her mom is out, her little brother wanders off outside in the middle of a blizzard. Zoe eventually finds her brother and makes it back to their neighbours house - the neighbours that had gone missing, leaving behind signs of a struggle. When they are attacked by a man claiming to know their father, Zoe fears for the worst. But a mysterious bounty hunter who Zoe dubbs "X" rescues them and almost kills the man. The family soon realizes that X is no regular guy and that he is a bounty hunter for lords in a place called the Lowlands. As the story goes on, X and Zoe's relationship grows and they struggle with creating a future for themselves when they come from two very different worlds.

I think my main mistake with this book was thinking that A) it was all set in the wilderness/part where they were lost. It's not. That part takes up a few chapters at most. But the synopsis leads you to believe that it takes over the whole book, and B) this was a contemporary with some fantasy elements/magic instead of an urban fantasy. Generally, I'm not the biggest fan of urban fantasy because I have a hard time wrapping my head around the idea of it.

This book was actually a lot more contemporary than I thought it was going to be. There are parts when X is around and you can tell in those parts it's fantasy, but for a lot of the story, X and Zoe are separated and it's just Zoe's life or it's just X's life. This separation led to kind of a two in one situation for me - a full on high fantasy and a contemporary. I think this set up is a hard one to get right, which is why I usually avoid urban fantasy. I do believe, however, that Giles was able to make it work and keep me interested for the whole book, not just some parts that leaned more to the genres I prefer.

I thought the story was very original and unique. I've read similar stories where some creature like an alien or something comes to Earth, etc. but this bounty hunter idea was really interesting. Giles did a great job explaining things, the concept isn't too hard to wrap your head around if you believe in that afterlife kind of thing, but some of the nuances and specific details were explained well.

The story is broken into four parts, alternating Zoe and X's narrations in third-person. I thought the writing style and narration type was well chosen for this book. I didn't find the voices similar, and I didn't find that there was a lot of disconnect with the characters, like you sometimes get with third-person narration.

Character wise, I think I preferred X over Zoe. There were just some things she did and some decisions she made that struck me as immature. I won't spoil anything, but there was a situation at the end of the book where I was hoping she was going to choose one thing, but then she chose the other, and then kind of compromised in the end. She just seemed a little wishy-washy at times. But I still very much enjoyed her voice and her relationships.

I think that's another thing I really liked about this book, every character was unique but at the same time, not clich├ęd. The supporting characters - Zoe's brother, her friend, her ex, her mom, even X's friends in the Lowlands - I felt like I knew them all in a deeper way than you usually know background characters.

The only thing I didn't love about this book was the romance. I knew it was coming, hello, it's two teenagers. It's not a YA story without one. But I just felt like it was a little rushed. I think I was about 100 pages in and they were already thinking about love. I definitely think there could have been something between them, but once that was brought up so early on, it just kind of killed it for me. I felt like they didn't even know each other yet. By the end, some decisions made based on that 'love' bothered me, but otherwise I was able to push past it in the story.

I'm not sure if this book is the first in a series or not, but if it is, I am looking forward to the next book. If not, I think how things ended here are wrapped up nicely.

Overall, I really liked this one, and if you are like me and usually avoid urban fantasy, I'd say pick this one up!