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. Forbidden to reveal himself to anyone other than his victims, X casts aside the Lowlands’ rules for Zoe. As X and Zoe learn more about their different 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 both of them.
Description taken from Goodreads.
Call me a black sheep, but this is one of those rare books where I have no idea why people love it so much. I was determined to love this one because, like a few other books I’ve mentioned, I met the author at BEA and he was great, but it didn’t work out for me. I usually DNF around 20% if the book isn’t working out for me because I wanted to see things get better (I eventually gave up at 34%) but I couldn’t handle it.
In the beginning, I thought the writing style was funny, comparable to that of Lemony Snicket and other writers with out-there dry humor and unusual voices. However, that amusement quickly drifted off when I found out that nothing was going to change anything soon. There were many what is this? moments while I was reading, and much of that can be attributed to the writing. I had the feeling that I was on the outside looking in the entire time I was reading the book, and I didn’t connect with any of the characters.
To YA or not to YA?
You either can write an authentic young-adult voice or you can’t. This falls into the latter category, as it reads like it’s written by an adult who tries too hard to connect with teens. It uses slang, and it tries to be of-the-moment, but none of it feels natural. Instead, it made me cringe and took away from the characters’ authenticity.
Really, the general feeling of this book can be summed up as insanely weird. On a conscious level, I could vaguely remember the synopsis of the book, but that didn’t line up with what I was reading. Sure, Zoe and her brother are attacked up in the mountains. That part was written very well, and I was sucked into the story, but then X came in and beat up the guy, who calls himself Stan the Man. He’s a guy who knew Zoe’s dad, and he’s sorta/kinda crazy, and Zoe feels bad for him so she lets him go, and then she finds out that X is a weird alien who needs to destroy the guy who attacked them, and the guy who attacked them wants to kill these dogs for… some reason. Oh, and he killed these two old people during a robbery.
I felt like I was getting made fun of. Reading through the book was like reading YA satire, and even that can work in the right circumstances, but not here.
Romance & Characters
I touched upon this briefly in plot, but X’s position made little to no sense to me. He’s an alien, he’s a part of the Lowlands, and he has the sin of people running through his blood. It tortures him until he kills them and makes them pay for what they’ve done. The concept was cool, but the execution left something to be desired. He showed up to save Zoe. Somewhere along the way, his shirt came off, he went all alien, superpower mode, and Zoe got a picture of him for Instagram. SEE WHAT I MEAN BY GETTING MADE FUN OF? The characters, their actions, and the plot all came together to create this completely ridiculous story.
And if this is satire, then of course a love triangle and/or instalove had to be a part of it, and the author chose instalove. From the instant they meet each other, X and Zoe have this mystical magical connection that drove me to the edge (of everything).
I couldn’t do it. I wanted to love this one. It was even a candidate to be one of my most anticipated books of 2017, and it wasn’t for me. The Edge of Everything is getting a lot of love right now, so I’m probably wrong, but I won’t be recommending this one. 1 star.