The Edge of Everything (Untitled #1) by Jeff Giles (2017)
YA Fiction | Paranormal
“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.”
Expected Publication Date: January 31, 2017
pooled ink Review:
“He didn’t do it in anger. He didn’t do it like an action hero. He just did it like it had to be done.”
I began reading this book with no expectations or ideas and yet it quickly consumed me. I quickly became utterly intrigued and could only hope that it wouldn’t dissipate into disappointment. It didn’t. Somehow this has become one of my favorite books that I’ve read this year.
Truly I didn’t know what to expect and yet for whatever reason I just knew that I needed to read this book so when my wish was granted I felt ridiculously happy and lucky. Although even now after I have read every word of this story I still am not quite sure how to explain it right. Just…something about the overall feel of this book embraced me. My eyes remained trained on the page and even when they weren’t my brain whirred with the story. It was weird, fascinating, hopeful, dismal, dramatic, stubborn, impossible, familiar, addicting, unfair…
The POVs of this story switch between Zoe and X. It’s interesting to read the contrast between Zoe’s life, something so normal and familiar, and X’s life, something so empty and resigned. Beyond their experiences there is the very large difference of worlds. While Zoe battles her inner demons in the Overworld and tries to deal with the death of her father, X must battle real demons in the Lowlands and put up a fight for the right to simply live.
In some ways the distinctly separate lives of Zoe and X totally clash with no sense belonging in the same book…and yet whenever they collide together onto the same page they make complete sense, paranormal demons of Hell and all.
“If I do not return,” he said, “it is only because not one but two worlds conspire to stop me.”
I honestly have no words to accurately describe why I love this book, I just…do. I fell in love with X despite knowing almost nothing about him (and the more I learned the more I loved him). Zoe seems pretty awesome and I’d bet we’d get along great if we met. Jonah is simply all that is funny/frustrating/amazing about kids.
The characterization in this book fell along the vein of “actions speak louder than words.” Sure they talked and shared things about themselves but somehow I learned more from what they didn’t say and it made me love them all even more. This book ends with no absolute conclusion (as it is just the beginning to a series I presume) but I just really need them all to be happy and together and happy.
The world-building in this book is really cool and I found it easy to picture everything, from the shabby spa in Montana to the icy river in Hell, but it was the characters that really kept me captivated. They all seemed so real. I will say that this book is written with a distinct style that I happened to love but have a feeling might not be for everyone, but those people are probably crazy 😉
Oh, something more about the characters and how real they are: I love how even the souls condemned to the Lowlands are human, or at least some still resemble such. We get to know Ripper and Banger in particular and although they have blood on their hands they are more complex than the dirt specks the lords view them as.
I really can’t praise the characterization enough. Or, I’m sure I could go on but it would all begin to run together and sound redundant and eventually lose any depth of meaning. Suffice it to say that I believed them.
I’d definitely call this a love story but there are all sorts of claws trying to tear them apart. Lords of the Lowlands, murderers, protective mothers, cowardly runners, but most of all the line between right and wrong, a line so tiny it is easy to misstep and never believe you are mistaken. It is perhaps this smallest of whispers that trouble X and Zoe the most.
The overall concept of this book, a world we know with hunters only some of us suspect, is if not wholly unique then is uniquely and interestingly executed. Drawing from perhaps several different veins of inspiration Mr. Jeff Giles manages to weave together a world within a world that sparks the imagination and ignites that little thump of belief that I think lies inside all humans no matter how dormant we let it fall.
Full of grief and love, of sin and mercy, The Edge of Everything tears apart the wall between worlds and unfurls a most remarkable love story.
Purchase here: The Edge of Everything
Meet Jeff Giles!
“Jeff Giles grew up in Cohasset, Massachusetts. Most recently, he was the deputy managing editor of Entertainment Weekly, where he oversaw all coverage of movies and books, including the magazine’s championing of YA fiction. Jeff has written for Rolling Stone and The New York Times Books Review. He also coauthored The Terrorist’s Son, a nonfiction book that won an Alex Award from the American Library Association and has since been translated into more than a dozen languages. While reporting on the Lord of the Rings movies for Newsweek, Jeff was invited to be an extra in The Return of the King. He played a Rohan soldier, and–because he didn’t have a beard or mustache–they glued yak hair to his face. Jeff lives with his family in Montana.”