My rating: 4 of 5 stars
Thank you, Bloomsbury Publishing Plc, for sending me an ARC of this book (via NetGalley) in exchange for an honest review.
If I do not return, it is only because not one but two worlds conspired to stop me. —X
The Edge of Everything was one of the most emotionally shocking novels I’ve read this year. It was like reading Heartless and It Ends with Us all over again. Trust me, booknerds; Please do not let the cute and fluffy cover fool you. I heartily applaud Jeff Giles (and the publisher) for thinking of such a deceptive cover.
I approached this novel thinking that it was going to be a typical YA contemporary, so my expectations were low at worst and realistic at best. Now that I’ve finally finished it, I feel utterly foolish. In contrast to its light and beautiful cover, The Edge of Everything features a very dark, fantastical story. In fact, it could even be described as a thriller because it is one of those books that keep you on the edge of your seat as you constantly worry about the safety of the characters.
From the get-go, I want you to know that The Edge of Everything has a love story reminiscent of Romeo and Juliet. Most of the plot revolves around how Zoe and X desperately struggle to be together. However, their story is actually unique because X happens to be a paranormal bounty hunter, which in this context is tantamount to our modern Grim Reaper. X comes from a hellish place called the Lowlands, and he is tasked to collect the souls of unpunished criminals. For years, X has been resigned to his fate as a “killer,” but everything changes when he falls in love with Zoe. Sadly, the melody of their relationship is anything but perfect because it has a harmony of deadly repercussions. In totality, I enjoyed the plot of this book because it was delightfully suspenseful.
I found The Edge of Everything to be very intriguing because its characters were almost deliberately flawed. For instance, Zoe and X were aware of the dangers of their relationship, but they were too stubborn and selfish to break up. Also, both of them had a distinct distaste for obeying figures of authority. I felt so bad for Zoe’s mother and brother, whose lives were shattered as collateral damage. Gleaning upon this, there were both character development and “character reduction” in this book. Zoe and X’s romance made them braver and compassionate, but it simultaneously made them more apathetic towards the needs of others. Consequently, I did not have any favorite character in this book.
Nevertheless, I must say that I admired Zoe’s relationship with her brother Jonah, who had ADHD. Jonah had a very eccentric, naughty, and clingy personality, and I liked how Zoe was openly affectionate with him. She was usually sensitive to his needs, doing her best to meet them although it required her to go out of her comfort zone. I especially loved how she endearingly called him “bug.” Overall, I am glad that Jeff Giles was able to delicately explore such a unique connection between siblings.
The second issue/problem I had with this book was the instalove. Ugh, I honestly could not fathom the speed of Zoe and X’s relationship. Or better yet, I cannot comprehend the idea of love at first sight. Even though it was eventually explained why Zoe and X fell for each other, I could not help but feel skeptical and disappointed. I lack experience in romance, yet I certainly would not immediately fall in love with someone who saved my life or made me realize my personal worth.
In the end, I assure you that The Edge of Everything is thankfully not overhyped. I’m excited for others to read it next year because I desperately need someone with whom I could share my feels. This book was mildly heartbreaking. I actually expected it to be a stand-alone novel, but the cliffhanger of an ending suggests otherwise. Also, an article on Entertainment Weekly says that Jeff Giles sold his work as a series. Thus, I am a very happy fanboy. ^_^
*The featured image was contributed by Dessa Mae Jacobe (@dessatopia)