The Edge of Everything by Jeff Giles
My rating: 4 of 5 stars
If I do not return, it is only because not one but two worlds conspired to stop me. — X
The Edge of Everything is one of the most emotionally shocking novels I’ve read. It was like reading Heartless and It Ends with Us all over again. Trust me, booknerds. Please do not let the beautiful 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 can 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 from 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 to 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 that 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 could not 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 will not immediately fall in love with someone who saves my life or makes me realize my personal worth.
In the end, I assure you that The Edge of Everything is thankfully not overrated. I desperately need someone with whom I can share my feelings. This book was mildly heartbreaking. I actually expected it to be a stand-alone novel, but the cliffhanger of an ending suggested otherwise. Thus, I am a very happy fanboy. ^_^