The Edge of Everything by Jeff Giles
Genre: Supernatural, Contemporary, Romance
Published by: Bloomsbury Children’s
Format: ARC e-book
Note: I received a copy of this book from the publishers in exchange for an honest review.
Okay, so this book has a lot of hype. And by a lot, I mean A LOT. Seriously, scroll down the Goodreads page and all you’ll see is five star reviews! People are getting excited about this, so why didn’t I feel the magic? Maybe partly because I was switching from reading an e-book copy and listening to it on the text-to-speech function, but that doesn’t sound quite right. The Edge of Everything covers a great deal of things. If you didn’t think that a supernatural boyfriend was enough, then you have a girl’s quest to recover her father’s body, a boy’s struggle to get out of a binding service, and a family dealing with a shady past. And the best bit is they all link together!
So, the story starts in the woods in the middle of a blizzard, and Zoe’s brother has gone out in the snow to find their dogs. He doesn’t return when he’s supposed to, so Zoe goes out unequipped for the weather to try and find him. This section was tense and atmospheric – who doesn’t love a good storm? Then Zoe and her brother come across a strange man in the woods who knows their names and wants to kill the dogs. (Creepy and unexpected, right?) Understandably they’re like ‘ah nah!’ but are powerless to stop him, until a guy on the other side of the woods, lights the frozen lake (very Prisoner of Azkaban patronus style) and their lives change.
The beginning section, I really enjoyed. I thought it was going to get a little more paranormal from there, but it manages to stay surprisingly contemporary. The book has a mix of Zoe and ‘X”s POVs, which fuses her world with his. I don’t want to spoil anything by going into detail about X’s power/purpose, because then you just might be able to piece all of the things together! But it reminded me of one of the plays I had to read for my first year of university – The Judgement, which is a religious play about well…can you guess? That might hint a bit at the kind of character X is.
There’s a mix of character dynamics. You’ve got your classic star-crossed lovers, and I’ll admit the romance was probably my least favourite part of the story. That’s not to say it wasn’t really sweet and some moments did make my heart melt, it’s also not to say it didn’t fit in with the story, because it was good(!)….just not quite what I was in the mood for after the action and suspense from the first 15%.
Then there’s the sibling relationship, which is what initially drew me to the book, because I was hoping it was going to be like the one in The Fifth Wave, and it was! Little bothers seem to work well in this kind of situation. I also enjoyed the prominence of the mother character, but the whole ‘unfinished business’ with the father felt too jarring. The father turns out to be a pretty major player in this story, but I’m not giving away any spoilers, so I’ll leave that a mystery.
Overall, I’m going to count some of my discrepancies with this book with the format I read it in. I used a mix of text-to-speech audio and reading small segments which pulled me in and out of the story in different ways. In general, I think this book has a lot of things to love, I just wasn’t really feeling it.