It’s not been the best year for Zoe. What with her father’s death in a caving accident, her neighbour’s disappearance and then the fact that she is brutally attacked with her younger brother in a cabin in the woods, it’s fair to say things have been better. But with the arrival of the mysterious paranormal bounty hunter “X”, everything is about to change.
On the surface, The Edge of Everything might look like your average contemporary YA novel, but it is far darker than many readers will expect. The tortured (and suitably broody) X has been tasked with hunting those that have done evil deeds in their life. He then plays them their life events before brutally murdering them and sending their soul to hell. He is not supposed to reveal himself to anyone other than his victims, and when he reveals himself to Zoe, it is unsurprising that things get messy. X comes from the Lowlands and it is his job to serve the mysterious higher power as a bounty hunter. Imprisoned in this ghoulish role, it’s no wonder X is a wee bit of a brooder.
Zoe fulfils everything readers will come to expect from a YA heroine: she’s plucky, strong, suitably sarcastic, and (of course) irrevocably in love with the brooding bad boy.
Whilst she is perhaps not the most original of protagonists, she’ll certainly tick the boxes for those looking to enjoy the familiar tropes of YA. X is a nice counterpoint to Zoe, though he’s again reminiscent of the list of tortured love interests in the genre that have come before him.
Whilst not quite as convincing as our protagonists, the supporting cast nonetheless provides a host of interesting characters. Zoe’s brother is an eccentric character with ADHD and her relationship with her best friend will chime with many readers. Although the side characters won’t feel ground-breaking to those familiar with the genre, the strength of Zoe as a character is enough to pull the story through.
The ill-fated love between Zoe and X is certainly swoon-worthy and keeps the pace of The Edge of Everything propelled from the get go, but readers are going to find fault with the insta-love. Granted, these are teens and the hormones are raging, but even so, love at first sight is always a bit of a stretch. All little bit more build-up would’ve gone a long way.
Jeff Giles triumphs in creating a well-paced love story with elements of horror, mystery and action — and the fact that it’s paranormal adds an interesting spin to Zoe’s distinctively contemporary voice. The Edge of Everything is an enjoyable read that ticks many of the YA boxes regular readers of the genre will enjoy.