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.
I received an eARC edition of this book courtesy of Bloomsbury Publishing Plc (UK & ANZ) via NetGalley, in exchange for an honest review.
***SPOILER SAFE REVIEW***
The writing style gets a solid A+ from me this time round. It’s been a while since I’ve read a book that was this reader friendly whilst still being so incredibly complex plot wise. And I do mean, like, a loooooooooooooooooooong while. I usually got incredibly bored reading books that didn’t grip me with their writing and I have to say that I’m really glad that the quality of world building and plot did not suffer despite the book being written in a really simple to comprehend way.
The idea of the story itself was incredibly original . I had never read a book about that sort of thing before(i.e. a fling between a mortal and some assassin from the depths of the underworld) – maybe because I haven’t really lived book wise, I tend to be rather conventional with the books I read, although I am currently looking to branch past my comfort zone of contemporary and incredibly similar, and mostly dull, fantasy books (perhaps recommend any reads in the comments?) which initially made me wary of the contents of this book, but I do have to say I did like it.
It was so incredibly dark, yet there were also so many moments where I blew air out of my nose in the manner of amusement, or even chuckled a few times. I have no clue how Jeff Giles managed to get the balance between the two, or how he actually mushed the two into the same scene a few times, but I’m glad he did.
I loved the representation of friendships in this novel, from sibling to mentor figures, to a friendly ex… this book really did have it all.
Another thing that was really commendable was the characterization within the pages, I have never read a book where the secondary characters (especially female, mind you) were so padded out. The heroine herself was a brilliant mix of snarky and kick-ass, I honestly loved her narrative.
However, the romance didn’t add as much to the story as I think it should have. Whilst bits were sweet (there’s a particular scene at one point in the book which involves food that made me incredibly happy whilst reading), I just wish that it wasn’t as insta-lovey… But that is a thing I’ve always despised in novels, and I guess I should work on that prejudice as authors seem to be getting increasingly fond of the idea in their works. I also think that in this particular case, it was largely explained by one of the pair not being human, which would obviously also change a few things in the dynamic of the whole relationship.
Overall, whilst this book isn’t going to be one of my special 5 Star books, it is definitely a book worth reading if you’re looking for something new added to the fantasy/paranormalish genre.
My Rating: 4/5 Stars