A man wakes up in a desert not knowing where he is or what happened to him, and void of any memories of his life, even his name.
What follows is a series of heart pounding scenes, in an effort to discover what is going on and go back home.
Edge of End‘s narrative (not the dialogues) reads like a dream for the most part, which is pretty awesome, since you never know what comes next. It may be the most prespoterous thing in the world, who knows. The prose is easy to follow, even though you can clearly tell the author is not a native english speaker, and the action scenes are truly engaging. The horror really had me gripped.
The scenery is completely chilling. Imagine a place where there is no sun or moon, the sky is perpetually grey and you cannot tell where light comes from. Imagine entering a deserted town, which at times is not completely deserted but the people there are elusive, just like the brief glimpses of memories that taunt our main character. Then almost in the blink of an eye, it all changes. Time freezes. Evil things are lurking around. You don’t know who or what to trust. I have to tell you… I would most likely lose my mind. It is literally like being stuck in a crazy dream.
That is about the time where I stopped enjoying the story. There were quite a few things which did not allow me to fully enjoy the book and I will proceed to explain them as best as I can.
First of all, one thing that bothered the heck out of me since the beginning was how the word town, and others, were written in italic. It was extremely distracting, like an itch I could not quite get rid of.
One of the main things that made me not enjoy the book as much was that I could not relate to the main character.
At first, there are some attempts to show that he is taken aback by what is happening around him. However, they never felt real to me. From the start, Johnathan went with the flow a bit too much. Not only did he seem to go through everything way too easily, but he also never never really felt too scared or even confused when really freaky stuff starts happening to him. As I said, there were attempts to make him sound that way, but they felt fake because even as I was trying to convince myself he really felt that way he was already striding through everything with such a brave hands-on-approach sort of attitude.
Then there is the whole power thing. Jonathan is able to do amazing things at some point, and immediately acts like ooh, look at my awesome new super powers. Now if he thought he was in a dream or a game, then I could see him having that reaction, but since he didn’t, it just felt unrealistic to me.
At that point, I had to stop for a minute and think Is this believable? Can I see someone reacting this way in such a situation? Would I have?. Because that is the main thing that keeps me going in a story, knowing I relate to what the main character does, or at the very least that it feels in tune with who he or she is. I have to admit I probably wouldn’t. Regardless of his character or personality, I feel that it is in human nature to instinctively recoil in the face of danger. No matter how brave you are, you don’t just jump in the face of it.
Curiosity is something else that is innate to a person. If in a strange environment, one will try to get as much information about their surroundings as possible, unless they are in a complete state of shock, utterly withdrawn from reality. His reactions did not feel human or realistic to me. Unless, again, he felt that he was in a dream, where nothing he did had real consequences.
For instance, the thing with Malcom. When they first meet, Malcom tells Jonathan he will answer all his questions if he drinks what he just poured on his glass. However, when he does, something freaky happens to Jonathan and he is basically transported elsewhere, Malcom disappearing. When they reunite, I would have asked Malcom what had happened as soon as I got the chance. It would at the very least been one of my many questions. But Jonathan didn’t. It’s like he just accepted what had happened as normal, or it was just not a priority, getting answers from the only being around the place who obviously had answers and seemed even remotely normal.
I craved that he would act in a truly confused manner, a no way, this cannot be happening, it makes no sense whatsoever, what the heck have I gotten myself into sort of thing; not even all the time, just in key places. Instead of just accepting his spiffy new power and just getting on with it. At the end of the day, he struck me as being cocky, just full of himself, constantly bragging about his immense power – and boy were there endless lines of that or some variation of it. I had never been introduced to a main character who is instantly a hero, there is no progression whatsoever, and who constantly pats himself on the shoulder for being such a good guy and wanting to save people.
The woman he finds is described as instantly getting the feels for him – granted, he saved her, and there doesn’t seem to be another soul around, but still, there is no suspicion on her part whatsoever, she instantly trusts and follows him around blindly.
Then she is described as a pure damsel in distress who is just waiting for the knight in shiny armour to come swoop her off her feet. And shortly after she goes from that modest and demure posture to kissing him passionately and telling him there is more waiting for him when he meets her. I felt like I was reading a fairytale, where it comes to those two. Kind of like a female version of what a man wants of a woman – someone who only has eyes for him and as soon as he snaps his fingers drops all barriers and falls into his arms because he is just so darn awesome. The scenes featuring those two translated into sickening sweet dialogues and deeply-gazing-into-each-other eyes sort of moments, which I could really have done without. I just could not get how they could possibly be all over each other without knowing anything about themselves or the other person, let alone plan a whole life together, especially when said feelings are described most of the time as plain lust.
The plot just did not call to me with all of this cluttering it and to be honest it really felt like an incomplete or undeveloped idea. I understand that it is supposed to be a story of hope, of how it’s never late to right our wrongs and whatnot, but the way it was developed, the insta-love romance part, the sappy dialogues, the repetitive expressions throughout the narrative, the swearing without sense or purpose, and the lack of relatability to the main character all made me not feel engaged with the story.
The ending was extremely disappointing to me. If this is a story about redemption, I certainly did not get that feeling. Running from your past actions and starting a new life without actually dealing with what you did is not really redemption. Especially if you cannot even properly remember what you did and the person you were. Really, if you don’t come to terms with your past, how can it be called redemption? Seems like denial to me.
In conclusion, the real strength lies in the first couple of chapters. The scenarios really were breath-taking, and the action scenes were horrific for the most part, bar the repetitions. When I would focus on those, I was completely thrilled. But when I stopped to ponder about character and plot development and everything else above described, then it would go downhill.
I still recommend that you read it. Who knows, maybe you’ll get more out of the story, that moral which didn’t really call to me. Plus, you can get the book for free by clicking here. Besides Amazon, it is also free on Barner&Noble, Kobo and iBookstore.
Disclaimer: I would like to thank the author for providing me a free copy of this book in exchange for my honest review.
Read from April 08 to 12, 2015