Jeff Giles, The Brink of Darkness (The Edge of Everything, #2), Bloomsbury Children’s Publishing, August 2018, 352 pp., RRP $16.99 (pbk), ISBN 9781408886342
The Brink of Darkness is the sequel to The Edge of Everything. Although Giles tries, in the first chapter, to cover the events of the first book, I highly recommend reading The Edge of Everything first.
Although paranormal romance novels are not my usual reading material, I really enjoyed The Edge of Everything (you can read my review on Goodreads). Our teenage heroine, Zoe, is plucky and resourceful. X, the love-interest from the Lowlands, is suitably hunky and adorable, and a little bit awkward. The first book finishes on a cliff-hanger, so I was looking forward to reading this sequel.
I found The Brink of Darkness not quite as enjoyable. Most of this book is set in the Lowlands, which is a kind of hell. X is on a quest to find and rescue his mother, whom he has never met. Early in the book, X is banished to The Hill, which is obviously based on Bosch’s painting The Harrowing of Hell. There are several very graphic scenes of torture in this part of the novel, which is a departure from the more flippant and lighter tone of the first book. Zoe and X spend most of this book separated, trying to reach each other, so there was more angst in this book, which I found a little bit boring. However, I am not the target audience for these books, and I do believe that it’s intended audience will be engaged.
It would be easy to dismiss this novel as just another paranormal romance, however, Giles has convincingly intertwined other themes including grief, the importance of a solid family unit, and the sadness experienced by those who do not know their parents. Having worked in a high-school for many years, I can say with some authority that his portrayal of high-school friendships is spot-on: the constant texting between the characters gives the books currency.
I believe readers will be satisfied by the conclusion that The Brink of Darkness brings to Zoe and X’s story.
I would confidently recommend The Edge of Everything to readers from Year 7+. However, because of the graphic torture scenes in The Brink of Darkness, I would suggest readers need to be older for the sequel: Year 9+.
Reviewed by Gabrielle Meares