I received this book for free from the publisher in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.
Published by Bloomsbury Childrens Books on January 31, 2017
Source: the publisher
For the perfect love, what would you be willing to lose?
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. X is forbidden from revealing himself to anyone other than his prey, but he casts aside the Lowlands’ rules for Zoe. As they learn more about their colliding worlds, they begin to question the past, their fate, and their future.
I really wanted to love this book – the premise was epic – but I really struggled to get through it. almost right from page one. The book is divided into four sections and section one was the biggest struggle. It was slow, the writing started off bland and I couldn’t connect AT ALL to the characters. Curiosity pushed me to continue reading and, once I got to section two, it started to pick up. I was excited, thinking it was a smart decision to push forward because things were picking up.
And then I got to page 218. And man, did I struggle. I was once again close to DNFing. I skimmed more than I read all the way through page 239 and then I tried reading again. And then the end of section three and all of section four picked up again. I actually enjoyed the ending, though it was completely predictable.
So.. was there any good in this? A little bit, actually. I loved the caving stuff. That was intriguing. I LOVED Ripper, more than any other character. I really want more of her – I want to learn about her background, who she was before. I want to see what it’s like when the Lowlands send her for a soul, as opposed to when they send X. She was just completely fascinating and I’d totally read an entire book about her.
I did love the sections/chapters that were from X’s POV, as opposed to Zoe’s. Only because I loved seeing and learning about the Lowlands and the lords. I’d much prefer a book that focused more on the Lowlands than the Overworld. Other than that, I don’t really have anything to say about Zoe and X. I didn’t connect with them, I didn’t ship them and they didn’t really interest me.
The biggest issues I had with this book delve a bit into spoiler territory, but it’s also a bit of a trigger warning so I feel I need to mention it. The man that X is after in the beginning is Not A Nice Man, as we are shown in very painful ways. The two things that almost caused me to DNF, above everything else, were: 1) the way he treated the two dogs in the book, and 2) An insinuated rape threat. Seriously, almost every time I read a book with a female protagonist that’s written by a man, there’s either an insinuated rape threat or an attempted rape scene. This happened in Harmony House and another book I read around the same time, but I’m blanking on what it was – and I may have DNF’d, because I can’t find a review of it in my files. So yeah.. Male authors: Stop doing this.
But yeah… Like, I KNOW this guy was supposed to be evil but it was almost like the author had to make him over-the-top evil so we’d see just how evil he was and why he deserved what was coming to him and it was just TOO MUCH. And it nearly made me DNF barely a few chapters in.
So… Yeah, that’s about it. I can’t think of anything else to say. I’m sad I didn’t enjoy this more. It had SO MUCH potential. But it just wasn’t my kind of book. I can’t say I’d recommend it because I really didn’t enjoy it, but I know a LOT of people loved it, so maybe give it a shot and decide for yourself.