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.
Woah. Okay, that's about all I have. Woah. I went into this book with such low expectations, but woah.
I guess I'll have to give you guys something more coherent than woah, right?
Okay, here goes. The world building and the plot for this story were out of this world amazing. The book started with a prologue, kind of in the middle of the story, but then it worked. And man, I was hooked from the first paragraph and this author did not let up for a single second. Nope, not a second.
First, there is Zoe. Zoe and her brother Jonah are still grieving the death of her father from months earlier. She is your typical teenager that loves her brother, but still gets annoyed by him and calls him a brat. I actually think Jonah was one of my favorite characters. God, he was so cute and he loved his big sister so much. In the beginning of the book, he is sleeping in the same bed with her and he actually tied his skateboard to himself and to Zoe so that she couldn't leave him without knowing about it. And then they talked about a poem he had written after his dad died . . . when it talked about him not knowing what to do with his heart . . . I lost it. So sad. Zoe was kind of a meh character. Even though she was one of the main characters, I didn't ever really feel connected to her or drawn to her. Maybe it was because more of the book was dedicated to X's POV than hers. I did like that she was adventurous and a caver. More attention could have been focused on that just because it is so rare to see a caver in YA (or any fiction at all, for that matter). But I was satisfied with the caving scenes they did have. And I thought that Zoe was a pretty great sister to Jonah. She had her moments where she was annoyed at him, but you could tell that she really loved him.
X was hot and amazing and so sweet and he brought her food! I don't normally buy into the whole insta-love thing, but he did save her dogs and he brought her a mound of French toast and bacon and onion rings and chocolate cake. Plus, he had the whole tortured soul from hell kind of thing going on. So yeah, I would love him too. I loved his backstory and I am glad that there was such a huge amount of the book devoted to him. Jeff Giles did a freaking amazing job on the world building for Lowlands (Hell) and I loved his fellow bounty hunters (prisoners), especially Ripper. Ripper was a woman who was in the Lowlands because she killed a servant in the 1800's and she was so wonderful. She was very protective of X and acted a bit loony, but she had his back when it counted.
This book was almost nonstop action and that ending KILLED me! I saw part of it coming, but there were still some twists along the way. And it looks like this may turn out to be a series. I am sure the publisher is waiting to see how this one does first. So all I can say is: READ THIS BOOK NOW!! I want as many people to read it as possible because I NEED A SEQUEL!!