**Recieved through a giveaway**
I was very impressed with 'The Edge of the Woods', particularly since it is a first-time self-published
(and I actually believe this would have done well with agents/publishers). I'll probably come back and make a better review out of this, but for now I'll bullet-point a few things (good and bad.)
- The beginning was strong and I found myself drawn to the main character, Emma, rather early on. This is rather odd for me to do, especially with a first-person novel such as this. I found myself disliking her towards the only a little, only because she became rather impudent and repetitive, though if I had to live her life I'm sure I would be, too.
- I found the book waned slightly towards the ending; perhaps slightly rushed with a desire to reach the conclusion too quickly. The chapters seemed to rush by without much happening and I felt the ending was slightly more clichéd than this book deserved. Despite this, I do think that the ending it did have was very much the only ending this book could have had, and it was perfectly suited for such a story.
- Almost zero typos (!) and written so well for a first-time book. This I find pleasantly warming, especially, as already stated, it's a self-published novel. I have read many first-time novels from authors who have successfully gained an agent and publishing contract that are lack-lustre in the whole "i rite gud" area.
- Character development in those who were not the protagonist was lacking. Whilst I appreciate the first-person writing style makes this hard to do, the way Emma realises character development herself was a bit wooden. I firmly believe that more time could have been devoted to Emma's own thoughts on other characters and her interaction with them.
- Which leads me to the next point; too short! I thought each scene used was useful, with the exception of being told Emma wakes up after falling asleep (if she's washing herself we kinda know she's awake). Some of the segments could have been elongated rather nicely, and I find there is scope for this in almost every chapter.
- The Strangers and the... monsters (?) could have been much more involved in this book than they were. I felt left hanging about both these species (for lack of a better term right now) and would have loved to learn more about both (again, perhaps the first-person narrative is to blame)
- The odd implementation of swear words. There were three from memory; bastard twice and another. I found the sudden use very abrupt and wayward. By no means do I disprove; in fact, I actively encourage swear words in novels (I challenge anyone to get 5 random people who ALL agree that all swear words are terrible and should never be used ever), but the sudden use and then sudden disappearance was off-putting. The situations Emma and indeed Mona found themselves in could very well allow for such language, but in this case I found it to be unnecessary because of it's inconsistency.
All in all, a very enjoyable read. I'll reiterate the fact that I usually steer clear of first-person narratives, and YA as a general whole, because they usually involve whinging, soppy romantic females who can't think for themselves without males present. This put faith in me of the YA genre, and first-person narratives to an extent. I would have liked a more cliff-hanger ending (that's me assuming there'll be a second book?).