I’ve been sitting on writing this review for a couple of weeks, though I’m not quite sure why. It’s been a busy two weeks, but writing a review doesn’t usually take so long that I couldn’t fit it in somewhere quite easily. I suppose the truth is that I both loved On The Edge of Gone, and found myself wishing it would hurry up a little–mostly because it wasn’t the story I was expecting. That said, some of those surprises were truly awesome, and I still highly recommend this read. First, though, let’s start with the basics.
Yep, I’ve definitely got some cover love going on over here.
January 29, 2035.
That’s the day the comet is scheduled to hit—the big one. Denise and her mother and sister, Iris, have been assigned to a temporary shelter near their hometown of Amsterdam to wait out the blast, but Iris is nowhere to be found, and at the rate Denise’s drug-addicted mother is going, they’ll never reach the shelter in time.
Then a last-minute encounter leads them to something better than a temporary shelter: a generation ship that’s scheduled to leave Earth behind and colonize new worlds after the comet hits. But each passenger must have a practical skill to contribute. Denise is autistic and fears that she’ll never be allowed to stay. Can she obtain a spot before the ship takes flight? What about her mother and sister?
When the future of the human race is at stake, whose lives matter most?
My Rating: 4.5 stars
The blurb gives you the essence of the story: this is a survival story that essentially begins as the comet hits and continues for the next two weeks. The big question is whether Denise and her family will make it on the last generation ship left in Amsterdam (and possibly the world). That remains the question for the book–so if you’re looking for interstellar travel or space pirates or anything of the sort, a quick expectations adjustment will give you a much more enjoyable read. This isn’t an action-packed tale, this is something between a gritty story of survival and an absolutely amazing character study.
Denise is strong, focused, and capable, and just the sort of person I want to be with if NASA tells us tomorrow that there’s a comet headed straight for the earth. She’s also female (obv), biracial, and autistic. Her identity plays into her life in simple and real ways. She has developed coping mechanisms to manage the things that are difficult, and they work brilliantly until they don’t. Frankly, Denise copes so much better than her mother, who cannot find her way to giving up her drug addiction.
In fact, this book has all my heart for an incredible, seamless read that it is brilliantly diverse. Denise’s sister is a trans woman, the couple she meets who are trying to help the emergency shelters are Muslims of Moroccan heritage. Our potential love interest happens to be Jewish. There are people of different faiths, gender orientations, races and ethnicities, and it is completely natural because it is completely real. It isn’t trying too hard, it’s just precisely what the world looks like. And, just as in the real world, each person’s identity naturally effects their lives over the course of the story.
I suppose what was frustrating for me in this read was waiting for “something to happen” rather than letting myself stay in the moment with all the small twists and turns. This is very much a story of ground gained and then lost again. Progress is not about the progress of action, per se, as the progress and development of our characters.
Overall, a deep and insightful read. Highly recommended.
About the Author
A lifelong Amsterdammer, Corinne Duyvis spends her days writing sci-fi and fantasy novels and getting her geek on whenever possible. She’s the critically acclaimed author of Guardians of the Galaxy: Collect Them All (Marvel, 2017), as well as young adult novels Otherbound (2014, ABRAMS Books), which Kirkus called “original and compelling; a stunning debut,” and On the Edge of Gone (2016, ABRAMS Books), which Publishers Weekly called “a riveting apocalyptic thriller with substantial depth,” and which was declared a Kirkus Best Book of 2016.