The Edge of God by Michael Patrick Lewis
Warning: Contains sex and drug abuse/use.
The Edge of God by Micheal Patrick Lewis is the story of Kozi Iyemi, daughter of the leader of her planet’s Grand Council, and media proclaimed Train Wreck. After yet another media covered scandal, Iyemi is sent to a far off, barren planet on the edge of the galaxy to work as a maintenance person on Section 13. It’s basically the middle of nowhere on a boring planet, which is how Iyemi looks at it.
I’m going to be blunt. I couldn’t stand Iyemi as a main character. She’s spoiled, rich, lazy and doesn’t take anything seriously. She doesn’t go to work or shows up late high or hungover repeatedly. Sure, she’s been through a lot, but a lot of it she brought down on herself. She’s also pretty dumb. She has five boyfriends, but expects them to be exclusive only to her. She also, after years of living in the spotlight and dealing with the media, lets one of these men, who she just met, take risque and pornographic photos of her. When her mother finds out about it and they’re distributed everywhere, I just can’t summon up any sympathy for her. What did she expect would happen? She’s also hung up on her ex-boyfriend and goes around pining for him and crying over him in between sex scenes with her many boyfriends and can’t commit and then cries when they leave. She also has a drug problem, which is portrayed pretty well and the struggle to get clean is touching, but she’s like a bad Hollywood cliche. She’s a mess, even though she has good intentions sometimes, helping Gomi and Luewa. Now, she does grow, does have some theological debates, but the religion is so skewed and twisted, I had some trouble following it. And, I spent 90% of the book being irritated with her bad decisions, that I couldn’t bring myself to be happy for Iyemi. Not even a little bit. Not even when out of the blue, she and her mother reconcile. Do you know what the last thing her mother said to her in a letter? “If I see you again, I will eviscerate you.” Now she’s pulling strings to get the daughter she forced to be sterilized because she was an embarrassment to the family, and sending her to Earth as an ambassador with happy marriage advice? There was no apology from Iyemi or anything. I guess the mom was just happy she got clean and held down a job. The whole scene made no sense though, considering their feelings for one another up to this point. I wish Iyemo had done more to be a more sympathetic character, but I think my dislike of her is a case of too little, too late, which is unfortunate and made the book hard to get through.
There were a few side characters that I kind of liked. Gomi of course, though the evolution of their relationship wasn’t surprising, and Kaye, though we never found out why he went to prison, which is frustrating. Krell was a little interesting, but the way the author wrote his and Siti’s accents made them very hard to read to the point where I was guessing from previous context as to what they were saying. I thought all the different accents and umlauts on the vowels when Siti talked was unnecessary.
Now for the plot. I guess you could consider this a coming of age story? It follows Iyemi as she develops into a halfway decent person and her spiritual growth along with it. But it’s a bunch of the same drama over and over again. She has a lot of sex, gets into an argument with one of her boyfriends or her ex from her home planet is in the tabloids, or her mother writes her, and she has a pity party and gets high. She misses work, gets in trouble, and whines about how her life is unfair. Wash, rinse, repeat. Now, mixed in there is news clippings and threats of an inter-planetary war. The author does a big job of building this war up, going into pages and pages of unnecessary planetary history, and then the Grand Councilwoman calls in a few owed favors and ends it? That’s it? As a reader, I felt cheated by this ending.
Finally, the writing. The first paragraph goes from the present to a memory and back again multiple times, often without warning. This happens throughout the book and is jarring and confusing to the reader. Also, the narrator of this story is very active when telling this story, and addresses the reader quite often. But this isn’t made clear in the beginning, and the way the narrator goes from addressing the reader and back to the story doesn’t mesh well. I actually thought the author was switching between character points of view because of this. If the narrator had said at the beginning, “Hey, I’m going to tell you a story about a girl…” I would have picked up on what was going on with the narrator’s thoughts and comments immediately. As it stands, the transitions from narrator’s thoughts to the story make most parts hard to comprehend. I’m not a huge fan of breaking the fourth wall, but that’s a matter of personal taste.
My Rating: 2.25/5
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