Edge of the Known World

Fiction - Dystopia
328 Pages
Reviewed on 04/23/2024
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    Book Review

Reviewed by K.C. Finn for Readers' Favorite

Edge of the Known World is a work of fiction in the dystopian, interpersonal drama, and action-adventure genres. It is best suited to mature readers owing to scenes of moderate violence and sexual references. Penned by author Sheri T. Joseph, this is a fast-paced speculative fiction novel set in a realistic near future, blending love, adventure, and serious themes about family and privacy. Alexandra Tashen, a brilliant student hiding her true identity, embarks on a globe-trotting journey to warn her missing adoptive father of a deadly trap. As she dodges genetic screenings that could reveal her origins, a love triangle unfolds, leading to confounding choices between love, loyalty, and moral obligation.

Author Sheri T. Joseph has crafted a riveting novel that immersed me in a thought-provoking exploration of identity, technology, and the interesting consequences of genetic screening. This is a brilliantly original concept that captures you right from the start. The author adds more layers to bring together elements of suspense, romance, and some sharp social commentary. This realism and attention to detail in attitude and perspective make the context and characters feel all the more credible as we get invested in Alexandra's journey of self-discovery and the ethical dilemmas she faces. Readers will find themselves deep in reflection on the intersection of science, morality, and human rights in our increasingly technologically advanced world. The author’s background lends authenticity to the novel's exploration of social issues, while her compassionate portrayal of characters adds depth and nuance to the plot, offering a perfect balance for an intelligent yet deeply felt story. Overall, Edge of the Known World is a thought-provoking debut that I would not hesitate to recommend.

Divine Zape

Edge of the Known World by Sheri T. Joseph is a riveting speculative novel that blends elements of adventure, romance, and political intrigue in a near-future dystopian setting. Set against the backdrop of a society dealing with the implications of advanced genetic screening technology, the story follows the journey of Alexandra Tashen, a young woman with a hidden past and a dangerous secret. She is a highly gifted student who once enjoyed a wonderful childhood on a Texas ranch. But she discovered the truth of her identity and that everyone from her place of birth has an undetectable viral DNA from a regional vaccine. Her DNA must not be detected; otherwise, she will be returned to the brutal world of the Federation. But when her father goes missing, she risks everything to find him and warn him of a plot that could destroy more than both of them. Can she escape the rapid genetic testing and locate her father before it is too late?

Sheri T. Joseph creates richly drawn characters, particularly the protagonist, Alex, whose blend of intelligence, wit, and vulnerability makes her a relatable heroine. As Alex embarks on a dangerous journey to uncover the truth about her origins and protect herself from detection, she struggles with questions of identity, family, and autonomy in a world where privacy is increasingly scarce. The author weaves multiple narrative threads into the plot, including a love triangle between Alex and two compelling male characters, Eric Burton and Strav Beki. The complex dynamics between these characters create a strong emotional resonance as they confront betrayals, secrets, and moral dilemmas that force them to reevaluate their loyalties and beliefs. Against a society rife with political tension and social injustice, Joseph raises thought-provoking questions about the ethical implications of genetic screening and surveillance technology. Drawing inspiration from real-world events and historical parallels, the novel explores power, control, and resistance themes, offering a timely commentary on the dangers of unchecked authority and the importance of individual agency. Edge of the Known World has evocative prose and world-building, and the author captivates readers with dystopian elements. From the fog-drenched streets of San Francisco to the bustling markets of Prosperity, the novel immerses readers in a world that feels both familiar and unsettlingly prescient.

Gaius Konstantine

"There were always winners and losers, and that which ruined and crippled one life might save another." But who decides who wins and who loses? And at what cost? Edge Of The Known World by Sheri T. Joseph explores these questions and more through the story of Alex Tashen, a criminal hiding in plain sight. Her crime? She was born. Alex is "the other," "the sub-human," and every other name used by tin-pot dictators throughout history to create an enemy where there was none. Despite this, Alex is not entirely alone and integrates into a techno-totalitarian state thanks to her father's love and unique gift. However, every minute of her life is a deadly gamble. Her journey through this menacing existence takes many unexpected turns when she meets Eric and Strav, two brothers who owe allegiance to a nation that would snuff out her life without a second thought. But life doesn't always play out as expected and seldom as desired. Alex is about to witness firsthand that when a state insists on creating enemies where none exist, those enemies may return the favor.

Edge Of The Known World by Sheri T. Joseph is a beautifully written novel that goes beyond entertainment and serves as a cautionary tale that reflects humanity at its best and worst. The plot focuses on a brilliant young girl having to navigate and avoid the dangers of a police state perverting technology and using it as a tool for control. As talented as she is, Alex is also a flawed individual and an outstanding example of character development. Yet she pales next to Strav, who, being a shattered young man and violence barely contained, is a masterpiece. The novel is also about people who trade liberty for safety and gain neither. It's a story of love, sacrifice, and how some individuals use patriotism to justify their lack of morals. The story is harsh because it portrays a reality we have lived in throughout history and builds thought-provoking tension that can make even the strongest among us waver. The villains are numerous, but the worst are the everyday people who allow such a system to exist. Yet, there is hope and a reminder to those who yearn for power that while you can fashion a nation through lies, fear, and violence, it won't last.