Thursday, January 24, 2013

Boundless by Cynthia Hand

So it turns out I may have bitten off more than I can chew this semester. In addition to being on the leadership team for my school's Honors program that has meetings every other week, I'm now in charge of the website for said Honors program and enrolled in classes that all require I read, write, and study a LOT if I want to pass. If my review posting seems lighter than usual from now until the end of April, that's why. Also, thank goodness for ARCs and post scheduling!

Title: Boundless
Author: Cynthia Hand
Publisher: HarperTeen
Release Date: January 22, 2013
Pages: 438 pages (hardcover)
How I Got the Book: Bought it.
Purchase/Pre-order: Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Book Depository
Promotional Materials and More: audiobook clip | book trailer | author website

Boundless (Unearthly, #3)The past few years have held more surprises than part-angel Clara Gardner could ever have anticipated. Yet from the dizzying highs of first love, to the agonizing low of losing someone close to her, the one thing she can no longer deny is that she was never meant to live a normal life.

Since discovering the special role she plays among the other angel-bloods, Clara has been determined to protect Tucker Avery from the evil that follows her . . . even if it means breaking both their hearts. Leaving town seems like the best option, so she’s headed back to California - and so is Christian Prescott, the irresistible boy from the vision that started her on this journey in the first place.

As Clara makes her way in a world that is frighteningly new, she discovers that the fallen angel who attacked her is watching her every move. And he’s not the only one. . . . With the battle against the Black Wings looming, Clara knows she must finally fulfil her destiny. But it won’t come without sacrifices and betrayal.

In the riveting finale of the Unearthly series, Clara must decide her fate once and for all.


Review:


I'm going to try and keep this as vague as possible because it's the last book of the series and most of my friends have vowed to brutally murder anyone who hands out spoilers like candy, but this is one of those books that is difficult to talk about without at least a teeny tiny spoiler somewhere. My own book decided to spoil me by falling open on the last page, so yeah. Reader problems. It didn't make me sob like Hallowed did, but Boundless is still a great read, albeit the weakest of the trilogy.

Clara remains one of my favorite protagonists in YA and the central love triangle of the series is still few of the only ones I can stand because neither love interest sucks. If I didn't understand the appeal of Christian before, I do now! Hand does a fabulous job of showing us how easily they connect with one another and are able to share more with each other than either one could with the average human. They have their fights and deeper issues, but I get the appeal. Tucker still gets his time with her, so his fans won't be disappointed in that respect. Then again, there are going to be people this book disappoints no matter what because Clara doesn't end up with the person they want her to.

Also, quick shout-out to how well the transition from high school to college went. Relatively little time is spent on college stuff and it's more background than anything, but it's better than some New Adult books I've read do. Sooner or later, I'm going to do a post on my feelings about that genre, but there's one more book I need to read first before I'm ready to.

In a lot of ways, Boundless is a big step up from the previous books. There's more action and much more interference from the forces in hell. Where book one was the set-up and book two was upping the emotional stakes, book three brings everything back together in ways we sometimes expect and others we don't. But speaking of things we saw coming, the foreshadowing in this book isn't that great. Come on, from her one pre-reveal appearance, it was SO obvious that character was evil! Hand can do better than that!

Still, the book--and the series as a whole, for that matter--isn't flawless. Clara is sometimes so sanctimonious that it hurts, like when she seems to chide Angela for not recognizing a blessing when she sees it--the kind of blessing some people don't always see as such. There's also a case where a woman who has a child out of wedlock gets taken to hell and has to suffer for what she feels like is years before our righteous heroine saves her from her torment, almost as if redeeming her. I can't go into details about the situation in question, but this is what it boils down to in my eyes and it's not pretty.

After reflecting on it for a while, something about the ending also feels a little too perfect and some of the explanations are a little confusing. So purposes are things angels don't have to do except they kind of do? Then an issue that has plagued one of the relationships throughout the series because it IS important is taken care of just like that. Boom. Easy solution, no more problem. Giving them that way out is like letting all the air out of a balloon, in a way.

It's sad to see this series end, but it ends in the right place. If Hand's editors hadn't convinced her out of a fourth book (I think that's how it happened, anyway), it would have gone on longer than it needed to. Everything we needed to feel like the story ran its course happens in Boundless and fans of the series are sure to be happy. I may have my issues with it, but I really am happy at how everything turned out. If you haven't already given this series a try, now may be a good time. Just be wary of people giving away the ending!

3.5 stars!


What am I reading next?: Scarlet by Marissa Meyer