Sunday, December 9, 2012

Short stories are awesome.  They give us in-depth insight into characters, providing anecdotal proof of why some characters are they way they are.  They entertain by creating a certain mood or focusing on a singular effect...some instance in a previous body of work (or one to follow) that might have been glossed over or ignored completely in a longer novel. 

And so, every Sunday for the foreseeable future, I would like to highlight short stories and novellas set in worlds I've already come to love and learn a little more about some of the secondary characters in my favorite novels.  I'll be underscoring some of my favorite aspects of these short works of fiction, in addition to offering up a mini review of each work.

This week's featured story is:

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Title: Radiant
Author: Cynthia Hand
Series: Unearthly, book #2.5
Publisher: HarperTeen Impulse
Publication Date: December 4, 2012
Source: purchased ebook
Purchase: Amazon | Barnes & Noble

From New York Times bestselling author Cynthia Hand comes a riveting original novella (available only as an ebook) set in the world of the Unearthly series.

Clara is desperate to get away—from the memories that haunt her in Wyoming and the visions of a future she isn't ready to face—and spending the summer in Italy with her best friend, Angela, should be the perfect escape. . . .

For as long as she can remember, Angela has been told that love is dangerous, that she must always guard her heart. But when she met a mysterious guy in Italy two years ago she was determined to be with him, no matter the costs. Now she must decide whether she can trust Clara with her secret, or if telling her the truth will risk everything she cares about.

Alternating between Angela and Clara's perspectives, Radiant chronicles the unforgettable summer that will test the bounds of their friendship and change their lives forever.


I can't say enough great things about Cynthia Hand's fabulous writing, but I will say that if you're already two books deep into this series, you MUST read this novella.  Radiant is split between both Clara and Angela's (!) points-of-view, and it is done with such ease that it's almost as if you're having a conversation with the two girls.  But what you really take away from this short story is a little better insight into Angela's character, as well as the introduction of a new character who may become very important in the final chapter of Clara's story.

*Sigh*  I like Angela's character.  I do.  But I've never fully trusted her.  She frequently admonished her fellow angel-bloods for keeping secrets, spouting, "No secrets in Angel Club."  But she was never very forthcoming with details on her mysterious romance in Italy, nor the source of all of her information regarding the angel-bloods.  True to form, she continues to be vague and only divulges what is absolutely necessary to Clara when mystery man's identity is revealed.  Yet it's not secrecy but an act of ultimate betrayal that may be the demise of her friendship with Clara...or worse.

Clara's point-of-view in Radiant is just so sad.  She's dwelling on all she's lost...all the people she's lost in only a matter of months, and not even the beauty of Rome can ease her troubled mind.  After the events in Hallowed, it was obvious she would need time to heal -- don't we all?!? -- but a summer away from everything isn't going to be enough, especially when Angela has given her new reasons to worry.  I'm worried, too, after that seriously foreboding last line.

If I wasn't already anticipating the release of Boundless, this novella would have made sure I was.  That tease of Boundless at the end didn't help matters either.  Now I just want to sleep until the release of the last novel in the series.  I'm afraid I might need to take a week off work, too, when it's released.  If memory serves, I could have used some time to myself after Hallowed, and I'm afraid things aren't going to be any easier after Boundless.

Rating:  Photobucket

14 comments:

  1. I sooo want to read this, maybe after Christmas is all done :) I don't have a Kindle but since it's short I can read it on the computer!

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    1. Yeah, if you already love the series, this is definitely one novella not to pass up. :)

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  2. I'm so behind on this series! I read and loved the first one so hopefully I will catch up soon! Great review!

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    1. Well, since the final book is out next month, I'd wait and read Hallowed, Radiant & Boundless all at the same time...though, I can't promise you won't be a blubbering mess. :P

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  3. If I can get it done I am planning on reviewing this for next Saturday. Angela has never been my favorite character I don't trust her. I can't wait for Boundless and I am ecstatic that I got Cynthia Hand booked for an interview for Fire and Ice!!!

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    1. You need to remind me to change out your button on my blog roll. I keep forgetting. I am not on my big computer or I would do it now.

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    2. It was short and sweet...you can do it! :) Yeah, I feel the same way about Angela, and I feel even worse about her now that she's going to be rooming with Clara at Stanford. Oh, congrats on the Cynthis Hand interview...she's just lovely and so thorough and geniune in her responses. I was just telling Wendy Darling that I think she's probably so nice in real life because she tortures us with her novels. =)

      And no worries...I've temporarily disabled my button list, but I've kept you in my blog roll. There's just so much to keep track of and everyone keeps changing things up. I love all the changes, but it also takes time to catch up with them all. :D

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  4. DEFINITELY going to read this. Thanks for getting me excited about it!

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  5. Ahh! I still haven't read Unearthly, though I've had it for nearly a year. So I skimmed this review. Everyone says Hand's writing is amazing. I must get started. I'm glad you loved Radiant !

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    1. Well, if you wait until the end of January, you can read all of the books back-to-back, which I'd recommend, by the way. :P

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  6. I bought this already, just need to read it. I have always been a little iffy on Angela too. I am glad I am not alone there. You've got me so excited! Can't wait!

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    1. I am now salivating for BOUNDLESS. And, yeah, Angela's role now kind of terrifies me because I trust her even less. :(

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  7. I just finished Radiant today. Fantastic e-novella. Not a filler like some short stories. This is probably the best e-novella I've read. And I would say that if you're reading this series then you must read Radiant. There are a few key things you'll need to know for Boundless.

    I was also really happy to get a preview of the new book!

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