Author: Cynthia Hand
Series: Unearthly, the third and final book
Publication Date: January 22, 2013
Source: ARC from publisher for blog tour
Purchase: Amazon | Barnes & Noble
Fair warning: I'm probably going to ramble -- without spoilers -- in this review and it might get painfully awkward at times. My apologies in advance. But when one of your favorite series comes to an end, a fair amount of gushing and tears is expected...deserved, even. Yes, I'm sad to say goodbye to these characters, but I'm also happy to have met them.
The first thing that always strikes me when I pick up a Cynthia Hand novel is how genuine, how authentic they feel. Clara's voice is sincere and realistic...she sounds like a real teenager -- not the facade that television or society might think of as one, but an actual teenager. Clara is tenacious and snarky and completely relatable...aside from that whole angel-blood thing. The dialogue in these books is superbly done, as if I'm having a conversation with old friends, not just reading about it. And Clara's interactions with other characters are as unpretentious as always, even when she's dealing with a Black Wing. If there's one character I wish were real, it's Clara...I'd make her my best friend in a heartbeat. I've always assumed that Clara was a reflection of the author, so in that case, Can we be best friends, Cynthia? :0)
Something else to take note of in Hand's novels is the importance of family. Sure, Clara and Jeffrey's father wasn't around much during the formidable teenage years, but not by choice, and they had the most awesome, caring mother to make up for it. Maggie is the mother of all YA mothers, and she proves that there doesn't have to be a lack of parental figures in a young adult's life for them to find their share of trouble. Even Clara's wayward brother Jeffrey plays an important role in this series...he's not just a barely there side character. In fact, none of the secondary cast of characters is a bit player. They all have a significant role in how the bigger picture unfolds.
And what a big, beautiful picture this series has turned out to be! So many things I never saw coming! More visions. More danger. More everything. The pacing starts off nice and slow, with Clara embarking on her first year of college at Stanford, but for an angel-blood having visions of doom and gloom, life is never easy. Clara soon begins to wonder if she's been deluding herself into believing that she might be able to lead a normal life. But just as Clara has discovered with her purpose, things happen for a reason, whether you believe in fate or not. There were some truly pivotal moments in this final book, some that I can't yet comment upon, but this story is such a thing of beauty.
So much transpires in this novel, so many secrets and hidden truths uncovered, and yet, just as I was figuring things out for myself, so were the characters. I didn't have to wait 100 pages for them to catch on, which is really refreshing. Just goes to show how truly genuine the characters and story are...we're always on the same page.
Even with Clara's decision to distance herself from Tucker in order to protect him. I usually hate when a fictional guy does this to a girl. But in Clara's case, we already know the danger; we know it's not a gimmick. The Black Wings are a real threat. Doesn't make it hurt less, though. At the end of Hallowed, I couldn't have told you if Clara would end up with Tucker or Christian...and I couldn't have made that decision myself, if I'd been in her shoes. Both were equally good to her and for her, in their own ways. In Boundless, that isn't any less true. Both think that they are each meant to be with Clara. She's definitely got a difficult road and some tough choices ahead of her.
Lots of changes in Boundless. Lots of appearances from old friends. It's a lot to take in. But it's a satisfying ending to a breath-taking series that I won't soon forget. I can't imagine having never met these characters or sharing in their experiences as they came to terms with who and what they were. Full of humor, love, and possibility, this brilliant series is not to be missed. I can't wait to see what else Cynthia Hand has up her sleeve!
Also, don't forget to stop back by on the 24th for a Q & A with the author -- in which she divulges what type of reader she is -- as part of the Boundless Blog Tour hosted by Mundie Moms!