Thursday, January 17, 2013

Review: Boundless by Cynthia Hand

Thursday, January 17, 2013 with 28 comments
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Title: Boundless
Author: Cynthia Hand
Series: Unearthly, the third and final book
Publisher: HarperTeen
Publication Date: January 22, 2013
Source: ARC from publisher for blog tour
Purchase: Amazon | Barnes & Noble

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.


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!

Rating:  Photobucket



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!


28 comments:

  1. Ack -- does Clara decide between them? Is it decided for her? Yeah, you probably can't tell me. But luckily I have less than a week to wait! I love this series so much!

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    1. Nope, not gonna tell ya. :P I love it, too. I have some issues with the ending but I didn't let it cloud my judgment or love for the book overall. Yay, less than a week to go!!! :)

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  2. I do love the very strong family dynamic in this series. I am so nervous. Sosososososososososo nervous. Everyone is loving it but I am afraid it won't quite live up to me hopes. I am not even sure what I want to happen with the boys. Can't they all be happy?! lol Great review! 5 more days until I can read, FINALLY!

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    1. I was nervous, too. I'm still nervous for others. :P I wasn't sure what I wanted either, but I was surprised how much I wanted it to go in a particular direction once the book got going. FIVE MORE DAYS!!! I can't wait to see what you think of it!

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  3. I am itching to get my hands on this one. And fingers crossed my interview will come through. I adore the characters and I know I will be sad to see them go. I cannot wait to see what Cynthia has in store for us next.

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    1. Less than a week, Heidi! I can't wait to see what you think! Good luck with the interview!

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  4. Jennn!!! I love your review, especially your feelings about the series. There's so much to process in this book and I think we're all processing it still.

    Also, if you and Cynthia become BFFs, I want to see photos of you winter camping together.

    I'm really looking forward to your interview with Cynthia. Love this series so much, and I'm so glad we sort of experienced this last book together. *tears up* It's the end of an era!

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    1. I don't know if I'll ever be done processing it. Well, maybe once she cranks out the next book and I can put my thoughts on this one aside. I really do hope she spins off with Maggie's story. :)

      Will do. How awesome would that be?!? Of course, we'd invite you along. :) I'm glad I had you to hold my hand there at the end. It IS the end of an era!

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  5. I always enjoyed CLara's voice too, and this reminded me why I need to get caught up with this series.
    Happy reading,
    Brandi from Blkosiner’s Book Blog

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    1. Oh, you haven't read Hallowed yet? It was probably my favorite in the series. Which is weird, 'cause usually the middle book is the weakest in a series, from my experience. Hope you enjoy!

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  6. Awesome review! This is one of my favorite series to. I am thinking about after reading the last one getting them on audio and start over. I love Clara and her family. Family is huge in this series and I too think that is so wonderful and not very often seen in YA books. Can't wait to read this one.

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    1. Oh, that's a great idea. I read all of these, but I think I'd really like the audio, depending on the narrator. Can't wait to see what you think, Jenn Renee!

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  7. I'm not going to read this until after I read Boundless, but I'm so excited to see your 5 stars! Yay! :)

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    1. I promise I didn't spoil anything, Rachel, but I understand your fear. :) Can't wait to see your thoughts!

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  8. I'm so excited for this and sad to see it end! I'm sure I will be full of emotions but I already found out how it ends so I'm good to go! I actually prefer spoilers lol

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    1. I know! I saw you checked out Wendy's spoilery thread. Bad, Jen, bad! I get it...I've had quite a few people ask. You Team Tucker peeps are a dangerous lot! :P

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  9. Thanks for this review, it helped me to remember all the things I love about this series. I agree that Clara is extremely relatable, which is a remarkable thing if you take into consideration the fact that she is a paranormal being. I wish I were her friend too. Then I would be able to slap her for some of the things that she does in this book :). I've been working on my review, and while it won't be quite as glowing as yours is, I really love this series overall.

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  10. I didn't read your review because I am anxiously waiting to read this one. I'm sad that it's over, but can't wait to see what happens!

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