Wednesday, May 22, 2013

Boundless - Cynthia Hand

[Please note that this review is for the third book in the series. If you haven't read it yet, you might want to check out my review of Unearthly (Book 1) or Hallowed (Book 2) instead.] 

Boundless - Cynthia Hand
Boundless by Cynthia Hand
Series: Unearthly #3
Publisher: Harper Teen
Publication Date: January 22, 2013
Source/Format: Bought || Hardcover

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 fulfill her destiny. But it won’t come without sacrifices and betrayal. (from Goodreads)
 
Most of you know that I'm a series-binger, so I took the opportunity to binge on the Unearthly series. In other words, once I finished Hallowed, I could see no other way to proceed than by reading Boundless. The conclusion to the Unearthly series is very satisfying, as it wraps up all the loose ends. Boundless was a completely unexpected emotional experience, one that brought me to the point of tears. Hand chose her ending carefully, and it paid off.

If I thought my emotions were all over the place during Hallowed, Boundless tore me apart and put me back together again. Clara is determined to make the most of college, and it's refreshing to see her experience the normalcy of dorm life and choosing a major. However, Clara's also waging a war against her misery at the many losses she's had to endure since she first found out that she was an angel-blood. But I'm glad that Hand wrote Clara in such a way that, in spite of her misery, she remained strong and certainly determined to uncover and fulfill her purpose and try to live as normal a life as possible.

The stakes are higher and the danger greater in this story, particularly when it comes to Clara's purpose. Clara certainly put on a brave front in spite of the wretched situations she was forced to face! Once again, her purpose has something to do with her loved ones, and so, I was highly emotional right alongside Clara as she discovers what it is and decides what she should do.

The concept of purpose is handled a bit differently in this novel. In Unearthly, Clara was confused about how to figure out her purpose and also faced the dilemma of whether to fulfill it or to follow her heart. In Boundless, she's come to accept the part that her purpose will play in her life and has figured out a few tricks in order to find out more about it. This difference makes it clear how much Clara has matured since the first book, and I think Hand did well with this transition.

Familiar characters - particularly her best friend Angela, her little brother Jeremy, and Samjeeza - have more expansive stories. Angela's story is of fulfilling her purpose, and the way that this plays out floored me. I don't think I was expecting Hand to take this route but it actually ended up making sense to me. Jeremy, on the other hand, returns to Clara's life, but it's clear that he's suffering greatly from his past. Clara's desperation to keep him safe and keep him near really plays a part in how his story plays out - and trust me, I was definitely not expecting this either.

Samjeeza, on the other hand, is a character I really felt for while reading Boundless. Readers are given the opportunity to learn his true story - his history, his fascination with Clara, and his relationship with Clara's mother. I had guessed at a few things about Samjeeza, but the truth was far more gripping than I could have imagined. While he's still a Dark Wing, and Fallen, I did find a bit more compassion and understanding for him. (He's fast turned into one of my favorite villains in a novel!)

Of course, I'd be remiss if I didn't mention the two boys everyone talks about - Tucker Avery and Christian Prescott. Tucker is noticeably absent in this novel, as Clara has decided to once and for all break up with him in order to keep him safe from harm. It is noticeable how much Clara misses him, and readers will witness her joy as she is occasionally reunited with him in the most random circumstances. There's a beautiful innocence, dedication and passion to their feelings, in spite of everything they've been put through, and a part of me wanted them to be able to be together.

And then there's Christian, wonderful, amazing angel-blood Christian. My affection for him still knows no bounds! His friendship relationship with Clara undergoes some changes in this one, as their friendship grows stronger. We see just how much they have in common, and how comfortable and right and easy it is for them to just be with each other. I enjoyed their banter and their many moments together, and I was sincerely rooting for them. Christian is something solid for Clara - a person she can rely on for support, encouragement and unconditional love and understanding - and that's good foundation for any relationship.

Obviously, I don't intend on spoiling the novel, so you're not going to find out who she chooses in the end. But seriously, this back-and-forth kept me on tenterhooks for part of the novel (and this aside from all the action the other parts of the story bring) -- and I think that Hand made the right decision, even though the way it happened was a teensy bit cheesy.

[When I posted my review for Hallowed, I mentioned that I had jumped ship to Team Christian. While that's still true as of my finishing this novel, I will say that it's by a very slim margin. Tucker managed to remind me of the way I felt about him when reading Unearthly, and that means my affection for him is nearly equivalent to the affection I have for Christian.]

Boundless was the book that ensured the Unearthly series went out with a bang! Hand wrote a solid ending to this trilogy, laced with unexpected events, big revelations and the cast of characters we've come to know and love. While Unearthly will still be my favorite book in the series, I will always remember Boundless being the most emotional read (for me) of all three - and how it cemented a permanent place in my heart for this series.

6 comments:

  1. yay for team christian!!! so relieved. hahha
    i too had a soft spot for samjeeza!! poor guy. :(
    i really enjoyed this series-- and i'm with on binge reading. i hate reading 1 book and then waiting a few months to continue the story-- especially when all the books are already out! it kills me to start series that are new releases. the waiting game is the worst!!

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  2. I thought the ending to this book was soooo bittersweet. It was happy, yes, but there was definitely a bit of sadness to it that I wasn't expecting. Great review!

    Kate @ Ex Libris

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  3. It's wonderful to hear about the final installment of a series that actually does its job well. Too often, I feel that a lot of series rest on their laurels after the first book, and the rest of the series lags. This, however, sounds promising, and I might just have to give it a go! Great review, Alexa :)

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  4. I completely agree with your review and I too am a binge series reader, I just can't help myself!

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  5. I was also a binge reader when I read this series and I was highly disappointed by this book. I'm happy this was worked for you :)

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  6. Ok reading this makes me kick myself. I have had this on my shelf since it came out and have yet to read it. I am afraid the back and forth between Christian and Tucker is going to give me heart palpitations. I can't decide who I like more, which might be a good thing since she can only pick one. I'm glad we get more background on some of the other characters, especially Samjeeza. I am just all around excited to read this book now. I really need to make it a priority! Great review Alexa (as always) :)

    Nicole @ The Quiet Concert

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