Boundless (Unearthly #3) Featured
The past few years held more surprises than part-angel Clara Gardner ever could have anticipated. Yet through the dizzying high of first love to the agonizing low of losing someone close to her, the one thing she could no longer deny was that she was never meant to have 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 seemed 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.In the riveting finale of the Unearthly series, Clara must choose her fate once and for all.
Satisfying End To a Series.
What I liked: The cover (I WANT CLARA'S DRESS!), the positive message, the detailed world-building and Tucker. Clara remains a strong female character and there are a few twists I wasn't expecting and then there's Tucker. Wait, did I mention him already? (winks) A popular trend in YA love triangles is to make one of the guys appear more villainous than the other, but Cynthia Hand gave us two stellar guys, thus making the choice for readers almost as difficult as it was for Clara. Almost. (whispers, "Tuck")
What left me wanting: Pacing felt a little slow in places but not enough to keep me from enjoying it. I fell in love with Tucker in Unearthly, had my heart broken for him in Hallowed and was really expecting to spend lots of time with him in Boundless. (LOTS) In my opinion, Tuck did not get the page time he deserved in this final book, but then again, I could read 436 pages of just Tucker, so yeah. TEAM TUCKER FOR LIFE!
Final verdict: Good end to a series.
I will definitely read any and all future Cynthia Hand books.
A Mostly-Satisfactory Conclusion
A mostly satisfying conclusion to the Unearthly trilogy, Boundless was a great end to Clara’s story. With a shocking twist surrounding her purpose revealed and her final decision between green-eyed Christian or blue-eyed Tucker made, Boundless was almost everything I had hoped for!
Clara is exactly how I remembered her from Hallowed, making light of dangerous situations to hide her fear, hurting over her break-up with Tucker, and optimistic about her fresh start at Stanford with Angela and Christian. I was worried that Clara would be quick to start a relationship with Christian, given their mutual instinctual feeling that they belonged together and their seemingly entwined purposes. So I was extremely happy to see that Hand treated Clara’s feelings for Tucker with respect, reminding her that while she might hope to move on from their time together, it is easier said than done. It really made me empathize with Clara, and it added a level of realism I appreciated - who hasn’t wished to get over an ex, only to find that they’re constantly in your thoughts? But despite Christian’s best advances, and Clara’s runaway thoughts, the romance in Boundless truly takes a backseat to the plot, making Clara’s conflicted feelings feel natural; she was able to focus on the important things as they were happening, leaving her thoughts of Christian and Tucker to those rare moments when she was alone with her thoughts.
But, surprisingly, the plot was truly where Boundless caught my attention. I was so caught up in what each vision could mean, what Samjeeza was waiting for, what Angela was hiding, what new power Clara was going to learn next, that I really didn’t mind that the romance was put on the back burner. I loved watching Clara try to master her new teleportation skill – crossing – only to watch her transport herself to Tucker’s barn, over and over. I loved seeing her grow close to Christian, seeing them grow comfortable with each other, and watching them use their ability to ground each other to tackle some of their darkest fears. I loved that all of Clara’s actions were motivated by love – for her friends and family – and that that was a theme that carried over from Hallowed. And I loved watching Clara try to live as normal a life as possible, attending class and making new friends, all while dealing with her brother’s disappearance, the recent death of her mother, the constant ache of a broken heart and visions of death; it made for an absolutely riveting read as you never knew when a seemingly normal moment was going to be interrupted by something sinister.
But Boundless‘ plot is also why it lost a star, oddly enough. I was so excited to see all the loose ends from Unearthly and Hallowed tied up, but Boundless seemed to leave as many questions as it answered, mostly pertaining to everyone’s purpose. Was Angela’s purpose really to throw her life away? What was Jeffrey’s purpose – and why was he the one who had to start the forest fire? What was the point of the forest fire? Why did Christian and Clara’s destinies seem to be linked? Why was Unearthly so focused on Clara’s purpose, if in Boundless we’re to learn that the visions are actually just glimpses at one possible future? And if the visions are glimpses at a possible future, why were the visions always the same – why weren’t they shown the different futures available?
And then there’s the ending. An adrenaline filled rush, the constant fear of getting caught, the possibility of being stuck in hell – literally – and facing down one of the Fallen’s most dangerous. I was so EXCITED! But then, everything kind of falls in to place – quite conveniently – and is wrapped up in a neat little bow. It was…disappointing? Anticlimactic? Cheesy? I think yes, to all of the above. I’m also not happy with the conclusion to the love triangle – not because of who she picked, but because of how the two boys were treated. One disappears almost entirely from Clara’s life, giving us no closure to his story. And the other is given something that, again, makes everything a little too convenient.
But, despite Boundless‘ endings’ shortcomings, I still loved it. And I think it is the right ending; I really can’t picture it ending any other way. And the epilogue made me smile in that giddy, aw-shucks kind of way that my husband teased me for, even though it was over-the-top corny.
Boundless by Cynthia Hand
Why, Cynthia, why?! Why did you have to break Tucker and Clara up? You broke my heart, ma’am! But… I digress.
I knew at the conclusion of “Hallowed” that Tucker and Clara were caputes and I was none too happy. I was even less happy by the fact that her attempts to escape Wyoming and go back to California included her little puppy dog stalker, Christian. I mean, really, does the guy never take the hint? The love I found for Christian in “Hallowed” was short lived and almost nonexistent in “Boundless”. Scoffing every time he came into a scene was not the highlight of my reading experience.
I did find the non-Christian scenes to be interesting. The surprise pregnancy of one of the characters was a shocker. With the flat “almost” sex scene in “Hallowed” I never expected one of the characters to wind up a teen mother. Gasp! I did suspect if this was to occur that the details of the tryst would not be discussed… I was not wrong.
Again, Clara struggles with her purpose and the visions that seem to always involve Christian (why no visions of Tucker, Cynthia? GOSH!). This vision of Clara’s seemed a little more action packed so I was intrigued. I wondered if there was going to be a big showdown between the Black Wings and Clara’s little posse of angel-bloods. The results of that query were enthralling to say the least.
While the angel parts of the story were fun to watch, the attempt at romance between Christian and Clara was not. I ended up shaking my book and screaming at the fictional character Christian, “she doesn’t want you, man! Clucker all the way!” The indecisive air to Christian and Clara seems to have disappeared. Although they still feel connected I didn’t get any of the excited “romantic touchy-feely” vibe from the pair anymore. I just saw Christian as more of a best friend/brother-type now to Clara… despite their “we belong together” motto.
The action in this book was more prevalent and took up more of the book than the romance as the other two books were. This showcased the battle between good and evil more than the battle between the jock and the redneck for Clara’s affections. But it also showed that not all the good characters were completely good and vice versa.
One character I came to grow fond of was Samjeeza. He was kind of pathetic in “Hallowed” with his sorrow over losing Clara’s mom, but he seemed a bit more lighthearted in “Boundless” (as lighthearted as a Black Wing could be). I almost came to wonder if maybe he was actually going to turn up as some sort of family to Clara so that they could have a stronger role in each other’s lives.
“Boundless” was the perfect ending to a series I had hoped never would. I especially liked that the author did a flash forward in the epilogue so show what happened overtime with the characters. I hate when a book trials off and doesn’t show how the characters turn out as they grow older. I was glad to see things worked out the way they did but again this book made me choked up and openly sob on several occasions. The sign of a truly good book in my opinion. If a book can illicit emotion that strongly from its readers then it has got someone special within its pages.
Review posted on: http://www.ladybugliterature.blogspot.com
A satisfying finale
The final book in a series comes with a lot of pressure. This is especially the case with Boundless. As the third installment in Cynthia Hand’s (almost) universally-loved trilogy, I can’t think of a reader who wasn’t anxiously waiting for the answer to the big, pressing question—will Clara choose Christian or Tucker? For myself, I was fairly nervous. The Unearthly books are the only angel books I’ve read or am willing to read, not finding an interest in Lauren Kate, Becca Fitzpatrick, or Alexandra Adornetto. (Technically, I’ve read Laini Taylor, but her angels are so unique they’re not exactly angels anymore.) In any case, I think I can say definitively that Boundless was the strongest book in the trilogy, and a worthy conclusion to the series.
Cynthia Hand has such a way with stories. Her writing is smooth and extremely readable, yet manages to convey darker themes with ease. She is one of few YA writers whose prose I consider to be “mature and refined”, adjectives I don’t throw about lightly or without meaning. Hand writes strongly, but not in a way that overpowers the story or characters.
Characterization, as always, continues to be a high point. Everyone in Boundless felt realistic and grounded in the story, even characters who barely had one or two speaking parts. An author who manages to fully develop every named person in a story is a rarity, and it all goes back to my firm belief that Hand is one of the most accomplished YA authors. She has taken her raw talent and cultivated it into something more, something a step above.
As Clara’s story came to a close, it was hard for me to remember why, in the months after finishing Hallowed, I ever lost my enthusiasm for the series. Clara is a very excellent protagonist. She’s a very realistic, down-to-earth sort of person and in spite of her wings and heritage, she still seems very much like any girl you find walking around campus. The two contributors to the great love triangle, Tucker and Christian, seem like real people also, which made all the difference toward reconciling me to the love triangle at all.
Obviously, the love triangle was the issue most readers were concerned about. Funny, isn’t it, how even when a girl is battling the forces of Satan, we’re most worried about whose engagement ring she’ll wear? It’s actually something that bothers me a bit, how love triangles so often commandeer the plot, how the protagonist and her two love interests are the most memorable things about a series. It shouldn’t be like that; but it is. So what did I think about Tucker/Clara/Christian: The End Days? Not much. Hand finished what she started, Clara chose the guy who was the obvious choice in the end (after terrifying me that she was going to end up with the guy even she admitted was wrong for her).
The end, where Clara makes her romantic choice, was without a doubt the weakest part of the book. It was still good, don’t get me wrong, but it was very…cheesy. The epilogue was something straight out of a Hallmark movie, and even though I caught myself smiling, I still wish Boundless hadn’t turned out quite so…sappy, with all loose ends neatly wrapped. Really not a big issue, but looking back I’m a little miffed.
However, in the long run, Boundless was very excellent. Cynthia Hand reaffirmed her talent, Clara once again proved her worth. Any fan of the series who hasn’t managed to grab this one (I’m rather late to the party) should do so. In spite of the made-for-TV conclusion, I was still impressed with this book, and with the series as a whole.
Boundless is the much anticipated finale to the Unearthly series, and it mostly doesn’t disappoint. Clara, Angela, and Christian have all started their first year at Stanford where Angela’s vision has led them. Little do they know just how dangerous her vision turns out to be, and how little of it actually takes place on campus. Things almost immediately get really intense, and I don’t mean their course loads! Angela finds herself in a predicament that will change all of their lives forever.
As I said in my review for Radiant, Angela’s role is definitely larger. I loved seeing more of her, even though she’s not her usual upbeat, snarky self. She has some huge life changes coming up, and I could only hope that it ended well for her. Of course, there is a happy ending, but it takes a lot of pain and struggle to get there even with the help of her two best friends.
Clara is continuing to rework her sense of identity throughout Boundless from learning to live without her mom, choosing a major and career path, and reevaluating her purpose. It turns out that is has nothing to do with what she original thought, and I enjoyed that twist. It was definitely unexpected, but it made sense given everything that has happened. She also grows as a person and comes into her angelic powers. I really enjoyed learning more about all she can do, despite not being the biggest angel fan.
The romance takes a back seat to the action in this one. You may think that Clara and Christian will be all over each other now that they’re in college together, but nope. Everything keeps getting in the way of their budding romance, and then of course, there’s Tucker. Clara is obviously not over him, much to Christians disappointment. I think the author did an amazing job with the love triangle. It didn’t dominate the larger plot, and it felt natural, not forced.
All in all, I really enjoyed this ending to the series. I did get teary eyed near the end, but it didn’t bring the water works like Hallowed did. I also found some of the resolutions a little cheesy and convenient. I was hoping for a heart stopping finish, but things were a little too neatly tied up. The epilogue was really cute though, and even though it was a little disappointing, I think it was the right ending.