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.