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Boundless (Unearthly 3) by Cynthia Hand

Boundlessby Cynthia Hand

Boundless
by Cynthia Hand

Boundless (Unearthly 3)

By: Cynthia Hand

Release Date: January 22, 2013

Katy’s Rating: 3 stars

Mitch’s Rating: 2 stars

Summary: 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.

 

Katy’s Review:

2 for first half & 4 for the second half – attempted spoiler-free review

I really struggled with the first half of this book. I remember Hand being a better writer, which is why I gave the last bok 3 stars despite what happened. Or maybe it was just pent-up animosity and unresolved resentment I had for the last book. Hallowed made me SO mad, and I’m not ashamed to say that I disliked Christian. He was boring. He was reserved, and not a mysteriously hot way. And he was kind of creepy.

I kept yelling at myself, “Why the heck are you reading this book?” throughout the first half as I moved from being annoyed at Clara being so hung up on Tucker (it’s her own damn fault) and nauseated by Clara and Christian’s attempt at having a relationship and forcing themselves to belong together. I wanted to yell every time I saw a variation of that phrase or the word soulmate. As far as the story went, nothing really interesting really happened except them trying to adjust to college life and having a few training lessons.

But it started getting more interesting halfway into the book. I am trying very hard to write a spoiler-free review, but I will say this. I was told that Christian will become more tolerable in this book, and I remember saying, “But, but, I don’t want to like Christian.” Well, begrudgingly, yes, he does grow on you. Now for all of those who are going to take that statement as a good reason not to read the book? Don’t. I promise you won’t regret it if you do decide to read this book.

As for the rest of the story, I read the novella before reading this book, and I think that does give me a strong premise for liking Angela’s story. It doesn’t make me resent her any less for being a brat, but I do have a deeper understanding of where she is coming from. I had a feeling she was going to get herself in that situation as I was reading the novella – both secrets, but the older WHO did catch me off guard.

While we’re on the subject of who, I’m sure everyone can guess the secret about Christian from early on – maybe not the who, but the role the who played in this book. What I was surprised to find out was that Christian had known all along, and it was the other parties that did not know. And I was shocked to find out the ties related to the secret, although I do recall a scene from the novella involving a kiss. Ew!

I will give Hand credit for ending the book on a powerful note. It totally deserves 4 stars possibly higher. The whole time I was reading, I kept trying to understand why Hand was pushing so hard for Christian and Clara to be together. And the end just broke my heart. But she threw in just one more thing at me which made me elated but baffled at the same time. Because I don’t understand what Christian is to Clara. Sure, I get the lesson that Sam tried to teach us, but it makes me wonder about a lot of things like why and what’s the point – which is why I didn’t give the second half more stars.

I know I’m being cryptic about a lot of things, but that’s just because I can’t reveal anything about this book. I will say that I am glad I read this book – the last of this torturous series. Now for those who were disheartened or infuriated by the last book, I hope you decide to give this one a chance. I don’t think you’ll regret it.

Mitch’s Review:

Sorry, I tried, but I just don’t get the appeal. I’ve heard lots of good things ever since Unearthly and I certainly understand the praise – in an angel paranormal landscape littered with train wrecks like SilenceHalo, and Hush, HushBoundless is far from terrible. Still, when I’m looking at the story, all I see are the same generic concepts as pretty much every other book in the genre, just better done. That’s great for people who actually enjoy reading about romantic woes, love triangles, and a smidge of plotting just so we can say there’s a story beyond just the romance, but I don’t think I can ever get beyond the fact that this is still really just a romance masquerading as an angel plot.

And ultimately, that’s my problem. Say what you will about how great Boundless is, but, at the end of the day, it still has more in common with its oft ridiculed peers than with a true angel book. Sure, the girl is a little less angsty and not quite so insecure, the love triangle isn’t nauseatingly vomitrocious, and the plot is a bit more than just your average good versus evil angels capped off by your typical fight to stave off the end of the world as we know it, but in the end Boundless is still working with the same ingredients that made all those other angel books ‘bad’ – can I really say this is ‘good’ when it’s the book equivalent of making the same shitty stew but using slightly better quality ingredients? Why does Clara have to spend fully half the book doing random college stuff with Christian while her father conveniently withholds the vital stuff that moves the plot along in the second half until the midway point of the book? Why does she spend so much time obsessing over her failed relationship with Tucker to the point the actual plot involving the threat to her life feels more like a minor inconvenience? Why does the climax of this book fail as much as Unearthly – when Clara basically just ripped off some dude’s ear? If I can make a comparison to Heaven, another angel book with a superficially similar plot, yeah, at least Hand’s protagonist isn’t shallow or sanctimonious and her depictions of college life aren’t nearly as laughable, but when all’s said and done I don’t think there’s really anything here I haven’t seen before there.

Actually, maybe there is one thing, something that’s bothered me ever since Unearthly – Hand’s excessive use of foreshadowing. Part of it, Clara’s vision starting out the prologue and the rest of the book being her trying to figure out her purpose and the end revealing how her initial vision worked out, well, that I get is the hook of the series and have no problems with, but it seems to me like Hand enjoys revealing things with basically the writing equivalent of ‘see, see, here’s a detail that’s going to be important later, so I’m going to make it so obvious you HAVE to notice it’ – there was the color of Jeffrey’s wings the last two books, and this time around, all the stuff about how something is going on with Angela. But you know what? After all the foreshadowing, you don’t just reveal exactly what I’ve been expecting based on all the hints marked by the big neon signs, otherwise the reveal just becomes anticlimatical, and anticlimatical reveals are boring. My reaction before reading this book was seriously ‘you can’t muck up the last book in the series with excessive foreshadowing, can you?’ – and somehow, I was still bored, because Hand really doesn’t deliver with the ‘is Jeffrey good or evil because of the color of his wings’ plot she’s got going on for two books now, THAT was textbook anticlimatical, and Angela’s storyline really wasn’t any better. I don’t think I learned anything about how her relationship with Phen evolves devolves after what happened.

The worst thing by far though, is the love triangle. I’m sure that’s a bonus for lots of people, but for me, it’s a massive detriment. Why? I don’t get the appeal of Tucker. He’s just a cowboy who can’t do anything because everyone else has angel powers, so Clara’s relationship with him is basically ‘she’s out saving the world while he’s back at the ranch doing… manly things?’ – so I see all my friends rooting for Tucker and I’m like, ‘umm why?’ because he comes dangerously close through most of the book of falling into the useless love interest trap, and I have no patience with useless characters. Then again, even though Christian does things, I don’t like him either, but at least there I’m not alone. For me, the only thing the triangle does is give a license for all these characters to act like jerks whenever it’s brought it, and why is that a good thing? And the other thing about love triangles is that you have to write the ending a certain way, otherwise you piss off your fanbase, so while I think many many people will be very happy after reading the ending – even if many others will be disappointed, it doesn’t really make much sense. Not spoiling it, but the whole point of Clara’s triangle dilemma is left unresolved except for a massive deus ex machine delivered by Uriel.

Yeah, basically, I’m thankful this is series is over because I’m not the kind of guy who enjoys reading about people bitching about their love lives for most of a book that’s nominally supposed to be about conflict between Heaven and Hell. A conflict that’s not even well done thanks to all the huge hints scattered throughout that left me five steps ahead of Clara and company the entire time. Next!

Additional Discussion:

While we were reading “Everbound” by Brodi Ashton, the topic of Christian and Tucker came up again…

K: Tucker, sigh, I love tucker.

M: bfjkhgkdbgkdhjfbg

K: hehe

M: that was me bashing my head against my keyboard

K: That was me giggling at your reaction

Since Mitch was wanting to know WHY Tucker was so great so that “maybe [he’ll] finally figure it out…

Dear Tucker,

Don’t listen to Mitch. He’s just jealous of you because you so hot because you have manly muscles from working so hard on your farm.

Even though your initial attitude had me all hot and bothered frustratingly riled up. But I realize you were just trying so hard to stay away but couldn’t in the end. You have a great sense of humor, and you’re one of those who tease girls that they like. Mitch is just mad because he doesn’t understand that while it can be infuriatingly hot, you were never  too assholish as some guys can be.

And once you let your true side through, you are so sweet and have that southern charm that just made me swoon but not at all sappy. You are protective, yet not overbearingly so. You’re also devoted and fight for what you believe in.

Don’t listen to weird, disconcerting, creepy guys like Christian or those like Mitch who just don’t understand.

Sincerely,

A girl who DOES understand you 😉

Mitch chose not to respond because he didn’t want to “pour cold water if [I’m] all hot and bothered? :P” and because maybe he felt like “letting [me] have [my] moment for once.” Isn’t that sweet?

Go to Katy’s review on Goodreads.

Go to Mitch’s review on Goodreads.

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  1. February 6, 2013 at 5:03 am

    Reblogged this on BOOK TALKS & EVERYTHING!.

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