This post contains spoilers. If you haven’t read “Unearthly” or “Hallowed” yet, do not read this review.
“Boundless” by Cynthia Hand
5 out of 5 stars.
It’s Clara’s first semester of college, and everything that has happened in the past several months has been a bit overwhelming. I mean, who wouldn’t be stressed if their brother ran away from home, you went on summer vacation to Italy with your friend only to meet another angel-blood (a shady one at that), and eventually decide to break up with your longtime boyfriend to pursue a dream you’re not even sure is your’s. Yeah, there is a lot going on in Clara’s life right now, but maybe college is exactly what she needs to bring purpose to it. Out with the old, in with the new, right?
Things seem to be shaping up quite nicely at Standford for Clara, and with Christian and Angela close by, she feels a modicum of normalcy beginning to set in; a strange thing for an angel-blood to feel among a bunch of full-blooded humans. Despite the uncommoness of it in her life, normal is exactly what Clara needs right now to figure out her next move. After a roommate gets injured, Clara discovers that her next move is becoming a doctor. Clara has a gift the of healing so why not put it to good use? Everything finally seems to be fitting into place for Clara. All except one pesky vision that has been hovering at the back of her mind.
With the newest version of her vision, Clara realizes that everything before now was just the calm before the storm. Nothing could have ever prepared Clara for what is to come, the darkness that she must overcome to save herself and those she loves. Is she really strong enough, like her mother had once said, to beat the darkness closing in, or is she just as much a screw-up now as she was back in high school?
The plot of “Boundless” unfolded very differently than I had originally thought it would (I knew the gist of the book, but not ALL of it), and although my favorite is still “Unearthly”, I feel that this is a close second because of how Cynthia wrapped her series up. Most authors that I have read so far have disappointed me with their final installments, such as Tahereh Mafi (I was shocked with myself too for disliking it), Lauren DeStefano, Lauren Oliver (ick!), Sarah J. Mass, and others like them. I guess that I don’t have a right to be disappointed in them, but I am. These authors in particular compromised the integrity of their story lines and/or characters at one point or another, and that bothers me. I do mind losing (because it hurts), but allow me to lose with dignity and grace, with the knowledge that my character was himself/herself until the end. Instead, these authors decided it would be easier for a reader to except their defeat by ruining their favorite character(s), turning them into something they were not so the loss wasn’t as great. Trust me, authors, it does not make it easier. There is nothing worse than a cop-out.
Despite my terrible track record with authors like that, I finally found one who didn’t do that to me. Cynthia Hand did a fantastic job of not compromising her characters’ integrity, while still making them change and evolve as people. She is now one of my favorite authors because of that, and I cannot wait to see what she does next. But before then, let’s talk about this book.
I really liked Christian in this book. He is a great guy character and I loved him as Clara’s FRIEND. Love ya, boy, but you need to stay in the friend zone. He and Clara are great and I love how they work together, but whenever something romantic starts to brew between them, I’m like: BACK AWAY!!!!!
Other than those moments, though, I really liked Christian. Cynthia developed him even more as a lead character in “Boundless”, which was good and bad for me. Good for the fact that I really started liking him as a person, but also bad because I started liking him.
Clara got on my nerves a bit in this book because of her indecisiveness about her own future, her relationship with Christian, her unresolved feelings about Tucker, and her brother. I totally get what Cynthia was doing, but Clara still irritated me a bit. Clara, luckily, makes up her mind about her future and begins to see her brother again, and what I did like, was that she started to realize just how selfish she had been in the past. She had hurt a lot of people over the past few years, especially her little brother, and so I was happy to see her finally understand that the world doesn’t revolve around her and her issues. Yay! Some character growth. By the end of the book I was happy with where her character had ended up; she knew where she wanted to go and who she wanted to be in the future, which was good.
Tucker, Tucker, Tucker…Have I told you already that I love this boy? Ah, yes I have! Countless times, too, from what I remember, but here I am, saying it again: I. Love. Tucker. Avery.
I will warn you, though, that my beloved Tucker is a bit of a wounded puppy in this book. Clara has basically put him through the ringer, so he’s angry (rightfully so), and then she keeps showing up in his barn unexpectedly, which is like salt on an open wound. Steel yourselves (if you are a fan) whenever Clara sees him because he usually goes on high defense mode and acts like a jerk, but a couple of times you get to see the sweet charming Tucker that we all know and love from the first two books. I was prepared for the attitude, so him acting that way didn’t surprise me, but it did make me sad that he acted that way because, as a reader, you know he’s goning regret it the moment Clara leaves again. Ahhhhh, but those two or three scenes where she pops up in his barn are just awesome, and I went into full fangirl mode whenever they happened!
I loved them even though they hurt me!
I think that the only thing I really didn’t like about this book was Angela. For some reason I REALLY disliked her, and all of the junk that happens in this book is pretty much her fault, including the end that made me weep like a baby despite knowing what would happen. I was like this until the last page, and then I wept a little more.
The thing that MADE this book for me was the ending. There is just something about it that is absolute wonderful and beautiful and heartbreaking about it, and I loved it! It was bittersweet and made me cry enough that I had to stop reading and blink so I could actually read the page I was on. Cynthia definitely brought the waterworks (again), and that makes me love her as an author even more.
As I said before, nothing went down in “Boundless” the way I had expected it would, but I was sooooooo satisfied at the end that I didn’t even care about my previous expectations/theories. The series/trilogy enders that I have read recently had left me very dissatisfied with them; I felt empty and wanting afterwards, and I hate that feeling. You shouldn’t feel that way when you finish a good series by a beloved author (at least that’s my opinion). Cynthia Hand, however, ended her “Unearthly” series in such a way that I felt satisfied, like it was a whole and complete story and that nothing needed to be added to it. I think that is the reason why I loved this book so much, and why I respect Cynthia as an author. She wrote a book that respected her readers (that’s a first for me!) while still ending it the way she wanted it to, and the way it needed to be ended.
Before I start crying because of how beautiful the ending of this book is, I am going to finish this post with a description of how I felt after finishing “Boundless”:
Well done, indeed!