Boundless (Unearthly #3) — Cynthia Hand

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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.

In the riveting finale of the Unearthly series, Clara must decide her fate once and for all.

Boundless picks up with Clara, Angela, and Christian leaving for and starting at Stanford. Each of our three characters are dealing with new visions, new threats, and a new atmosphere. Samjeeza’s still lingering around, but he’s no longer the biggest bad. Or even bad at all, for that matter. Now, our angels are facing another enemy, one much more threatening than Samjeeza. On top of all that, Angela’s hiding a huge secret and Clara’s trying to navigate her relationship with Christian.

The very first thing I loved about this book was the Stanford atmosphere. So many YA novels take place in high school, which is fine, but moving onto the world of college was a fun departure. I thought Hand depicted college life super accurately. I could relate to a lot of the forced socialization aspects, the orientations, navigating a huge sea of unfamiliar faces, and somehow forming friendships out of all that mayhem and confusion. I also liked that Clara stays in school and goes to class throughout the entire novel. This shows what a dedicated student she is and makes her a genuinely good role model for anyone reading. Plus, it’s just more realistic. If you’re paying for an education, you’re going to get that education, even if you are a Triplare. And the Stanford campus was just a fun change of scenery all around.

Second, I loved how hard it was for Clara to move on from Tucker. Yes, Christian is supposedly her soul mate and a really great guy, but she was still in love with Tucker. And when you’re in love with someone, no matter how hunky the new guy courting you is, you can’t just move on. Plus, Tucker’s just as amazing as he always was. This is one of the few love triangles in YA where I’ve been completely torn about which guy the girl should end up with. I love Tucker and Christian equally and they’re both really great guys. And they’d both be great for Clara. I won’t spoil her choice for you, but one of the characters really doesn’t get a satisfactory ending. Or any ending. Which really grated on my nerves, considering how much I care about these characters. That lack of ending left a bad taste in my mouth and catapulted the series finale from amazing to just enjoyable.

Another of Boundless‘s strengths, though, is that something was always happening. This book was even more plot- and conflict-driven than the last two, which impressed me. I couldn’t predict any of the plot and looking back, I can’t believe I missed certain hints, but at the same time, I’m glad I did. I liked being surprised. I was also much more concerned for the characters, unsure of if everyone would make it out okay. The characters undergo a lot in Boundless, and they can’t easily bounce back from these events.

My problems with the book revolved around Angela’s plot line, the whole idea of angels’ purposes, and the ending. I really didn’t like the direction Hand took with Angela. I hated Angela for most of this book, didn’t understand the reasoning behind most of her decisions, and confused by Hand’s incorporation of Angela’s scenes. Sometimes, Angela was used as an important character, while other times, she disappeared for whole chapters. Then, there was her purpose, intertwined with Clara’s purpose. Purposes are supposed to be these big, life-changing things. These are angels put on Earth with a purpose to do God’s bidding. Yet, Clara’s purpose supposedly revolves around Angela, while the entire series leads us to believe Purposes revolve around Clara, the almighty Triplare. This is a little hard for me to swallow. Shouldn’t Purposes be bigger than just people? And especially bigger than angels? None of this made sense to me and, unfortunately, the ending doesn’t tie up any of these, or other, loose ends. The ending also seems rushed and unrealistic for me, but I’m sure some people will just be happy with Clara’s choice of boy-toy. I just thought such an explosive series deserved a better ending. But I still enjoyed reading this book and I still love this series.

Pages: 438
Publication Date: January 2013
Publisher: HarperTeen
Source: Bought
Rating [rating: 3]

Teaser Quote: “I should have fought for you, Clara, even if I would have had to fight you to fight for you. I should have never let you go.