Book Review: Unearthly #3: Boundless by Cynthia Hand

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Young Adult > Paranormal

(Unearthly #3)

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.

Book 1: Unearthly review       Book 2: Hallowed review

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I control my destiny.

…What an incredible journey this series was. *awestruck* So… do you want to know who Clara ended up with? *wiggles eyebrows*

When reviews started popping up last month, I was getting crazy! My pre-order copy from The Book Depository will only be delivered 2-3 weeks here in Manila. And each glowing review that I scanned (okay, read and consumed) made me even crazier. And my GR-TFG friends were aware of it. I was on text blast mode every time I got agitated! Oh, the insanity of it. Perhaps this is the first time I was truly rooting for a love interest, to the point that it will ruin the whole series for me if he did not end up with Clara. Yes, that was my crazy moment. Haha!

Story-wise, the conclusion to this angel-themed series was really, really good. I have my apprehensions but still, I can say that Boundless solidified its stand for the Unearthly series as one of the most concrete angel books out there.

My dealbreaker for love triangles: the feelings of the heroine to her love interest must be absolute. It means that from start to finish, there is no doubt that her heart belongs to that one guy. No ifs. No buts. Just him. I do not want my heroine to come across as undecisive, conflicted, and easy-to-sway on her emotions. If that was the case, I’m outta there.

It came as no surprise that Christian will have more face time than Tucker in Boundless. Clara was going to Stanford with Angela to figure out her friend’s purpose there. So naturally, Christian will tag along. His visions were still connected to Clara’s in some ways. So really, Tucker (my sweet little human) has no place in Clara’s life in California. =(

I admit I was getting crankier with Clara-Christian scenes, and there were lots of it. Studying, training, fighting. I was already sold out to the idea that Clara will end up with him. And it broke my heart. Imagine me trudging through the pages just because I want to get it over it already. *sigh*

Then came the twist. and the climax. and the end.

I was left reeling, close to tears in fact. I was even ready to blast Cynthia Hand online for the pain she caused me! But it was pain, heartbreak, and sorrow that I’d be willing to be subjected to again. Because I was happy on how everything turned out for Clara. Happy, but not quite satisfied. Is that even possible?

Jeffrey. His character has a lot of potential, but Jeffrey was written obtusely and was underdeveloped, as if he was just an afterthought. It would’ve been nice if his purpose was defined and cleared to compensate with the hurt and loss he experienced all throughout this book.

Angela. She was not my favorite character, but what a stunner it was that she was at the center of it all. But in the end, she was left in tatters. What’s up with that?

Samjeeza. Certainly the most blindsiding character! My heart went out to him. A simple request that has so much hold on his eternity… just wow. This is my favorite angle of the story. So tearful and disquieting. 😦

Christian. What a remarkable supporting character, but… I didn’t liked how he was built to be this undeniable hero, being Clara’s source of her glory, and yet.. I thought it was unfair, even for him. And I’m not even Team Christian! I’d understand if he disillusioned himself as Clara’s Knight in Shining Armor. But to be the reason behind Clara’s source of glory? Mixed signals, I tell you.

Tucker. Like I said, he was barely there in 2/3 of Boundless. But his quick appearances were heartwarming, spine-tingling, and 100% emotional. What’s not to love with this guy? Team Tucker FTW!

Clara. She was kick-ass. Dry humor, unfailing loyalty, and fathomless goodness – that’s her. Only thing I was not in favor of: confusing feelings towards Christian and Tucker in the middle of the book. Have you gone bonkers or something, Clara? We all know who you love! So pick him!

Boundless almost rendered me to a book slump last night. It was, for a lack of better word, poignantly beautiful. What an awesome way to celebrate Valentine’s Day. =)

I love Tucker and that’s absolute.

#9 Off-the-Shelf Challenge 2013

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BOUNDLESS by Cynthia Hand

Hardbound, 438 pages

Published January 22nd 2013 by HaperTeen

4/5 stars

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Book Review: Seven Realms #2: The Exiled Queen by Cinda Williams Chima

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Young Adult > Fantasy

(Seven Realms #2)

Haunted by the loss of his mother and sister, hunted by the powerful Bayar family, Han Alister makes a devil’s bargain with the clans. If they sponsor his schooling at Mystwerk Academy at Oden’s Ford, he will become their magical sell-sword against the power-hungry Wizard Council.

Han and his clan friend Fire Dancer undertake the dangerous journey south through war-torn Arden. Once in Oden’s Ford, it doesn’t take long for the smoldering feud between Han and Micah Bayar to kindle into flame. After several attempts on his life, Han knows he has to find a way to defend himself.

In the magical dream world of Aediion, Han meets the mysterious Crow, a wizard with a long-standing grudge against the Bayars. Crow offers to tutor Han in wizardry in exchange for his help. Han agrees, once again forced into a bargain he hopes he won’t regret.

Meanwhile, Han’s friends Fire Dancer and Cat Tyburn struggle with their own demons. Dancer is determined to become a clan flashcrafter, despite his charmcaster status. Cat carries a load of guilt, as the only survivor of the slaughter of the gangs in Ragmarket and Southbridge.

Resuming her disguise as gently-born Rebecca Morley, Princess Raisa ana’Marianna travels with her friend Amon Byrne and his triple of cadets to Wien House, the military academy at Oden’s Ford. There she hopes she will find both temporary sanctuary from a forced marriage and the education she needs to succeed as the next Gray Wolf queen.

Much of Raisa’s education takes place outside of the classroom. As she mingles with students of all classes from throughout the Seven Realms, she forges the kind of friendships that don’t happen amid the cut-throat politics of the Gray Wolf Court. She also struggles to deal with her attraction to Amon—an attraction he seems determined to discourage.

When Han Alister asks the girl he knows as Rebecca to tutor him, she agrees. The streetlord turned wizard with the complicated past fascinates her, and he makes it clear the interest is mutual. But Han blames Queen Marianna and the Bayars for the loss of his family. As their relationship deepens, Raisa suspects that if Han knew her true identity, he wouldn’t want anything to do with her.

Literary Awards: Teen Buckeye Book Award (2011), Voya Perfect Ten (2010)

Book 1: The Demon King review

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…I liked The Demon King better, I think. But this sequels has its own merits, so.. let’s put it this way: I really liked both books but, for different reasons.

The Exiled Queen chronicles Raisa’s time in Oden’s Ford, from escaping an arranged marriage to hiding in Oden’s Ford posing as a cadet. Han was also on his way there but going to the opposite side, where he was hell-bent on becoming a competent and powerful wizard worthy of his amulet.

This book was so hard to get into, just like The Demon King because the beginning was very slow! But, it’s worthy of investment. The Exiled Queen has that tone of Harry Potter..? Citizens of the Seven Kingdoms from different walks of life are learning to hone their powers and become a wizard. I didn’t like this part. Petty quarrels, diminutive discussions were boring to me.

Things started to pick up when the moment of Raisa and Han’s inevitable meeting approaches. I was so excited and giddy anticipating their reunion (of sorts)! And wow, I didn’t expect to swooon over Han. But I did! Over-the-top swoon. *blushes* He knows what he wants, alright. Oh, Han Allister. You swept me off my feet. 🙂

I pity Amon Byrnes. What a miserable situation you are in. But I felt no sympathy for him. Nope. I believe Han can beat him in a  fight again and again. Even without magic. Ha!

Raissa‘s character was more of a seesaw. Indignant one moment, selfless the next. I cannot figure out if she did grow up, now that she was no longer pampered as a princess, or if she’s still this stubborn heir to the throne who will stop at nothing to get what she wants.

The highlight for me? Han. He’s a go-getter, and smart. So smart. Hot-tempered yes, but I’m glad Dancer was there to ground him.

I think The Exiled Queen is more on character development rather than the plot. Raissa and Han dug deeper into their hearts on what’s more important: happiness to one’s self, vengeance, or the greater good of the Seven Kingdoms?

Cuffs Allister, you rock!

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THE EXILED QUEEN by Cinda Williams Chima

Ebook, 593 pages

Published September 28th 2010 by Disney Hyperion

4/5 stars