Do not read this if you have not read Boundless or any of the other Unearthly novels. I'm not posting any spoiler tags from here on out. You've been warned.
Not entirely happy. I took away a star (and considered another because of my overall feelings), but in the end gave the book what it deserves regardless of the way I wanted it to turn out. This is a well-written (mostly--some gaffes, occasionally in the delivery), well-plotted book, and by far superior to many of its other YA cousins.
Boundless is a nice rounding to a wonderful series. Kudos to Cynthia Hand to a majestic concept, and tackling the dreaded Love Triangle with aplomb (perhaps, better handled in the first two books).
The characters are the novels main selling point. The story isn't revolutionary, but it has great pacing, and characters who carry the weight of the novel without breaking a sweat. Clara is hilarious. Her running commentary and off-beat comments are so delightful to read. I would often find myself smiling at her irreverent wit as it came.
What I thought it lacked overall was the tone that the previous two novels carried. It always felt a little melancholic, like your heart could break at any moment reading about Clara and Tucker, or Clara and Christian, or even Clara and Wendy/Angela. Boundless didn't have the emotional feeling of standing on the edge of cliff for me like the previous two novels. In fact, Clara seemed ready to throw herself over at any moment. That wasn't riveting, it was depressing.
My main gripe. The vacillating. Clara: constantly uncertain about the future. Clara: constantly uncertain about who she should date. Clara: uncertain about everything. Her unflagging devotion to uncertainty was so off-putting. I wanted resilience
, but if felt like she was forever leaning on someone else for strength. That was why I liked her mom so much. Her mother was a much stronger, independent woman. I almost would have preferred her story to Clara's. In fact, with all the crying Clara did, I assert exactly that.
Just like Clara's very own father states in the book, I don't like my lead females who lack conviction. And the journey through this book felt like that. I felt constantly dragged down by her doubt, and always looking to Christian for help, and then making him feel like crap because he was the convenient, best friend, shoulder-to-cry-on. But not the boy she loved. Welp, to me that makes her not deserve him.
It's been awhile since I read the previous two. And I loved them. Loved them hard. I was introduced to Cynthia Hand's novels fairly quickly after I joined Goodreads (right after, in fact) and I was happy to have such quality work offered up. Tucker Avery--good god. I remember loving him. In fact, all the reviewers love him. He's a revelation to YA love interests. Every moment he's on stage, his dialogue is captivating. Even the sparse few moments he's in this last book, he does it all over again.
My dilemma: I've previously entertained the notion that I would like to see a novel where fate says, hey, here's your soulmate, and the heroine actively fights it--falls in love with another deserving man and voila, he wins! They win! And it turns out, that I'm apparently a bloody hypocrite.
To me, Tucker & Clara failed. Clara pushed him away, and just as Tucker admitted, he let her go. They didn't fight for each other. In the end, that's why I believe they didn't deserve to be together. That's why I was in Christian's corner. He was there every step of the way. Clara's virtual cornerstone. But that's how love is. Blind, apparently. Unfortunately, Tucker's a great guy (that much, I remember), but his selling points were lost on me in this novel. I think I'll have to go back and re-read the other two novels, and give this one another shot to convince me this felt right. That it was right.
Last Note: Even in the Epilogue nine years later, Clara was vacillating. She says it doesn't feel right without Christian there. Exasperating, Clara, that's what you are.