Mini Reviews of Hallowed & Boundless by Cynthia Hand

If you haven’t read Unearthly (book 1) of this series, you can take a look at my review of Unearthly or my guest post on Epic Reads of the top ten reasons why YOU should read the Unearthly series!

Hallowed by Cynthia HandHallowed by Cynthia Hand

If I had to pick a “least” favorite book of the series, Hallowed would probably be it — but that’s not even fair because SO MUCH BIG STUFF happened in it …things that made me cry, things that made me rage and things that made me have a really hard time finishing this book off at while at the hairdressers without them kicking me out for being crazy.  I really did LOVE it.  Cynthia Hand wrote some of the most intense and gut-wrenching scenes in this one and REALLY made me Queen FlipFlopper when it comes to my Team loyalty. After reeling from the ending of Unearthly when we find out that Christian is an angel, I was so torn because suddenly Christian isn’t just the “guy she’s supposed to save.”  I commend Cynthia Hand for how she continually manages to really flesh out the characters of Tucker and Christian and make us really fall in love with them and really KNOW them — wish makes us dread Boundless for we KNOW she can only have one…unless there is a polygamist sect of angels that Cynthia is going to throw out at us.  I also really thought after the events of Unearthly, in addition to the continually building character development,  Hallowed did a good job of showing Clara’s guilt and confusion after her seemingly failing her purpose and I loved that because we really got to see her grow in this book. Girl went through some TOUGH things. So many tears were shed for MANY reasons.  Book two brought the feels and showed us a new depth to Cynthia Hand’s storytelling abilities. I fell even more hard for this series!

 

Boundless by Cynthia Hand

Boundless by Cynthia Hand

OH MY GOSH. I’m just going to tell you that this was one of the BEST LAST BOOKS I’VE EVER READ and honestly the best book in the series. Was everything wrapped up the way I wanted to? Not exactly — one thing left me a sad panda and there were a few issues I had because I didn’t feel like we understood the purpose of some characters — but honestly EVERYTHING ELSE was perfect. Just perfect. You know how I said Hallowed brought the feels? Well Boundless showed up and was like “You haven’t seen anything yet. Get out your tissues, bitches!”  And sob I did during three very poignantly written parts where I was crying for very different reasons. The action and the story arc were just PERFECT oh my gosh. I was clenching that book so hard and ravenously turning the pages until the final pages because Cynthia built the suspense with the precision of an architectural genius. Not only was I DYING to see how Clara and company would tackle their purposes and her super intense vision but I was anticipating/nervous for/neurotically biting my nails over which boy Clara would choose. Because if you thought you were confused about who Clara should end up with, well your head will be spinning during this one! I honestly didn’t put ANYTHING past Cynthia the way things were going down! ALSO. SAMJEEZA. That is ALL!  Super sad to see this series end but I had a great time binge reading it!

 

 

Have you read this series? What did you think of Hallowed and Boundless? Were you happy with the series ending? What were some of YOUR most memorable moments from these two books? If you want to check out my top 5 favorite scenes of the Unearthly series (as drawn by my 6 year old niece), go here!

Review: Unearthly by Cynthia Hand

7488244Book Title/Author: Unearthly by Cynthia Hand
Publisher/Year
: HarperTeen
Genre: YA Paranormal
Series: Yes, Unearthly is book 1.
Other Books From Author:  Hallowed (Book 2) & Boundless (book 3 — out tomorrow!)

Amazon| Goodreads | @cynthiahand |

I purchased this at a Dark Days tour!

 

 

 

 

 

As Clara’s teenage year ushered in the normal teenage issues, for her, she also learned that she’s actually an angel blood — half human, half angel — as is her mother and brother. Being half angel means that she’s fully human but she’s got some superhuman abilities and the angel blood in her can manifest certain angel characteristics such as being able to fly or having her “glory” manifest. She also learns that while she’s here on earth she’ll start to learn her purpose through a series of visions. When she finally gets a vision of a boy and a fire, the family picks up and moves to Jackson Hole, Wyoming where they believe to be the location of her visions. She starts school and comes face to face with the boy from her visions — Christian — and she starts to get to know him better and tries to figure out her purpose and what he has to do with it. She knows that Christian is her purpose but she gets distracted when cute cowboy Tucker comes into the picture as Clara is awaiting the day when the scene from her visions will come true. Will she be able to fulfill her purpose? Or will her own free will get in the way?

 

 

Ok, guys. You know me. I’m picky with paranormal and rarely read it so I was a little bit nervous about this one because ANGELS? I was skeptical to say the least AND the dreaded love triangle signals were there for me with all the TEAM TUCKER or TEAM CHRISTIAN declarations I’d see in reference to this series. And you know my feelings on love triangles. They have to be really well done for me to enjoy them! All that being said, I’m happy to report that I devoured and LOVED Cynthia Hand’s Unearthly! I’d definitely say it’s one of my favorite paranormal YA’s that I’ve read and I’m just not sure any other Angel series will ever top this one.

I will say that starting out I was really nervous because it was reading a wee bit young for me (as a 27 year old woman) and, though I was enjoying the story from the start, I was getting nervous about some of the borderline eyerolly descriptions of how a guy smelled or how someone’s hair looked or how she described the social statuses at school with things like “Haves” and “Have Nots.” I was nervous that it was just going to be a book full of these kinds of cliches but thankfully it was not like that AT ALL! The story really shook those things off early on and became this intense must-read-in-a-single-sitting kind of read that I was wholly absorbed and invested in invested in the characters and especially Clara’s purpose. The angelology was so interesting and I loved as we learned more and more about the angel world through what Clara knows and then putting the pieces together even more, right alongside Clara, through Angela and Clara’s mother. I thought Cynthia Hand’s storytelling was incredible and she really knows how to place tension, action, twists and BIG OL’ SHOCKERS while still having really great characterizations and worldbuilding. Very evenly paced sort of book and the WOW moments are of the heart thumping variety.

Let me tell you how much I loved Clara! It was so refreshing to read a book where the female was the paranormal/supernatural one rather than chasing around some OMG-SO-HOT character just because “there’s something different about him.” She was strong and independent and such a realistic teen girl with her crushes and insecurities. I loved watching her grow in both her angel abilities and as a human and I just REALLY loved her.

I would be remiss if I didn’t mention the ROMANCE. I know you all are just sitting here like “OMG TUCKER OR CHRISTIAN ALREADY??” The dreaded love triangle ended up one of the BEST EVER and I’ll hint towards the fact it gets even better in Hallowed. It’s so WELL DONE that I can’t stop gushing about it. Both Tucker and Christian are fully fleshed out characters — none of that cardboard crap — and they are both genuinely great catches — no douchenuggets here! The love triangle isn’t superfluous and it is so interconnected to the story. I saw an image once that said “if you took the love triangle out of THG you’d have a story about a televised fight to the death and if you took the love triangle out of Twilight you’d have a book about a girl moving to a town where it rains a lot” and this is SO SO TRUE. Cynthia Hand provides a love triangle that isn’t just THERE and is so important to the story that you really couldn’t take it out but if you did you’d still have an actual story. Both Christian and Tucker make sense. Christian’s the guy from her vision and he’s a good guy so naturally she starts crushing on him and then moves to more powerful feelings because of how interconnected her destiny is with him. And Tucker’s the guy who clearly is crushing on her despite his school boy teasings and whom she really gets to know through conversation and hanging out and then falls for him. He’s the one she falls for freely and naturally. It’s this amazing tension of this destiny and fate versus the free will and Tucker and Christian so aptly help illuminate this struggle.

So the answer to your question: I’m Team Tucker though by the end of Unearthly Cynthia throws that CURVEBALL at you that made me start wavering a bit at who would be better for her and make the most sense. I love his rugged cowboy appeal and his heart and his hardworking nature. I love the scenes where they are swimming in the river or fishing on the boat — just so sweet and carefree and lovely. AND THE BARN SCENE. OH THE BARN SCENE.

With gorgeous Wyoming as a backdrop, Cynthia Hand will mesmerize you with her irresistible story of angels, love, destiny and free will. The angel world she’s built is fascinating as we grow into Clara’s knowledge of the angel world, her powers and what her visions mean and how she will handle her purpose. Hand knows how to create tension, amongst incredible characterization, and you’ll find yourself wanting to finish this all in one gulp and she delivers jaw dropping moments at the right moment. With one of the best love triangles ever, Unearthly left me swooning, re-reading the sweet moments and ultimately, by the end, wavering with if I was Team Christian or Team Tucker. Romantic tension in the best way!

 

For Fans  Of: BETTER angel books, swoonworthy boys, kissing books, paranormal without all the dramatic and annoying cliches, a love triangle that doesn’t make you want to jump off a cliff

unearthly-cynthia-hand

Let’s Talk: Have you read this one?? Heard of it? Are you Team Tucker or Team Christian?? Let it all out!!

 

Some Vagrant Musings On Love Triangles

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I have to be honest — as soon as I hear “love triangle” when pertaining to YA literature I tend to get eyerolly and sometimes even run the other direction. Mostly because I’ve experienced a lot of love triangles that just didn’t work for me and some that were just outright annoying.

The sad thing is… love triangles that makes sense and just aren’t haphazardly thrown into a story for the sake of ” LOVE-TRIANGLES -SELL. I WANT-READERS -TO -TRIUMPHANTLY-BEAT-THEIR -CHESTS-AND-DECLARE-THEIR-TEAMS-WHILE-BATTLING-GLADIATOR-STYLE WHEN-MY-BOOK-COME- UP” actually can be a beautiful thing. All of that TENSION. All of that WONDERING. We naturally choose sides and root for the one we love or think is best for the MC.

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But I am SO SO SO sick of these superfluous love triangles or the ones that get in the way of an amazing story.

The fact is, if I’m honest, love triangles have happened in my life. To me. So I know they are a REAL thing and are a valid area to explore. Sometimes I knew what sort of struggle I was in. Sometimes I was honestly wasn’t even aware of it. I mean, my situations were NEVER as dramatic as the things I read in books but they were certainly love triangles. Two of the most “important” ones in my life that I thought I’d share because…I don’t know it’d be fun:

1) In high school I was dating a guy I TOTALLY was into forever. He was a year older than me and ended up going into the Navy. So while he was away, I was spending a lot of time with my, at the time, best friend who was umm a boy. We started hanging out a lot and suddenly it was evident feelings were changing so I ended up going out to his Navy graduation, seeing if I still felt the same way for him, I didn’t and then I ended up breaking up with him the next week. Then the former bff and I slowly became a COUPLE. Ex boyfriend still pined and called all the time and wrote really sad letters.  EXCRUCIATING time in my life. Even worse when the bff turned boyfriend ended up breaking up with me a few months later. All about the chase apparently!

2) THIS ONE IS IMPORTANT! So I had been friends with this guy at college for two years and we hung out a lot but then apparently he started to like me (unbeknownst to me). He introduced me to a friend on his basketball team (Will — you may know him now as my HUSBAND) and we all would hang out. It was honestly the three of us hanging out a lot and, stupid me, had NO idea that the boys liked me. But the problem was that Boy A was coming on strong when he realized that Will liked me, too. And at that point, I was kind of digging Will but didn’t really know him that well and still didn’t know my true feelings towards BOY A and so there was this couple month time period where I was literally hanging out with them on different nights to try and figure out what I wanted. Like one time I even pulled in to the parking lot of my dorm and Boy A gave Will the staredown because I was with him. I eventually knew, as I started to get to know them both, that Boy A was NOT for me (so many times I had to pay for our dates and he was full of himself), so I made it pretty obvious that I was into Will and the love triangle had to end. And then a half year of rumors started from the asshat that I rejected. GOOD TIMES. But clearly I made the right decision!

ANYWAY. This whole pointless post was prompted by the fact that I read a series where an author made me realize how amazing a good love triangle can be! You’ll see my reviews of Unearthly and Hallowed by Cynthia Hand up at some point but this series has SUCH a good love triangle where literally both guy makes sense. They were both charming and nice (and HOT apparently) but you could understand the things about them both made her have such a hard time figuring things out. There was depth to both of them. They had personalities. They challenged her. Sometimes I even found MYSELF waffling with who I thought was best for her and who I liked the best. I don’t even know who I think she is going to end up with in the final book Boundless. The thing with other books with love triangles is that most of the time I don’t give a crap because 1) one boy is a cardboard character who just seems like filler 2) one is a big asshole with pretty much no redeeming qualities except for being SUPER HOT) 3) it’s glaringly OBVIOUS who she is going to choose and who she is going to be with so why draw it out. Cynthia Hand’s series had none of that!

So tell me: What are your thoughts on love triangles? Do you like them? Not like them? Please give me some of your favorites that you think are really well done (not just limited to books — because UM right now I’m dying with the love triangle as I watch Felicity). What are some of your LEAST favorite love triangles? And because it’d be fun and I totally dished…tell me YOUR real life love triangle experiences!!

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