Boundless - Cynthia Hand Okay, I have been terrible at getting reviews done, lately. Just terrible. Gosh, I read this almost two months ago, and my to-review pile is starting to verge on terrifying. Once again. Well, even though I read this ages ago, I'm going to try to review it as best as I can. First, for the fangirling portion of our review:AAHHHHHH. IT WAS SO GOOD AND I HAVE SO MANY FEELINGS AND AKDJF;KDSJF;LSDJFLKA.Ah-hem. I just had to get that out of my system. (Also, that second gif doesn't really have any relevance. I just think it's hilarious and I wanted to use it.On to the (slightly) more formal version of the review:I really enjoyed this book and this series. When I picked up the first book, I hated it at first. I thought I'd gotten myself into another terrible paranormal romance in which I'd have to suffer through a weak and intolerable protagonist, a stalker love interest, insta-love galore, you name it. In the beginning, it really seemed like it was headed down that path.As I got farther into that first book, I surprisingly found myself becoming addicted to the story, actually liking the characters, and found that there were a lot of twists in the plot that I did not expect at all. What had the setup to be a potentially clichéd paranormal romance ended up being quite original in a lot of subtle but important ways. The second book continued this, showing a lot of heart and some great character development.These trends remained in the third book, which is (sadly) the conclusion to the trilogy. It's very different from the first two books, but without wandering away too much from the story and characters. In Boundless, we find Clara starting out in college as she, Christian, and Angela all begin their studies at Stanford University. (Side note: I found it kind of silly and unrealistic that they all got into Stanford and all chose to go there, but oh well. I see how it was kind of necessary in order for the plot to work.) Anyway, believability issues aside, I was happy to see a YA book that actually took place in college. As a college student who still loves YA, that's something I'd like to see more of. (And I'm not counting New Adult, because I have yet to see New Adult books that are more than just "porn for teenagers." Hopefully that will change in the coming years.) So now, Clara and her friends have to balance their college work along with dealing with evil angels (of course). Clara, Christian, and Angela are all having disturbing visions––which all seem to point to one terrifying battle and possibly Clara's death.Of the three books, this one probably had the most amount of plot. While the first two took a while to start up, I thought the third did a good job of keeping up the pace. Sure, it was a little slow as Clara adjusted to college life and whatnot, but there were still enough hints at conflict that made it intriguing. As I've said, it was great to see YA characters in college. But not only that, it was great to see teenage characters actually considering what they were going to do with their futures, what careers they might pursue, etc. I almost NEVER see this in YA books, especially of the paranormal variety. I just can't express how glad I was to see a paranormal YA book that didn't just center around the romance. Sure, the romance aspect is still important, but it doesn't consume the plot. We also see Clara worrying about what she's going to do once she's out of school. I guess this is a minor spoiler, but she decides she might want to be a doctor. I mean, she has healing powers, so why not? I thought it was awesome that she actually wanted to use her powers to help people:"I can't spend my entire life being afraid of the black-winged bogeymen. I have to live my life ... I won't be stupid about glory, but I won't sit around and wait for my visions to happen in order to do something with it."Just ... YES. I don't think I have ever, ever read a YA paranormal book where the protagonist was like, "You know what? I don't care if it might get me in trouble ... I have this magical power, and I'm going to use it to help people for the rest of my life, dammit!" But it's not like she's just doing it unprofessionally either ... She's actually studying for a medical degree. It's just terrific. (I mean, compare it to a book like [b:Halo|7778981|Halo (Halo, #1)|Alexandra Adornetto|http://d.gr-assets.com/books/1361296225s/7778981.jpg|10695325] where the main character is an angel with healing powers, yet all she does is make out with her boyfriend and whine about how she doesn't like watching the news because it "makes her depressed." Oy vey.) I also thought that, unlike in a lot of paranormal romance books, the whole romance & love triangle thing was actually handled quite well. As I mentioned earlier, even though it's significant, it doesn't take up the entire story. Sure, Clara does face some conflict in choosing between Tucker and Christian––but neither of the boys are douchebags about it; in fact, they're both quite nice. There is some jealousy here and there, but that's understandable.Also, when Angela says something about Clara needing to pursue her destiny and be with Christian in order to complete herself or whatever, Clara says:"Look, I'm a complete person … I don't need Christian to complete me."THAT'S RIGHT. YOU GO, GIRL.I also like that Cynthia Hand incorporated religion into the book without it becoming preachy. In books about angels, the issue is pretty much bound to come up at some point. And it's handled quite badly in some other angel books I've suffered through read. I don't know what Hand's personal beliefs are––which is good, because that means she didn't shove it down the readers' throats. The book does suggest the existence of God, but not in a way that says "God says this is right and this is wrong, etc." When the subject does come up, it's usually something like:"Whoever does not love does not know God, because God is love."None of that "Marriage is between a man and a woman" crap like in That Other Angel Book That Shall Not Be Named.The only thing along those lines that I took issue with was some occasional slut-shaming, but it wasn't really related to religion. And it wasn't too bad. But ... still. Oh well.I also thought Samjeeza proved to be a very interesting character. In the first two books he kind of seemed like a very typical, two-dimensional villain. But in the third book, his past involving Clara's mother became more apparent. And it got to the point where I actually felt bad for him. It was like, Clara was the only connection he had left to her mother, so she's the only one he can tell/share stories with.And now for the spoilers section:Parts I wanted to address in some way or another:- Angela getting pregnant (and having a baby): WHOA, I did not see that one coming. But I thought it was kinda cool, in a way. I would like it if more YA authors showed that there can be consequences of having unprotected sex. I've read several YA books where characters had unprotected sex like it was no big deal, and nothing happened to them ... no STDs, no pregnancy. I'd like to see more YA authors address the issue of protected vs. unprotected sex and pregnancy, etc. But anyway, Angela getting pregnant wasn't some kind of PSA, either. I think it helped her to develop a lot as a character, and it was significant to the plot. - Jeffrey's whole relationship with Lucy and how she turned out to be evil and everything: Eh, I was not really a fan of this. It was just SO OBVIOUS, it was almost painful. I mean, come on:Jeffrey: "Yeah, I'm thinking a bird [tattoo] on my shoulder, like a hawk or something."Lucy: "Maybe a raven."Yeah, it's not like you have been using a raven as a sign of evil throughout the whole series. Anyway, moving along ...- The scene where Clara visits her mom in the past: TEARS, JUST TEARS EVERYWHERE. I COULDN'T HANDLE MY FEELS.Acck it was just so beautiful.- In hell, there's an evil tattoo parlor where people get their sins tattooed on them: AWESOME. That was just ... awesome. I thought it was a really cool idea.- Angela and Christian are half-siblings: DAYUMMM. Well, that would explain the whole thing where they kissed (in [b:Radiant|15851966|Radiant (Unearthly, #2.5)|Cynthia Hand|http://d.gr-assets.com/books/1350604973s/15851966.jpg|21599375]) and Angela was like, "Eew, it felt like I was kissing my brother." Well played, Cynthia Hand.- Okay, the ending. Hmm. I had very mixed feelings about it. I mean, sure I was happy Clara ended up with Tucker. I like Tucker. It was sweet and everything. It just felt a little convenient to me that he became semi-immortal and all. Also, I felt like Christian just kind of got cast aside. It sucks how in a lot of these love triangle scenarios, one of the guys basically gets totally forgotten at the end. It had a rather Hunger Games-esque annoying flash-forward endings where it was like, "La di da, here's the future where we're married and have kids. And what happened to that other guy? Oh, who knows. He's around somewhere. Whatevs." So, that kind of pissed me off. But, oh well.Over all, I thought this was a great conclusion to the series, which was both heartfelt and exciting. I really enjoyed reading it, and I'm eager to see what Cynthia Hand does next!