Series: Unearthly, Book 2,5
Author: Cynthia Hand
Published: December 4th 2012, HarperTeen
Genre: Fantasy, Paranormal, Romance
Age group: Young Adult
Rating: ★ ★ ★ ★ ★
From New York Times bestselling author Cynthia Hand comes a riveting original novella (available only as an ebook) set in the world of the Unearthly series.
Clara is desperate to get away—from the memories that haunt her in Wyoming and the visions of a future she isn’t ready to face—and spending the summer in Italy with her best friend, Angela, should be the perfect escape. . . .
For as long as she can remember, Angela has been told that love is dangerous, that she must always guard her heart. But when she met a mysterious guy in Italy two years ago she was determined to be with him, no matter the costs. Now she must decide whether she can trust Clara with her secret, or if telling her the truth will risk everything she cares about.
Alternating between Angela and Clara’s perspectives, Radiant chronicles the unforgettable summer that will test the bounds of their friendship and change their lives forever.
I absolutely love it, when the authors of my favorite series decide to publish these additional short novellas, aside from the main books. I think it’s a great way to give additional information on the characters or pay more attention to some minor events, that weren’t essential for the main story.
The ‘Unearthly’ series consists of only three installments (the fact I’m both sad and happy about), and ‘Radiant’ is its only additional novel. While all the three books are focused on the main character Clara, her life and the decisions she makes, this short novella gives the reader a chance to learn more about her best friend Angela, whose character is very significant to the story.
If there weren’t ‘Radiant’, there would have been this gap in the series – the summer between Clara finishing school and going off to college. And I wouldn’t have been this excited about knowing what happened during this time period, if it wasn’t mentioned in ‘Hallowed’ that Clara planned to visit Italy with Angela. Well, I definitely thought that would be a very interesting journey. First of all, Italy is emphasized to be the place full of hidden secrets about angels, besides this is where Angela once met an Intangere. And also, she has a secret boyfriend here, who Clara really wants to meet.
The story is not action-packed, but it gives a plenty new facts, mostly about Angela. I wasn’t not be a big fan of her in the beginning, given her know-it-all attitude and the way she constantly wants to be the best, but it was nice to learn about her experiences, aside from Clara’s, and to compare how these two different girls dealt with the same thing. I really love Clara as the main character, but I can’t deny that she did had it easier. While Clara always had someone to guide her – first her mother, who was a Dimidius, then after her death, her father stepped in, and he is a 100 percent angel. Angela’s mother is a human, who was raped by a Black Wing, and therefore Angela is all alone with her secret. She doesn’t have anybody to give her advice, and all she came to know, she acquired all by herself.
Most of the facts about angels Angela got from books, but once during her vacation in Italy she met an angel named Phen, who soon became her main source of all angels-related stuff. But also, the fact that Phen, despite from being centuries old, looks really young and attractive played its part. And soon Angela found herself in love with him. She knew that it was dangerous and nothing good would come out of it, but she just couldn’t resist her heart.
The book is really short, but I found myself quite satisfied with this fact. This trip to Italy was mostly about the girls looking for ideas about their purposes, and as it is, it would have been unnecessary, considering that all of this would be later mentioned in the third book. But as it focuses on Angela and her unrequited love for Phen, it was not only very refreshing, but also provided additional material which would be very important further on.
I found myself actually liking and sympathizing with Angela. She turned out a very strong person. The first two books showed her a bit annoying and one-sided, like nothing really mattered to her aside from fulfilling her purpose. But in ‘Radiant’ I got to see her inner world, and I learned, that even though her angelic origin may be different from Clara’s, she goes through the same emotional struggles.
I really do hope Cynthia Hand would write some other additional novellas for the ‘Unearthly’ series, it doesn’t even matter what character’s POV they would be from. I just really love the world she created, and Clara is really great, but getting to read the story from a different perspective would be really exciting. ‘Radiant’ is definitely a must-read for all the fans of the series.