Mini-Review: Radiant by Cynthia Hand

Radiant by Cynthia Hand

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.

Title: Radiant (Unearthly #2.5)
Author: Cynthia Hand
Source: Purchased
Publication date: December 4, 2012

This review contains spoilers for Unearthly and Hallowed.

Set between Hallowed and Boundless in the Unearthly series, Radiant tells the story of Clara’s and Angela’s summer between high school and college. The girls visit Angela’s relatives in Italy, where Angela encounters her mystery guy mentioned in Unearthly or Hallowed and Clara grieves her mother and tries get over Tucker.

Radiant is a novella, so there’s not a lot of time for the story to develop. You definitely need to read Unearthly and Hallowed to fully understand the backstory here. This is Angela’s story, but there are sections from Clara’s perspective as well. I’m not a huge fan of novellas because I like a full-length story, but it can be nice to get a side story about other characters. This one is important because the events that happen in Radiant really play into the plot in Boundless. If, like me, you read Boundless first, you can piece things together well enough, but I think it’s better to read about them instead of having to fill in the blanks.

Possibly because I read Boundless first, I came away from Radiant liking Angela less than I did in the first two books in the series. She’s always been a little cagey, but now I don’t think she knows how to make a good choice, which is the start of making her not as good a friend to Clara as Clara deserves. I was already feeling like this after Boundless, but Radiant really cemented it. In the end, maybe telling Angela’s story wasn’t such a good idea after all.

3 1/2 stars