Wednesday, January 18, 2012

UNEARTHLY by Cynthia Hand

Cynthia Hand

Grade: A-

Description from
In the beginning, there's a boy standing in the trees . . . 
Clara Gardner has recently learned that she's part angel. Having angel blood run through her veins not only makes her smarter, stronger, and faster than humans (a word, she realizes, that no longer applies to her), but it means she has a purpose, something she was put on this earth to do. Figuring out what that is, though, isn't easy.
Her visions of a raging forest fire and an alluring stranger lead her to a new school in a new town. When she meets Christian, who turns out to be the boy of her dreams (literally), everything seems to fall into place—and out of place at the same time. Because there's another guy, Tucker, who appeals to Clara's less angelic side.
As Clara tries to find her way in a world she no longer understands, she encounters unseen dangers and choices she never thought she'd have to make—between honesty and deceit, love and duty, good and evil. When the fire from her vision finally ignites, will Clara be ready to face her destiny?
Unearthly is a moving tale of love and fate, and the struggle between following the rules and following your heart.
My thoughts on the book:
Unearthly is a refreshing novel in a genre that is overrun with cliches. I thoroughly enjoyed the well-developed characters, the complex story line, and the idea of an angelic purpose. However, the novel is in present tense, and you all know how I feel about that. Furthermore, I feel that a few of the characters could have been a bit better developed and that certain scenes dragged a bit. Over all, though, I really liked this book. 
Clara, her mom, and brother, have to  move to Wyoming from Northern California to fulfill Clara's angelic purpose. Clara is a likable narrator, and I couldn't help but relate to her quest to find and fulfill her destiny. I think we all feel like that at some point in our lives, though maybe not to the extent Clara does since her destiny is an angelic calling. If she doesn't fulfill her destiny, she risks becoming a Black Wing, which is a miserable, evil fallen angel. That point could have been made a bit clearer in the beginning, but by the middle, I got the gist of everything. Throughout the book, the reader learns the rules of the angelic world as Clara does. This sometimes leads to confusion on the reader's part, but over all, I think it works well. 
The characters, for the most part, are very well-developed. The only two that I feel are lacking are her brother and Wendy. Wendy is absent a bit much to be well-developed, though I get a pretty good sense of who she is, and Clara's brother is kind of a cookie cutter teenage boy. However, the rest of the characters are unique and dynamic. I especially enjoyed both Tucker and Christian. This is the first time in the history of YA love triangles that I actually LIKE both love interests, and I'm actually pulling for the human and not the supernatural. There's just too much to love about Tucker NOT to be on his side. While Christian may be all dark and broody and pretty, Tucker is bright and caring and adorable. Both characters are genuinely good people, that much is obvious, but Tucker is just such a good friend and boyfriend to Clara that I decided that I like him the best. Angela is okay, but for some reason, I don't full trust her. She didn't DO anything to make me not trust her. I just don't. Whatever. Maybe I'll find out later what my problem is, haha. Clara's mom is a good mother, that much is obvious, but I wonder what all she's hiding. 
The pacing for the story is excellent, and once you start the book, there's just enough action to make sure that you finish it very quickly. Things aren't always constant action or drama, but there's enough mystery surrounding Clara and her purpose that it keeps you engaged in the story. I also really liked the descriptions of Wyoming and all there is to do there. I never thought of Wyoming as being a particularly interesting state to live in, but it seems that if you're the outdoorsy type, then it would be heaven. I've seen pictures of the state, and it is beautiful. I'd love to visit one day, even though I'm not at all outdoorsy. There are bugs outside, you know. 
Over all, I'd recommend this book to anyone 12 and over. It's a pretty PG rated read, and the story is enthralling. I am looking forward to reading Hallowed next.
Want to buy Unearthly?


  1. Just bought this one today. I can't wait to read it.

  2. hey, I just followed you (through Hollow tours email) ^.^

    Ning @ Reading by Kindle Fire

  3. I've been putting off purchasing it, I wasn't sure how U'd like it but I think I'll give it a go now, thank you for the review :)

  4. Sara and Patricia, it's a great book! I was very pleasantly surprised. I checked it out from the library just to be safe, but I loved it! And you can't beat the 99 cent deal for Kindle and Nook! :) Hope you both enjoy it!

    Ning, thanks for following! I'm following you back :)

  5. I really want to read that book!

    1. Karen, it's a wonderful story. I really like it when authors add a twist to conventional plot methods, like Cynthia Hand did. :) Hope you enjoy it!

  6. Lovely review. I've just followed your blog through google friend. I tried via networked blogs but for some reason, it didn't take.

  7. I must read this series. I hear fab things about it from everyone.
    New follower from Hollow Tours Group.
    I love the pretty winter scene background you have.

  8. The cover attracted me to the book, but I've been hesitant to pick it up. The back blurb just didn't strike me as anything different from what I've already been reading. Nice review though, may give it another chance now.

  9. I am just getting ready to star this series. I bought the second book this weekend and after reading your review they are for sure the next books on my list to read. I hadn't read any angel books till last week when I read A Beautiful Need and I loved that I am excited to read these and hope I love them as well. Thanks for the great review :D


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