Tuesday, February 1, 2011

Unearthly By: Cynthia Hand

Released: January 4th, 2010
Publisher: Harper Teen
Pages: 448
Rating: 5/5
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.

Well...this was a surprise. I must confess: I'm usually not into novels about angels. I tried a couple in the past and decided they weren't my cup of tea. I just spotted this book 2 days ago at the bookstore and remembered hearing good things about it, although I feared I wouldn't like it. After reading the first few chapters, I bought it, then finished it last night. 

I don't even know where to start. This book was an emotional trip for me. It made me smile, laugh, cry, and worry. No book, including among my favorites, has ever done that to me. Not since THE HUNGER GAMES by Suzanne Collins. I'm not a big fan of YA paranormal romance/urban fantasy, although I've recently read a couple that I personally liked. But UNEARTHLY was the most refreshing read.

The heroine, Clara, was awesome. She's no Buffy, but she displays emotional strength throughout the story. Her flaws are realistic. As an angel-blood, her powers have drawbacks, such as learning things faster, and she feels frustrated for it. She goes out and does things, and there's no obsessing over a guy for half of the book. And when she thinks about one of the guys, it feels realistic as she thinks about his positive traits. Yes, there is a love triangle (which I tend to get iffy about as a reader), but the guys, Christian and Tucker, are likeable. The romance is eventual and not like "Oh, we just met but we like each other already. Let's go out and kiss now!" Clara takes the time to know Christian (the boy from her visions) and Tucker. It feels natural and doesn't overtake the plot. Oh, and I'm going for Tucker. Seriously, he's so sweet. ;D

I appreciate the female friendships. I've read very few YA novels where there is none of the backstabbing or competiting for popularity. I really like how Wendy and Angela is supportive, with their own personalities and backstories. There were quite a few characters I wish were fleshed out more, like Emma, Audrey, and Lindsey. Kay is another one (the girl who likes Christian.) I've seen the "girlfriend/ex who likes the guy the main character happens to be interested in" done more than a few times. Personally, I wish to see more of her (maybe in the next book?).

The plot may seem predictable from the blurb, but the story started to go in a different direction. I thought I knew where it was going, and only two things that happened I guessed beforehand, but I didn't see the rest coming. The author was clever in giving hints without making it obvious.

And the writing - Oh, the writing! I love Hand's writing. It's simple but effective, with showing instead of telling. No overwriting, overuse of adjectives/adverbs, or any fixable errors. My inner editor didn't rage one bit.

There's so many things I want to say about this book, but I'd be rambling. If you're one of those readers who tend to avoid YA paranormal romance/urban fantasy, anticipating a book with realistic relationships/romance, and/or something well written, you might like this one. I doubted this book despite the critical acclaim. But after reading it, it was worth the money, and I can't wait for the second book.


  1. This sounds awesome! It's been in my to be read pile for a long time and I can't wait to get started on it.

    Great review :)

  2. Its amazing, you should definitely pick it up quick!

  3. Sounds like an awesome book. Can't wait!