Friday, September 2, 2011

Book in Review: Unearthly (Unearthly #1) by Cynthia Hand





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. 

Why I Read This:

Rave reviews on book blogs.

This also counts for the 2011 YA Debut Challenge.


I was quite impressed with the route Cynthia Hand took in her vision of "paranormal" angels. Unearthly was my first young adult read with an angel as the protagonist and thus from the viewpoint and lifestyle of an angel living among us. Given from the descriptions I had read of other paranormal fiction books with angels, I had expected something in the vain of angel = human with wings, someone with interesting powers and the ability to fly but not much of a faith based existence.

What Cynthia Hand gives us instead are angels who have missions on earth, happiness that brings on the glory, and beings who may not have *faith* in God but because of their reality *know* that Heaven and Hell are for real. This surprised me so much! And I loved it! It was almost like a mental exercise in the question of what if angels were here, living among us humans. What would they look like? What would they do? Cynthia Hands world is well thought out, and very believable.

Clara was a wonderful character to have around in my head for the duration of this book, as was her mother, her friends, and all her love interests. I wasn't completely sold on the love triangle. I do like love triangles but her interest in Christian, the boy she is supposed to save for her mission, seems too one sided at times to make the love triangle aspect of the book work for me. I did very much love Tucker and enjoyed all the scenes that he and Clara shared together.

Although the love triangle aspect didn't work so much for me, the book did put something else in perspective for me. That is, I am really beginning to enjoy cliff-hanger type endings. Especially those which allude to something grander about to happen, but which don't *completely* leave the reader hanging in the big moment of the current book.  And Unearthly did just that. We get to see Clara's visions unfold but what unfolds is surprisingly much more complex than the book foreshadows.

Read this one for the characters, action, imagination, and the great plot but don't be surprised when you find yourself longing for book #2!

My Rating:


I read a library copy.


  1. So glad you liked this one! I really liked Clara too - and Tucker! He was one of my favourites. The ending did definitely leave me wanting more - can't wait for the next book! Brilliant review, thanks :).

  2. I liked the way Cynthia Hand did the angel mythology too. It was nice to get a good angel and not another fallen angel.

  3. I haven't read this one yet, but I've heard a lot of good things. I don't think I'll like the love triangle aspect -- getting kind of old, in my opinion. It still sounds like a good read. Great review! :)

  4. Though I haven't read this one yet I have heard of it for awhile. Most of the angel books I've read up to this point, I've been less than enthusiastic about. Maybe this will be the one that breaks the mold.

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