Saturday 22 March 2014

Review: Unearthly by Cynthia Hand

Unearthly by Cynthia Hand book cover

Title: Unearthly
Author: Cynthia Hand
Series: Unearthly, #1
Format: Paperback, owned
My rating: 4 / 5

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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.

-- As seen on Goodreads

My Thoughts

I think I started off on the wrong foot with this book. I seem to be on some sort of angelic binge the past year or so – I blame Angelfall. It’s because of that book I went into Unearthly with really low expectations. Every angel themed book I’ve read since Angelfall hasn’t delivered. It took a while, but Unearthly grew on me.

**Note: If you haven’t read either book, but think you will read both eventually, I suggest starting with Unearthly, and then tackle the awesomeness that is Angelfall, but that’s just my opinion :-) **

It’s a slow building story. In the first chapter we start out in California, building up to moving to Wyoming, and finding out about the angel-bloods. There is a lot of information packed into one chapter, but it’s presented in an accessible way. I really enjoyed Cynthia Hand’s writing. It’s very absorbing and addicting and she took a lot of care in describing things without bogging down the story unnecessarily. You were given just enough detail to have a clear picture of the environment, without hindering the flow of the story.

Clara is the main character, and the book is narrated in the first person from her perspective. The best way I can describe what she is dealing with is double puberty: the regular teenage kind and the angel-blood kind. It’s quite entertaining to read! I ended up really liking Clara. She grew a lot over the course of the book. At first, I saw her as quite vain and a bit of an airhead, but thankfully, my opinion changed. She’s ballsy and stands up for herself and her family, so I totally respect that.

It’s nice to see a parent figure cropping up with regularity in a YA book, even if she is a part-angel. Clara is sixteen/seventeen and her brother Jeffrey is fourteen, so having an adult figure in their home lives is, well, pretty normal! I feel this element is often neglected too much in YA, so it was good to see this actually addressed.

There is a love-triangle I guess, but I’m not sure that accurately describes the situation. I found it a bit more subtle than some I’ve come across before, and more realistic. I’m not going to give anything away, but I liked the way things grew naturally between the characters in question. It didn’t appear forced, or thrown into the storyline just to create drama.

I didn’t find any parts of the book boring, but my attention did wander a few times. The last third of the book really picks up a lot of pace, and that’s what tipped this book from good to really good. The ending does have loose ends as most series do, but no cliff-hanger. I really enjoyed it, and since I’ve been searching for another angel book to even come close to Angelfall, reading Unearthly was completely worth it and it certainly held its own.

On a side note: Charlaine Harris really should have taken advice on how to make line dancing extremely cute and appealing. Just saying…


  1. Great review! I have been tempted to read this on a few occasions but I wasn't all that sure about it. After reading your review I am much more determined to give this book a go. I am glad it doesn't have the usual love triangle scenario that we see nowadays and that it puts a new spin on it. Thanks for the great review :)

    1. Thanks! I hope you enjoy it if you get the change to read it.

  2. I read Angelfall before I read this book... and I liked Angelfall a lot more. I just wasn't impressed with Unearthly. (I do love the cover you put up, though! The cover of my edition wasn't nearly so pretty.)

    1. As did I! Angelfall is my numero uno angel book :) The Unearthly series is the only one that's come anywhere close for me! Nothing can replace Angelfall though :D



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