30 August 2013

Unearthly by Cynthia Hand

Unearthly by Cynthia Hand
Unearthly #1
Release Date: January 4, 2011
Publisher: HarperTeen
Source: Bought
Rating: 4 out of 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? - Goodreads

I read this a while ago on a whim and ended up really enjoying it, although I've yet to read the sequel >.< I'll get round to it eventually.

Unearthly tells the story of Clara Gardner, a teenage girl with some very unusual lineage; she's part angel. This first novel deals with one of the most important duties of angels - their 'purpose'. Having a purpose, for an angel, is basically like having something they have to do; they discover their purpose, like Clara, through dreams and visions. Clara dreams of a boy standing in a burning forest and knows she must save him. This mission leads her and her family to a new town where she finds the boy from her dreams. And then shit gets somewhat real.

What I really liked about this book was how well researched the angel mythology was; the idea of Glory, the visions and the knowledge of being put on Earth to do something meaningful felt more authentic than your standard YA angel mythology, in which they seem to be ~strong~ and ~sexy~ without being much of anything else. The focus on the angel mythology was also a really big part of the book's appeal to me, because it builds slowly right alongside Clara's own character development and thus never felt rushed. I'll also briefly mention an excellent reveal toward the end of the book, in which the angel mythology becomes truly fantastic:

(Highlight to view)

The Black Wings were undoubtedly my favourite reveal in the entire novel. I wasn't expecting it, even though Hand beautifully foreshadowed them with subtle hints throughout the book. Beautiful, powerful, fallen angels who carry around a sorrow so profound it cripples any angel that comes across them? SO COOL, I WANT MORE. Obviously I am here for any romance that could happen with Clara/her mother and any fallen angel because who am I. <<<

I also liked Clara, although I found her fascination with Christian deeply tedious. As a protagonist, she is interesting and likeable, and I found her refreshing because she truly loves being angelic. It was nice to read the POV of a teenage girl who was mostly accepting of who she is because you don't find that very often in mainstream YA anymore.

The romance is  mostly lovely but this is because I enjoyed Tucker and Clara together. Their personalities were different but they still complimented each other really well, I thought. The two of them have some really sweet moments throughout the novel so that when the inevitable I love you's happen it feels natural as opposed to embarrassing for everyone involved, including the reader. I am not here for Christian and Clara in any capacity however; it's boring and predictable and I want more from a trilogy with this much potential. 

In conclusion, this is a pretty good read with so much potential to keep getting better. This first novel leaves us with so many questions and brilliant developments SPOILER (JEFFREY ARE YOU FALLING I KNEW I LOVED YOU FROM THE MOMENT I MET YOUUUU) that made me really excited to read the next book in the series. Which I will do once I've emerged from my current to-read pile *salutes*


  1. My thoughts exactly! Clara's obsession with Christian was very annoying, and Tucker really made the novel. Also your point about Jeffrey: YES. (Won't expand because spoilers but YES to what you said!)

  2. I liked this book a lot, especially the angel mythology :) I'm not a fan of Christian, so all the time she spends with him is non-existent to me. Yeay Tucker!

  3. I completely agree with the review and the spoiler too! I haven't gotten around to reading the sequel either but I really have to. One day, after I read my other 34183012831823 books, haha.
    Laura @ Music Plus Books

  4. Oh I loved this book so much. It's such a shame that the third book in this series wasn't picked up by UK publishers because I loved this first book very much and I loved the second book EVEN MORE. I usually despise angel stories, but I love the way in which Cynthia Hand goes about the mythology in this series.

  5. This was such a great book, so glad you liked it!!!


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