Tuesday, January 4, 2011

Unearthly by Cynthia Hand

Title: Unearthly
Author: Cynthia Hand
Publisher: HarperTeen
e-ARC, 255 pages
Date Published: January 4, 2011

Description (Taken from Goodreads):
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.
Let me preface this entire review by first saying that I don’t like angel stories. I rarely come across one that I enjoy, let alone love, but Unearthly is one of those rare exceptions. I loved it. Every. Single. Page. Of. It.

Clara Gardner is part angel or angel-blood as Cynthia Hand calls it. But the thing is, Clara isn’t an angel-blood who just happens to be a teenage girl, she’s a teenage girl who just happens to be an angel-blood. And she acts like it. She’s insecure and moody and fights with her mom and her brother. She’s a little bitter about her purpose as an angel and how it controls her life. Clara is a teenage girl, but she has to balance that with her destiny as an angel.

Hand masterfully creates Clara’s story, so that it reads like a contemporary love story, but has plenty of angel lore to reel in paranormal/supernatural lovers. This take on angels is something I’ve never read before and I was enthralled with the mythology behind these angel-bloods.

The characters of Unearthly are well-developed and I never felt like they were lacking. Clara’s Lorelei Gilmore-ish mom, her fun-loving younger brother Jeffrey, and friends Wendy and Angela are all unique and engaging in their own way. But let’s get to what everyone wants to hear about: the boy.

Clara’s love life really does not exist for the majority of the book and it’s wonderful – we get to know the real Clara, instead of love-struck Clara. But the boys are swoonworthy nonetheless. Christian, the boy from the visions Christian, is, as Wendy puts it, god-like. You can’t blame a girl for fainting around a guy like that, especially when being around him may or may not trigger visions.

As great as Christian is, I feel the need to gush about Tucker – Tucker who is snarky and rude and teases Clara and her orange hair by calling her Carrots. I love this boy and trust me, you will too. He’s engaging to read from the get-go, but once the story picks up, I never wanted Tucker to go away.

Unearthly is a sweet love story hidden in the mythology of angels on earth; here to do some life-saving, purpose-driven, destiny-following deeds. Cynthia Hand’s debut is tender, wrought with tension, and will easily be one of my favorite reads of the year. If the cover isn’t enough for you to pick this up, then hopefully this review directs you straight to the bookstore.

Opening line:
In the beginning, there’s a boy standing in the trees. ~ pg. 9

Favorite lines: “Oh, come on. You eye-hump him all through British History. I thought you were just enraptured, the way everyone at school seems to be. I’m happy to find out that you have a good reason.” ~ pg. 106
*This is the ARC version and lines, cover art, etc. may be subject to change before official publication. E-book page numbers may not match with physical copies.
 I want to give it more than 5, but that's as high as my rating system goes
*This review is my honest opinion and I received no monetary compensation from it.

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Lori @ Pure Imagination said...

Haha my review had the same preface!! I strongly dislike angle books, but this one was a HUGE exception! I LOVED it!

Awesome review!!

Nikki (Wicked Awesome Books) said...

Haha, I figured I'd put that out there just so people realize how good it is. Unearthly is the type of book that I normally would not like, but I loved it :D

Melissa (Books and Things) said...

I really enjoyed this one too. Love your fave quotes. I had one too. ;) lol

Great review. I agree Tucker was great!

~The Book Pixie said...

I haven't read many angel books at all and the ones I have, I've enjoyed so I get the feeling I'll fall head over heels in love with this one, especially since you don't really care for angel books. Believe it or not, the Lorelei reference is one thing that really stuck out to me in your review. Love her! lol. Thanks for posting this great review and I'm really glad you loved this! :D


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