Unearthly by Cynthia Hand

9:00 AM

Title: Unearthly (Unearthly #1)
Author: Cynthia Hand
Release Date: January 4, 2011(hardcover) 
Publisher: HarperTeen
Pages: 438
Source: Bought

Overall: 4 Stars

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.  

My Thoughts:
Unearthly is a promising start to a brand new trilogy centering around angels by debut author Cynthia Hand. Rich in beautiful descriptions of the setting, it's also a tale of learning your identity when being a teen is already tough enough. Its moderate pacing helps move the story along in a way that once events begin to slow down, another direction is taken to build up interest once again. In this way, although I found the book to sometimes be slow, I was never actually bored...

Clara Gardner has only recently learned that she's part angel, and with this knowledge comes the fact that one day she'll have to fulfill her purpose. So when Clara begins seeing visions of a boy in a clearing before a great forest fire, her mother immediately packs up the family from California to move to Wyoming, where these visions have been occurring. Clara doesn't quite understand what the visions are entirely saying, but as soon as she sets eyes on Christian, a popular boy at her new school, she knows he's the one. Determined to fulfill her purpose, she tries to become closer to him, intent on protecting him from the danger he'll surely be in soon... but there's a problem. There's another boy, Tucker, and Clara might just be finding herself falling for him...

Clara is a very easily likable main character. She may have angel blood running through her veins, but her emotions are still very much human and this makes it so easy to try and relate with her. She has her doubts about what being a Quartarius (quarter blood) and everything this entails. Her mother is loathe to really tell her too much about world of angels... so just like readers, Clara is very much in the dark about her heritage. What she knows, we know. It was rather frustrating at times because you're asking so many questions but you're getting only a few answers in turn. Even after finishing the novel, which surprisingly offered some twists, you're still left feeling a little unsure about what's really going on. It's like Clara is living in a bubble but cracks are slowly starting to appear as she raises more questions about her angel heritage and the unknown dangers she knew nothing about. I'm hoping we find out more information in the second novel Hallowed!

As the description implies, there is a love triangle... but it was a rather sweet one instead of all riddled with major teen angst. The two boys aren't exactly competing at the same time for Clara's affections or anything (at least in this book, it could happen in the next one...), but are instead each sort of given their time to shine. There's the beautiful Christian, the only boy Clara should be liking considering he's part of her destiny and all... and then there's the funny and kindhearted Tucker, who Clara begins to develop feelings for even though she really shouldn't. I still can't decide which boy to support! As soon as I began to lean toward one boy, the other would do something to convince me otherwise. I'm going to sit on the fence for this one for now.

I know there are individuals who have been disappointed with some of the YA novels featuring angels, myself included at times, but Unearthly is worth the read and definitely gives you hope for more well-written angel stories! 

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  1. I think this is the best angel book yet. I also loved the triangle angle. I am definitely Team Tucker. I liked that it wasn't exactly a normal love triangle. I was irritated that so many questions were left unanswered but hope the next book handles them.

  2. I have had a seriously hard time with angel books as of late. Most of them I haven't liked and the one I did, I wouldn't really categorize as an angel book as much as a a female warrior. Anyway, I've heard really good things about this book and I like that you added in that last paragraph about angel books and being skeptical. I think I'll give this one a try and hope for the best.

    In the Closet With a Bibliophile

  3. I've been thinking of reading this one myself!! Glad to see it got such a good review!

  4. That is exactly what I've been hearing about Unearthly, that it will not disappoint! And the different take on the love triangle sounds very interesting.

    Thanks. Can't wait to read it.

  5. Really nice review Liz, I absolutely adored this one! I loved both Christian and Tucker and I love how you mentioned that they never seemed to be competing in normal love triangle fashion, but were each given their moments to really shine. That describes it perfectly! Can't wait for book 2:)

  6. It does sound very interesting, more than I expected. I like their take on angels and I Shall try to check it out! :D

  7. This looks like such an amazing book! I was going to order it off amazon but then decided against it, and now I'm kicking myself!
    Anyway Great review! Sounds really awesome!
    Perhaps if you have time would you mind checking out my blog?

  8. Great review, I'm glad you enjoyed this one. I'm sort of wary of angel books in general, but if I ever pick one up it will definitely be this one, because I've seen several positive reviews from people whose opinions I trust, including yours. =)

  9. I just got this in the mail today. It has such a gorgeous cover and I cannot wait to read it. :)