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Monday, May 23, 2011

My Thoughts: Unearthly 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?

I am a terribly slow reader. It's awful. I can generally read a book in about three days, but that usually means non-stop reading. In saying that, me finishing a book in 24 hours in not a common practice. But, that is exactly what I did with Unearthly by Cynthia Hand. This was an AMAZING book. Which is really exciting for me. I've read some really great books in the last couple of weeks, that I've become spoiled by great writing and am leery when starting a new book. Even more so that I have had little success with angel books. First let me say that Unearthly has spent the last four and a half months looking pretty on my shelf, I don't know why I hadn't read it before now. But I want to quickly bring to your attention the cover. Is it not beautiful? Yeah, I thought so to.

I think I am going to have a hard time articulating what I enjoyed about this book. But I'll try.

When I picked this up Saturday afternoon, I had just finished reading Halfway to the Grave (I'm trying to alternate my YA reading with non-YA stuff), normally after I've finished reading something it takes a little while before I can fully immerse myself in something else, but I am a reader so I can't not be reading anything. So I picked up Unearthly not expecting to get further then a handful of pages in. Before I knew it I was 50 pages in and had no desire to stop. I loved Hand's writing. I say that a lot, but there wasn't a single thing in this book that I did not like.

The book starts with Clara recalling her vision, her 'purpose', which is basically her raison d'etre-her reason for being- The one task that she is destined to complete during her time on Earth. With the unveiling of her vision Clara with the help of her half angel mother is able to determine that her vision is calling her to Wyoming, specifically to a boy-Christian- Whom Clara was supposed to save.  There was some initial plot build up at the beginning of the book, but it wasn't tedious and annoying. It was a small part of the book, and I really appreciated it. For the most part, the reader experiences everything with Clara, and figures things out with her. I thought this was a brilliant change from most modern day novels.  I really enjoyed experiencing everything with her. 

Hand draws an amazing picture of the Wyoming mountain range. I live with winter about 7 months out of the year and I hate it, I am not called to winter nor am i swayed by it, but Hand writes about a winter that is beautiful. Even for Clara who moved from sunny California. She describes everything so well, but she doesn't spend the whole of the book describing everything. She does it in a way that puts you in the scene but allows your imagination to take over. It's so much fun. 

The Characters in this book are great (big surprise), I loved the relationship that Clara had with her mother. I have mentioned before that I have found parents abnormally absent in most YA books. So the fact that Clara's mother was present was a welcome difference. Their relationship was also believable. Clara's mom was just that a mom, she exerted her authority when she needed to, but gave her daughter space to find herself as well. Christain was an interesting character and things between him and Clara did not go as I expected them to. Which was fine. I read somewhere that people did not like Wendy's character, that she was a meaningless character, I don't agree with this at all. I thought she complimented Clara, showcased Clara's humanity, kept her grounded (no pun intended). I also read somewhere that Unearthly does teen romance the way teen romance should be done, and I agree 100%.  It was slow and sweet and it evolved from friendship and totally by accident *Sigh*.

I am very much looking forward to the rest of this series. The end of this book brought on a lot of "WHAT?!?!?!" Which I would be mad at, if Unearthly wasn't such a pleasure to read.  Overall I would encourage anywho who is feel discouraged with angel novels. This will exceed expectations.

Happy Reading Everyone!


  1. I've been wanting to grab this for a while now. With you finishing it in less than 24 hours, I'll absolutely remember to pick it up on my next trip to the bookstore!

  2. I absolutely loved this one as well and I would have finished in a single sitting except for I had to go somewhere :( It was awesome!

  3. The cover on this one is so gorgeous! I haven't had a chance to read it yet, but I think I must put it on my TBR list.

  4. Ooh, I'm a really slow reader too so it excites me to hear how quickly you got through a book this thick!! Looking forward to reading this one myself as I have not had the best of luck with angel books in the past. I'm really looking forward to reading about the relationship the MC has with her mother because every review I read for this book makes a point to mention it. Thanks for the review!!

  5. Oh it sounds great! I've heard so many great things about this one, but I'm so afraid to be disappointed I still hesitate to pick it from my shelf. I love the idea of present parents though, it's sad that they are the exception.

  6. I adored Unearthly :D
    One of my favorite parts was actually Hand's descriptions of the setting. I totally a city girl, but she sure made me want to go take a vacation in the country!
    And, you know, Tucker doesn't hurt either ;]

  7. Great review! I haven't read this book yet, but it sounds great!

  8. Rebecca HipworthJuly 19, 2012 at 7:37 AM

    I adored this book too, it was such a great read. It's definitely one of my favourite angel books, though there are many that I love just as much. :)

    Team Christian! :D

  9. I thought Unearthly was great! It was definitely one of the more interesting angel books I've read. I thought Tucker was one of the sweetest YA boys ever!

  10. I love this series! The characters are well thought out. For the love interest, I'm torn apart between Tucker and Christian.Can't wait for the third book already.

  11. Unearthly is one of my favorite books!

  12. I'm eyeing this for a long time now. I read bits of it while scanning the book and I can tell that I'll definitely love it!

  13. I also really like YA books where the parents are at least existent - or if they're not around, their absence is both noticed and logically explained. I think it makes books with teen character make more sense when that happens (either way). . . Not sure if I made note of it in my Unearthly review but I know I have in some other reviews.

  14. My favourite book about angels!! :) I really love this series and I'm team Tucker! :D

  15. I've heard a lot of greats things about this book. I like that the romance is slowly built up from friendship and it's refreshing to read about a relationship between the mother and Clara, I don't see that often.

  16. I haven't read many angel books, but I think this is one I must put on my TBR list. Thank you for the excellent review.

  17. I recently got a copy of this book! I don't know if I'll pick it up soon but hearing nothing but good things about it. But hearing that you finished it within 24hours is really good! I'm pushing this from the pile!


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