Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Unearthly by Cynthia Hand

Surprisingly, in many ways Unearthly by Cynthia Hand was another Vaclav and Lena, despite the fact that the books have basically nothing in common except both were mailbox surprises that I wouldn't usually read, but made an exception, and ended up really glad I did.  

Unearthly is the first in a trilogy about Clara Gardner, a normal teenage girl, except the part where she's a quarter angel a fact that makes her stronger, more beautiful, and more talented than all the humans that surround her. It also means her life revolves around a purpose, a reason she was born, the only problem is that Clara has to figure out what it is from her visions of forest fires and a handsome boy. The result is that her family moves to a new town, so she can get close to the mysterious stranger from her prophecy, only it turns out he is already plenty close with his serious girlfriend. It doesn't help that Clara keeps getting distracted by Tucker, the handsome yet annoying Southern boy who won't leave her alone. Ultimately, Clara has a choice to make, and its consequences are more complex than she could ever fathom. 

Okay- let's just stop and take count for a moment:
  1. Paranormal Romance ✓
  2. Angels ✓
  3. Love Triangle ✓
These are the three major components that were standing in my way of loving Unearthly, and somehow, Hand's wonderful writing meant I was able to get over all three. And yes, I realize #1 is kinda the combination of #2 and #3, but that's besides the point (I mean, it is possible to have Angels and a Love Triangle but not an Angel in a Love Triangle, so I'm holding onto that distinction). The point is, this is not a book I'd like, and yet I did.

What makes Unearthly such an anomaly is not only the incredibly adorable love interest- Tucker has all the masculine charm and blunder of Quince from Forgive My Fins, plus a Southern accent which really came to life since I listened to the audiobook- but simply good, strong, clear writing so that even though Clara's life was extreme, a lot of the issues she faced were realistic teenage ones. The truth is, regardless of if you are part angel or not, parents keep secrets, friends make plans without you, boys you like ignore you, and sometimes you just want to fit in even if it means dulling down your shine (literally, in Clara's case as she has to dye her sparkly hair).

Without being heavy on the religion, Hand manages a unique and interesting backstory for Clara and the rest of her kind, and I am definitely interested in finding out more as the story develops. Plus, despite being part of a series Unearthly works quite well on its own, with a fun twist at the end I definitely didn't see coming. I also liked how this wasn't a story about a girl magically discovering powers, but rather figuring out how to manage them, which makes it unique from many paranormal stories out there.

Ultimately, Unearthly wasn't the cliche book I thought it would be but instead a unique and engaging spin on a paranormal being dealing with normal teenage life- although I tend to avoid angel storylines, I make have to rethink my opinion when encountered with other books in the future.  The second novel in the Unearthly Trilogy, Hallowed, will be released January 24th 2012 and this time, you can bet I won't be hesitant to pick it up.  

Release Date: January 4th, 2011
Pages: 435
Source: ARC From Publisher / Audiobook
Buy the Book 


  1. Damn. You had a lot of the same thoughts I did when I wrote my review. It's better than I expected as well and I liked it more than the usual angel books I read.

  2. Awesome review, Zoe! :D I think this one turned out great, especially since you were having trouble putting it into words before. :D I really loved the shine part ;) haha

    Thanks for sharing! :D


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