Unearthly by Cynthia Hand
Description and cover art courtesy of Goodreads.
Publication Date: 1 January 2011.
I received an ARC of this book from International Book Tours.
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 story about angels, romance and the sacrifices one must sometimes make for a greater good.
What Worked (for me)
The character development and relationships described in Unearthly. As you may be able to to tell from other reviews I have done, I am huge on character development. I like being able to read about characters that are well thought out and described personality wise (not necessarily physically). I want to be able to emphasize with and know where characters are coming from, without it being heavy handed and competing with the actual storyline. Cynthia Hand has done just this with her characters in Unearthly.
I especially liked reading about the relationship between Clara and her mother. In most young adult novels, there is very little character development, or even mention, of parental figures, beyond them being a source of money or strife (or both). I loved that Hand was able to create a loving, though not without disagreements, mother-daughter relationship. Hand also developed the character of Clara's mother well, without taking the focus off of Clara and the young adult aspect of the story.
I also loved the scenic descriptions in Unearthly. Hand makes the town of Jackson Hole, Wyoming come alive with her fantastic descriptions of the town and surrounding environs. I especially liked her descriptions of nature and the mountains that she included when Clara and Tucker are hiking.
Cynthia Hand also had great descriptions of the angel-bloods themselves - how the Black Wing looked and the feelings he invoked in those around him, what Clara and her mom looked like when achieving Grace, and the way Clara's hair looked when they first arrived in Jackson Hole.
What Didn't Work (for me)
The romantic triangle. When Tucker was first introduced in the story, despite Clara and him not liking each other, I could see where it was leading. I thought to myself, 'Oh boy, not another triangle where the girl is stuck between two boys and has to decide who to be with. Who WILL she choose?' Despite not liking this aspect of the storyline, I have to admit that Hand really made the device work, and not seem trite and overused, by making Christian part of Clara's Purpose and not just another boy she had feelings for. In the end this did not take away from my total enjoyment of Unearthly.
My Rating is 4 stars
Unearthly Book Trailer
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