Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Review: Unearthly

Title: Unearthly
Series: Unearthly, #1
Author: Cynthia Hand
Release Date: January 4, 2011
Publisher: HarperTeen
Cover Designer:
Sasha Illingworth
Age Audience: YA
Genre: Paranormal
Tagline: In the beginning, there's a boy standing in the trees....
Summary: 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?

My Review:
After the double disappointment of Hush, Hush and Halo, I came to the conclusion that there are no good YA angel books out there. After hearing about Unearthly, I wanted it to prove me wrong.
I’m so, so glad to say that it did.

Clara was such a good protagonist. She was a little selfish, but she knew it, so it didn’t make her unlikable at all. I liked how she already knew she was part angel, so there wasn’t a big part of the book dedicated to Clara finding out about her true identity. I liked all the side characters too. Clara’s mother was over a hundred years (though she didn’t look older than forty), and I was really glad to see that she was wise like someone who had been around for a long time and seen a lot, but didn’t act too old.

The angel lore was simple and clearly explained, which was a good thing! I’ve said it before, and I’ll say it again: you do not need to come up with a great big complicated magic system to have a good paranormal romance. Clara and her little brother were quarter angels, called Quartarius, and their mother was a half angel, Dimidius. All the part angels have a “purpose”, which is the task for which they were born to complete. They are also smarter, stronger and faster than humans, but that part is obvious.

As for the romance...I loved how it had so much buildup! Months pass, MONTHS, before Clara as much as kisses anyone. (I won’t say who!) It also meant that the story moved along a little slowly, but I would much rather have that than insta-love. Clara even says that she's "not going to become one of those girls whose boyfriend treats her like crap and she still fawns over him."
Dear Clara, how I wish every female protagonist in paranormal YA could say that.
Another thing I want to point out is that even though the summary makes it sound like there’s a love triangle, I wouldn’t really say that. I can’t explain why without giving away spoilers, but while there were two boys involved, I didn’t think of it as a love triangle.

Especially if you’ve also been disappointed by previous YA angel books, don’t hesitate to read Unearthly. It’s given me hope for future books of its sub-genre. I just wish I didn't have to wait until 2012 for Hallowed!


  1. I definitely agree! Halo was awful, I absolutely HATED it. It was so slow and boring and the characters were just ridiculous. But I really liked Unearthly. As for the romance, I totally agree how it builds up. I think the guy she chooses is really kind of wonderful, and so normal, there's really nothing magical or special about him, he's just an average guy, and I loved that. Awesome review :)

  2. I loved this book. Tucker. Tucker is the best thing to happen to YA fiction since Gilbert Blythe. I loved that he called Clara carrots. Also, he has HOBBIES! He doesn't sit in his room and listen to music and brood. It's river rafting, fishing, hiking, and the like. Talk about a breath of fresh air.


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