Book Review: Unearthly by Cynthia Hand

Posted May 3, 2012 by Lori in Books, Reviews / 3 Comments Tags: , , , , , ,

Book Review: Unearthly by Cynthia HandUnearthly by Cynthia Hand
Series: Unearthly #1
Published by Harper Collins on 2011-04-19
Genres: fantasy, Love & Romance, Paranormal, Young Adult
Pages: 464
Format: Hardcover
Source: Library
AmazonBarnes and NobleBook Depository

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.our heart.

Unearthly is about Clara. She is part angel and as such has been put on Earth to fulfill her purpose. Only she’s never told exactly what her purpose is. It comes to her through visions that, along with her mother, they must piece together to figure out what Clara’s purpose might be. They end up having to move from California to Wyoming to find the boy who Clara sees and whom she believes she must save during a forest fire. Unfortunately, as it usually happens, another boy gets in her way. When her future becomes her present she must finally decide what to do. Will she follow her destiny as it’s been mapped out for her or follow her heart and make her own path? You can probably guess what she does.

Unearthly is a very popular book. Lots of people love it and all the great reviews are what lead me to the series in the first place. And I can understand why. The characters are well-formed and generally likable. The guys are hot and perfect in every way. The setting is beautiful. The story is full of suspense and love and danger and high school drama. As far as YA books go, it’s pretty much perfect. Unfortunately, I just didn’t love it. I definitely liked it. I read this and Hallowed over just a few days. So I pretty much devoured them. And I’ll definitely be picking up the third when it comes out, but Unearthly just isn’t one of my favorites.

My main problem with the book was all the questions that were left unanswered. I was really bothered by the relationship between Clara, her mother, and her brother. I don’t understand why everything about Clara was so much more important than her mother or Jeffrey. Why don’t we ever learn anything about Jeffrey and why is her mother so secretive? It all irritated me. I wish they could have been closer. Or happier. Another character I had trouble with was Angela. I couldn’t quite figure her out, is she good or bad? She seemed to be a good friend to Clara but she also had a strong pull toward the Black Wings. I wasn’t sure about her the entire time and it drove me crazy. These are my own issues, I know. I just wish there had been some conclusion to either the tension in her family or some revelation about Angela. The ending was also left very open-ended. I understand that this is just the first book in a series, I’m not asking for all of the answers to the story. But I still would have liked a conclusion.

I did still enjoy the book and the writing. Cynthia Hand did a wonderful job creating a world of angel-bloods that lived side by side humans. The book is full of suspense and love and friendships and challenges that all kept me wanting to know more about Clara’s world.  I liked the characters that Hand created and the journey she set them up for. As far as main characters go, Clara was pretty good. She was beautiful and part-angel, but also flawed and insecure and relatable. As much as I was annoyed with some of my unanswered questions, Hand’s writing is what kept me reading.

Cynthia Hand does a wonderful job with Unearthly and creating a world with angels and teenagers and destinies and first love. I was certainly drawn in and held captive by her words. But in the end I was still a little disappointed with the book. Maybe my expectations were too high from all of the wonderful reviews. Either way, I would still recommend Unearthly to any who loves YA paranormal books and give it 3/5 stars.

3 Responses to “Book Review: Unearthly by Cynthia Hand”

  1. Have you read the second book yet? I think that’s why there are so many open questions. I liked the novel, but I think Hand borrows a lot from other books in its structure and it’s a bit too formulaic for me.

    • Lori

      Okay, I read the second book. I have to say that I like Unearthly and Hallowed more together than I like either of them separately. But yeah, still not a favorite.

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