Saturday, 29 January 2011

Book Review: Unearthly by Cynthia Hand.


Product details:
Publisher: HarperTeen
Hardcover, 435 pages.
Release date: January 4th 2011.
Rating: 5 out of 5.
Ages: 12+
Source: Netgalley

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.

Where to start when reviewing Unearthly? And how to review this one without turning the review into a total and utter gush-fest?! You got it - I loved this book. I have read the good, the bad, and the downright ugly of angel books and I have to say, this one really stood out for me. I’ve been recommending Unearthly to just about everybody  ever since I finished reading it. Why, such behaviour hasn’t been seen from me since I read The Body Finder last year, and we all know how much I love that book! Well, I pretty much love this one just the same. Cynthia Hand has written an amazingly addictive novel combining her unique take on angel mythology with a great coming of age story, and some truly wonderful characters. I was totally engrossed in this book from start to finish!

We meet Clara just as she is starting to experience mysterious visions featuring a boy in a forest. Clara is an angel-blood, and like all angel-bloods she has a purpose to fulfil. Her purpose is her destiny, the reason she has been placed on earth and her very reason for being. Clara’s purpose takes her from California to Wyoming and into the life of Christian Prescott. He’s the hottest guy at Clara’s new school, and now that she’s found him, all that she has to do is figure out when, why and how to save him…

I have to point out Hand’s unique take on angel mythology in Unearthly. I find that a lot of angel books can be very formulaic, with a tendency to follow the well-trodden path of good versus evil. They usually feature a love interest who has fallen, and who is intent on redemption, while all the while trying to keep a hold on that bad boy edginess that made him so appealing in the first place. That’s all well and good, but not all of the time, and I love that Hand has mixed things up here. There is great depth to Hand’s angel mythology and lots of secrets to be explored and uncovered. I loved finding out about the different forms of angel-bloods in this book. I‘m truly fascinated by Intangeres, Dimidus and Quartarius , and I can’t wait to find out more.

I warmed to Clara immediately. Besides the fact that she’s an angel-blood, she has all the same fears, hopes and dreams as any teenage girl. She’s strong, feisty and outspoken. She has crushes on boys that don’t immediately fall at her feet, and if certain boys decide to take an interest in her, then she doesn’t immediately ditch all her friends to be with them. So refreshing! Besides Clara, Unearthly has a great cast of characters, including Clara’s mom, who intrigued me - I want to know all her secrets, and Angela, who puts me on edge. I’m not sure if I can trust that one!

Oh, and the boys! The boys of Unearthly are to die for. First up, there’s Christian. He’s a total hottie, and an all round popular guy - what’s not to love? I had a crush on Christian right from the start. Sometimes I just can’t help falling for perfection. Then there’s Tucker. Everybody I know is on Team Tucker right now - he’s an old-fashioned cowboy with attitude, and he may just steal your heart. He’s truly an intriguing character. I know a lot of people are a little jaded by love triangles in YA, but this one is wonderful. It’s subtle, it sneaks up on you, pulls you right in, and takes you on an emotional roller coaster of a ride!

In Unearthly, Cynthia Hand combines romance, mystery, intrigue, wonderful plot twists that I so didn’t predict, and great characters that I truly warmed to. Clara’s journey as she chooses between love and destiny is captivating. I read this in one sitting, and I totally want more. I’m so glad this series is set to continue. Cynthia Hand is definitely a writer to watch. I can’t recommend this book highly enough! Go read it now!!

25 comments :

  1. Great review! I too thought this book is awesome. The plot of it rocks!!

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  2. Wow. These 2 people at the bookstore keep telling me I need to buy this and read it. Hmmm

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  3. Ok, everyone seems to LOVE this book! I'm thinking maybe I should listen to the hype for once and actually read it. Great review! :)

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  4. EXACTLY! You summed up how I felt about this story perfectly Leanna! I loved the mythology, it was definitely unique and different, Clara I adored and don't even get me started on Christian and Tucker - LOVE THEM! The way you said the love triangle sneaks up on you couldn't be more accurate, I was sure Christian was the main love interest and Tucker just kind of wormed his way in and made himself at home in my heart:) Beautiful, beautiful review!

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  5. The reviews I've been seeing for this book give me hope for angel books in general. So far, I feel like most of them have been in the range of awful to mediocre at best. I have Unearthly on my shelf for review, and I'm excited to pick it up! Thanks for sharing your thoughts!

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  6. Great review, Leanna! I am about half way through this book and completely in love with it. I couldn't agree more with you! I am excited to see where things go with Clara and Tucker. I'm really enjoying him. And I agree--Hand's angel mythology is completely absorbing. I can't wait to finish this book---so addicting!

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  7. I adored this book. ADORED it. I agree, it's equal to my love for Body Finder, if not even a little more! Great review---I'm so glad you enjoyed this one, too!

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  8. Sounds like this one is great!! I loved your review!

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  9. Great review. You got me all excited to read this one. I only read great reviews for this one, so I'm so going to buy it very soon. :)

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  10. Great review! I loved this book as well.

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  11. one more good review about this book
    cant hardly wait to have my own copy. >.<

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  12. Ok, after reading your review there is only one thing I can say: I know I'm going to love this, because you are my book twin and what you adore, I can pretty much be sure I will too :D Your review sucked me in completely. I cannot wait to meet Clara, Christian and Tucker. A fantastic, fantastic review Leanna :D

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  13. Love this review! Agree with everything you said and I am team Tucker all the way. He makes me swoon :)

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  14. I NEED to read this book now! Every review I have read has praised the book so much. I can't wait to get my hands on it. Christian and Tucker sound dreamy... I see another literary crush waiting to happen :)

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  15. I loved this book, too! I have to post my review this week. The characters and the world Cynthia Hand created is fabulous!

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  16. I have to say, I actually love gushing reviews!
    This sounds so great: the mythology, the protagonist, the romance. Really must read soon!

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  17. I'm looking forward to reading this one because I love angel books. I'm also glad the love triangle is done well since I'm kind of getting sick of them.

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  18. Thanks for your review !! This book is finally in my pile and I'm looking forward to read it !! I've heard great things about it and it seems like you loved it !! =)

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  19. I really enjoyed this one too - more than I expected. I'm definitely Team Tucker! It's the best angel book I've read - and I'm not an angel fan.

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  20. OMG! I can't wait for this one. I have it on my kindle, but I really want to read it from an actual book :(

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  21. Wow, terrific review and you have me convinced that I must get this and read it soon. I have not embraced the whole angel phenomenon, but after such high praise I will be looking forward to this one. Thanks

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  22. So glad you liked this!
    Cynthia is a writer to watch .. l so agree!!

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  23. This book sounds SO AWESOME and it sounds right up my street. I bought this on your recommendation and am so excited to read it. Fab review hun! xx

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  24. Arggh I still haven't got hold of a copy of this yet but do believe one is on the way. great review, can't wait to read it!

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