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Thursday, January 20, 2011

Review: Unearthly by Cynthia Hand

Title: Unearthly
Author: Cynthia Hand
Genre: Young Adult
Release Date: 01/04/11
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?

Plot: 4 Stars
I really liked the angel lore in this novel. Too often (in YA, UF, and PNR) the angels end up being fallen angels, so it was great to read about angels and angel bloods that weren't corrupt. I enjoyed the different levels and how each got a purpose. I just felt like there were moments when Clara seemed to forget about her purpose for a bit too long. I understand wanting to be a normal teenager, but there was a span of a couple chapters in which I wondered if the idea of the purpose was just gone. Then the ending happened. It's not quite a cliffhanger, but it's close. The ending cuts the novel short, in my opinion, and doesn't wrap things up like one would think an ending should. There are definitely a number of questions left unanswered about the future.

Pace: 3 Stars
This novel had a slightly slow, but steady pace. Nothing was too rushed, or too drawn out. The only issue I had with the pacing, was the timeframe involved. The timeframe of the novel seemed a touch disjointed. Nothing would happen for weeks or months at a time, and then a couple of days would take over two or three chapters. In between the action, there seemed to be a lot of sitting around, waiting for her purpose to come around. There were a couple scenes that could've been cut because they didn't seem to add much, and just dragged the pace down a little (unless they were setting something up for the future).

Characters: 4 Stars
Clara was a good main character, but I thought her friends outshined her a bit. I was much more intrigued by the people she surrounded herself with throughout the novel. Wendy was a very sweet girl, and I loved her immediately. Angela was a bit of an oddball, and definitely had her secrets, but I loved her too. Clara had moments in which she was a bit wishy-washy and mopey, but then she'd make a complete 180. I couldn't always follow her change in mood, but she never annoyed me. Now, her mother did annoy me. She's supposed to be there to help Clara with her purpose, but doesn't answer the majority of her questions. Christian, for being such an important part of the plot, doesn't get that much face time in the book, which seemed a bit weird. And I couldn't wrap my mind around Tucker. He bounced back and forth between nice and mean, annoying and sweet way too much. He made my head spin.

Cover: 3.5 Stars
Although the cover definitely looks better in person (it's really shiny and not quite as oh my god purple!), it somehow doesn't fit the story. The monochromatic purple color of the cover doesn't really fit with the mood throughout the novel. It seems a bit more dark and depressing than the novel ends up coming across. Plus, without any other colors, you don't get a good idea about how the cover model looks becuase she's just purple. I do like the fact that it's shiny though, because it really jumps out to grab you when sitting on the shelf. And the title is very simple yet intricate as it flows across the cover.

Overall: 3.5 Stars

Disclosure: I bought this book for my own enjoyment.


  1. I agree, I thought the pacing was way off in this book. Not as great as I had hoped for, but I will still pick up book 2.

  2. Thanks for breaking it down. I think the font on the cover is pretty, but the washed out purple..not so much. =/

  3. The end of the book completes this part of the story while at the same time drawing us deeper into the series.
    Unearthly, was truly a magnificent story with compelling characters that was beautifully written.


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