Friday, June 10, 2011

Review: Unearthly

By Cynthia Hand
Publication date: January 4, 2011

My review:

Clara Gardner and her family uproot their life in California to move to Jackson Hole, Wyoming so that Clara can fulfill her purpose. This might seem strange to outsiders but Clara, like her mother and younger brother, is an angel blood, a descendant of angels. She has supernatural strength and speed and like all angel bloods, she was created with a specific purpose. The clues to what this purpose are appear to Clara in visions: she sees a young man, a truck, and a forest fire. Then on her first day at her new school, she sees Christian, the boy from her vision-the one she is meant to save. Unfortunately there are complications in the form of Christian's possessive girlfriend and the fact that Christian is like a local god at his school and Clara is on the outside. How can she save him if she can't even talk to him? Clara also has to contend with the annoying but oddly appealing Tucker. He is a distraction she can't afford, especially when time may be running out for Christian.

Unearthly is not the run-of-the-mill YA paranormal. The other books about angels tended to feature fallen angels and focus on passionate romance. Here, the main character is trying to figure out her purpose in life. She is trying to understand what it means to be an angel blood as she comes to the realization that there are a lot of things she doesn't know. Clara is also a new student at school and she isn't popular. In fact, the other kids kind of pick on her a little at first. I enjoyed seeing Clara develop friendships with Wendy and Angela. Angela in particular is quite a character. I also liked the importance of family. Clara has a close relationship with her mom and her brother though her dad doesn't seem to be a big part of their life.

The romance at first seemed like it was going to be a love triangle but thankfully that was not the case. Clara and Tucker do not get along at first as they both misjudge each other. Clara is more interested in Christian, partly because of the visions and partly because she finds him good looking (like most of the girls at school). It became clear which boy Clara wanted to be with but that may not be the guy she is meant to be with. Since this is the first in a series, the ending is a little ambiguous.

Overall, I thought this was a more original take on angel fiction than anything else I've read recently. I usually hate angel fiction but that was not the case with Unearthly. I certainly prefer it to books like Hush, Hush. Clara is not a victim and she is not all knowing or overly rebellious. She is compassionate, brave, and flawed and she tries to do the right thing. In some ways she reminds me of Grace Divine from The Dark Divine but more relatable. I think what drew me to the story the most was not the romance (though it was good) but rather Clara's desire to find out why she exists. The idea of finding your purpose or calling is something I would have related to as a teen. I look forward to the next book to learn more about angel bloods and to find out if Clara made the right decision. I would suggest Unearthly to fans of The Dark Divine by Bree Despain.

Readalikes: The Dark Divine and The Lost Saint by Bree Despain


  1. Great review, Christina! I'm glad you enjoyed this one. I thought it was fantastic....definitely my favorite angel book to date. I never really made the connection to The Dark Divine, but now that you mention it, I can definitely see how the two books relate!

  2. I loved this one! I agree with Christina, probably my favorite angel book as well. I'm hooked on the Hush, Hush books, too, but I concede they are more of a guilty pleasure!

  3. Want to read this so much! I'm glad you liked it!

  4. To date Unearthly is the best angel based YA I have read, (although I have not read too many yet) I really enjoyed the plot and was thankful that Tucker won out over Christian. Great reivew!

  5. I agree completely, I think this is a much better angel book than Hush Hush or anything along those lines. So glad you enjoyed it! I'm looking forward to the follow up :)


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