Book Review: Unearthly by Cynthia Hand

Unearthly is the debut novel from Cynthia Hand. It was published by Egmont on 2nd May and the book is 448 pages long. Thanks to the publisher for providing a copy for review.

Clara Gardner knows she’s half angel and that having this blood running through her is what makes her so different from everyone else. She is faster, smarter… well, more everything really. Although all of this sounds great, being half angel means that Clara actually has a purpose in life. Every angel was put on the Earth for one particular reason but fulfilling that purpose is the hard part. No angel knows exactly what it is until the time is right, making it difficult to do anything about it.

Clara knows that her purpose is drawing closer. She has dreams and visions of a burning forest and the back of a teenage boy’s head. These visions lead Clara and her family to a new town and to a new school where she realises that the guy in her visions are Christian, the high school heartthrob. While Clara knows that she is supposed to save Christian from something, her heart and head are telling her two different things. First, she thought that Christian was the guy for her but then Tucker comes into the picture and she has to decide which part of her feelings to follow. Will Clara be able to fulfil her purpose or choose to follow her heart instead?

What I thought
I had heard a lot of great things about this book around different blogs but I put off reading it for quite a while. I didn’t want a book that I was looking forward to so much to let me down but luckily, once I did get around to reading it, I wasn’t disappointed.

I really liked the fact that Clara knew who and what she was from the very beginning. There wasn’t all of the mystery that there is sometimes with someone finding out what they are but I didn’t think that this was a bad thing. It meant that the story could get into full swing straight away instead of having a massive lead up for nothing. The thing with Clara is that although she is half angel, she is as much a real teenager as you are ever going to get. She struggles with her feelings about a lot of things and has all of the same problems as a normal teenager, only Clara has the added problems of being half angel at the same time. Cynthia Hand has done a fabulous job of writing the teens in this book due to how perfect she has gotten the speech, thoughts and actions of all those involved.

Clara is feisty, charismatic and extremely likable. Throughout the book, she is torn between doing what she knows is right and what she wants to do in many different situations and this made me like her a whole lot more. This is a character that is far from perfect and nothing comes easy to her. Infact, everything is probably a lot harder for her due to being half angel as she has a lot more to live up to. When it comes to Clara’s purpose, you don’t actually get to see what it is until right at the end of the book. The mystery aspect surrounding this was exceptionally written and I loved being able to try and guess throughout as to what she was really supposed to be doing.

As the object of Clara’s visions, I thought that Christian would have been around a lot more. Even though the majority of the girls at school see him as a god, I didn’t see the attraction to begin with. Yes, he is good looking but his personality wasn’t the best to begin with. Christian took a lot of getting to know better before I could really see why people liked him so much. He is quite charismatic and knows he has a good thing going on with his bitch of a girlfriend but he also has a habit of being around Clara more than he probably should. As I slowly got to know Christian better, I could see that he had secrets of his own and I couldn’t wait to find out what they were.

Now, Tucker on the other hand, I immediately loved. He’s the guy who gets Clara all confused. Tucker is cheeky, playful and outgoing but most of all, he is so nice. As Clara just wants to be a normal teenage girl, Tucker was great for her because he really is a normal teenage boy. He has no special abilities, he has obvious flaws and loves being a general guy and doing things like hiking and fishing. He has a fantastic personality and it shines as soon as I got to meet him. There was just something about Tucker which I couldn’t help but love from the start and hope for a happy ending for him although I couldn’t see how it would be possible, seeing as Christian is always in Clara’s visions. YA books are full of love triangles but this one unlike any of the others.

The angel lore that Unearthly brings is strong and very complex but amazing at the same time. There are different levels of angels, different types of wings and different things that angels have to and can do. So much detail has been put into the background of these angels and because of that, Unearthly is probably the best book that I have read about angels. There are a lot of exciting aspects when it comes to these angels and as the book continued, I was constantly surprised at the new things I got to find out. I hope, as the series continues, that more and more about what they are capable of is revealed.

On the whole, Unearthly is well paced with a good build up. The plot is exciting, fresh and unexpected the whole way through but it still has something for everyone. With a balanced mix of love, romance, mystery and action, I was hooked from page 1 right up until the massive shocker of an ending. Angels have been done many a time before but certainly not like this!! Book 2 just cant come quick enough now!

2 thoughts on “Book Review: Unearthly by Cynthia Hand

  1. Lovely review! I wasn't really looking forward to reading Unearthly too much either, but after hearing tons of praise, I decided to get it too to what the buzz was all about. It's one of the better angel novels out there… and I like how the love triangle was executed too. I'm looking forward to reading Hallowed! 🙂


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