Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Review: Unearthly by Cynthia Hand

Unearthly (Unearthly, #1)
Cynthia Hand
First published January 4th, 2011

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?

Lovely!! I really, really enjoyed this. It's a YA novel, but somehow it felt very different. For once, it wasn't just about the paranormal aspect, or the exciting new world the protagonist is thrown in. It was about finding oneself. Trying to fit in. Finding love. Life (with wings!)!! Everything I was hoping for while going into this.

Clara is part angel, and she has just received a hint of what her purpose on earth is. After finding out the location, they pack up and move there. It's quite a big change for Clara and her brother: California to the middle of nowhere, hick town. I loved the setting of this book. I loved the scenery descriptions. The country appeal. I'm a country girl myself - not as hardcore (I don't ride horses or fish) but it still had the small town charm that I grew up in. Everyone is in everyone's business knows everyone else, it's sweet!

The whole time I was reading I was completely into the story. I never once pondered where we were going with this and what the point of it all was. It just had a great flow that you could just breeze through the story and enjoy every minute of it. The plot of soft and sweet. It's not tedious, it's not a hit in the face, it builds up gently and manages to suck you in completely. You get a chance to care for the characters, for their lives and their relationships.

As for the characters. I adored them. Especially the way they were all present. They all had a purpose in the story and they all had distinct voices and personalities. I love when an author manages to do that. What really stood out for me was the fact that her mother was very present and motherly - which is often overlooked in YA. Likewise, her brother was also how I imagine having a brother would be like. Sometimes a pain in the butt, sometimes an accomplice. I imagine we haven't heard the end of him as well. But the protagonist - Clara - she's great! Finally a girl who does not see a guy and immediately yearns for him as though she can't live another second without him. Those often lack way too much chemistry. The romance in Unearthly was totally and completely sweet! It did NOT go at all in the direction I was sure Hand was going to go make it go in. It really took me by surprise that she took a much different route from other YA novels. I truly enjoyed how it all transpired.

The highlight of this book is definitely the character development with just a bit of world build up. The angel picture I have in my mind is absolutely stunning. I loved all the details we were given and how beautiful it all seems. as for the plot - there wasn't any big plot developments, but it's coming. I'm happy she didn't go all "Whoo apocalypse" right away. I love getting to know and care for the characters before the big story materializes. It builds up realism as well as charisma.

This novel was pure flowing beauty!

5/5 hot espressos