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Unearthly by Cynthia Hand

Rating: 4/5 Stars

Genre: Paranormal

Release Date: 1/4/2011

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About the Book: Clara Gardner is part angel and part of being an angel blood means completing her purpose. Clara has just started having visions about a forest fire and saving a boy during the disaster and her mother knows this is to be Clara's purpose. So Clara's purpose makes her family move to a new town and start a new life. Clara meets Christian, who is the boy from her visions, and she tries to get closer to him and figure out what her visions are telling her. But annoying Tucker keeps getting in the way and Clara finds herself torn between love and duty and discovers there's a dark side even when it comes to angels.

GreenBeanTeenQueen Says: Another YA paranormal about angels? I have to admit that angels are my favorite aspect of the paranormal genre and I can happily say Unearthly stands out in the genre.

Clara is the one with powers which I always find refreshing when it comes to paranormal. (Seriously, how many paranormal boys do we have in YA?) Clara is aware of her powers from the start and while being an angel-blood could make her beautiful and popular, instead she's somewhat shy, not immediately accepted into her new school and has a quiet beauty about her. Clara wasn't fawned all over and still had to deal with mean girls at school. She's somewhat uncomfortable with her angel-blood and the powers that accompany that, and I appreciated that we see her struggle with her visions and coming to terms with her purpose. While there might be a bit of angst to the story, I never found it to be over the top with angst as happens so often with paranormal stories. And Clara is a strong smart character and she's not really whiny-when she is, it's more typical teenage frustrations with life and I can deal with that and relate.

Yes, there is a love story and while you could say it might be leading to a love triangle, I never felt that it ever got to that point in Unearthly. I hope it stays that way-I'm not the biggest fan of love triangles! Instead it was more Clara being torn between what she had to do and what she wanted to do. Yes, it involved the boys, but they weren't the driving force and it wasn't all about them. Even though Clara finds herself drawn to Christian, it's more because of the visions she's having instead of "lust at first sight." And Tucker and Clara's relationship-love it! They have the best "I hate you but I really like you relationship" and it's done so well that it was fun to read. (And while both boys are quite amazing, I think I love Tucker just a bit more!)

What really made Unearthly stand out for me was the angel mythology. The powers the angels had, the way they experienced glory, their visions and purpose were woven into the story and I was eager to read more about the angel world Cynthia Hand had created. Seriously, the story itself is good, but the angel mythology is amazing-I was blown away with the rules and the world Ms. Hand came up with. We get a look into the angel mythology but there are also things introduced that are just hinted at, so I'm very eager for book two so I can find out more!

While the story wraps some things up, this is obviously the beginning of a series, so there are some plotlines left open which is a bit frustrating. There are also things brought into the story very quickly at the end and we're left hanging with a bunch of new revelations-so not fair! Even if you've shied away from angel stories before, be sure to pick up Unearthly-it's a 2011 debut that doesn't disappoint! Angel fans will be clamoring for book two-I know I can't wait!

Book Pairings: Well, the obvious angel stories-Halo by Alexandra Adornetto, Hush, Hush by Becca Fitzpatrick, and Fallen by Lauren Kate. I would also pair with Wondrous Strange by Lesley Livingston and Mistwood by Leah Cypess for themes of family, loyality, duty and love.

Full Disclosure: Reviewed from e-galley recieved from publisher through NetGalley


  1. I am not an angel paranormal fan. At least not the way most angel books are done. But I quite enjoyed Unearthly. I like how unique the angel mythology was and how it felt less melodramatic than some angel books (although that element was obviously there). I loved the "love triangle." I think, because it wasn't a normal triangle. It was a nice twist on a common theme.

  2. I'm looking forward to this even more after your review. I'm intrigued to read the great angel mythology. Thanks for the review!

  3. I'm looking forward to this one too. I'm almost finished with The Lying Game. This one will be up next. After reading your review, I'm pumped up to get started! It will be my first DAC book for 2011.

  4. Great review! I just reviewed this book yesterday and I enjoyed it very much(in fact a whole lot more than I would have guessed).

  5. Yay, I've had my eye on this one and glad you enjoyed it!

    I will definitely have to check it out :)

  6. I think the review I'm working on right now for this book is going to look eerily similar to yours! I so enjoyed the mythology/lore as well. One of the best (if not the best) angel book I've read lately. Oh and Tucker? YEE HAW!

  7. I believe the only angel book I've read is Hush, Hush.

    I look forward to reading this. It's been on my wish list for a while.

  8. I know it's not YA, but Angelology by Danielle Trussoni is fantastic: it feels like a more complete version of books like HushHush or Fallen.

  9. Great review - I really liked this one as well!

  10. I really enjoyed this book too. I love that Clara knew she was an Angel from the beginning and didn't have to figure it out. I also loved Clara and Tucker's relationship.

  11. I like Angel paranormal stories too :) but lots of them are very similar, so it's nice to hear that this one stands out. I'm not sure how I feel about her being called Clara's definitely going to make me think of Clary from The Mortal Instruments, but other then that it sounds like a fantastic story, awesome review :D

    I also wanted to let you know that I think your blog is fantastic, so I've passed on a blog award to you at my blog here.

    I'm sorry if you don't accept awards, but I still wanted to pass it on and spread the word about your awesome blog. :)


  12. I'll admit I picked this up in the bookstore and put it down, thinking, "ANOTHER angel story?" But your review makes me reconsider!


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