Friday, January 6, 2012

Review: Unearthly by Cynthia Hand

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.

Finished: December 11, 2011
Pages: 464
Author: Website
Book: Goodreads
Publisher: HarperTeen
Series: Unearthly

Quote: “I won’t be that girl who lets the guy treat her like crap and still fawns all over him.”

Thoughts: Unearthly is a great example of a book I found and really liked that was entirely out of my comfort zone. From the synopsis, I didn't think I would like it, but I pushed forward due to all of the reviews saying the same thing I'm saying to you now. People seem to be surprised that this novel worked. On the surface, Unearthly is very much a novel that relies on your usual cliche YA paranormal elements. The angel mythology didn't really offer anything different, and I didn't feel that Hand brought anything new to the table there, such as Susan Ee did with Angelfall. This is by no means a life changing read, at least not for me. That is why I was surprised that I enjoyed this book so much that I was unable to put it down.

While not exactly offering anything new, Cynthia Hand's writing and the great care she gives to crafting her entire cast of characters, make this an easy book to fall in love with. Clara's inner voice is sarcastic and self-deprecating. I never thought I would like a book that included a word like adorkable, but here we are. Despite being a supernatural being predisposed to being great at things, Clara still manages to be a normal and awkward teenage girl. I especially enjoyed Clara's interaction with her family. Her relationship with her younger brother was entirely realistic and reminded me of the relationship I have with my eldest younger brother. Her relationship with her mother was also nice to see; it's nice to see a badass supernatural parent for a change.

My favorite part of this novel was the romance between Clara and Tucker. Perhaps I am just a little sick of the bad boy trope that runs rampant in YA these days; but it was nice to see a nice guy finally win the day for a chance. Tucker is a southern gentleman, and not one that would usually appeal to me, but oh how he does. He is playful and sweet and it seems like he could be any guy you meet on the street. See, YA authors, the guy doesn't have to be a mysterious supernatural being to be attractive to your readers! The romance was realistic and slow to develop. No Instalove! I will say that I do not like the implications of a love triangle presented toward the end. I dislike it so much I wrote it in my notes twice. Who knows, maybe the overused love triangle will be another thing that becomes enjoyable to read in Cynthia Hand's capable hands.

Another thing worth mentioning is the love I have for Cynthia Hand's sense of humor. I laughed out loud several times while reading this book, which is not something that happens often for me. I love that this book doesn't take itself too seriously, which is a trap that a lot of these sorts of books seem to fall into nowadays. I hope the same holds true for the rest of the series and am very much looking forward to picking up the sequel.

Recommendation: Anyone looking for a light and fun read.


Four out of Five Coffees

Unearthly is on sale now in paperback. You can purchase it at Amazon, Barnes & Noble, The Book Depository and other retailers. The sequel, Hallowed, will be released January 17, 2012.


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