Unearthly by Cynthia Hand

January 17, 2012 Reviews 0

Cynthia Hand is a native of southeastern Idaho and currently lives with her husband and two small children in Southern California, where she teaches writing at Pepperdine University. She has graduate degrees in creative writing from Boise State University and the University of Nebraska-Lincoln. Unearthly is her first published novel in a planned trilogy. It’s sequel, Hallowed, was published on 1 January (in Australia). 

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?

Unearthly is a captivating book, with interesting characters and unique angel lore. My favourite part was getting to know more about angels and their Purposes on Earth. The novel starts off by describing the visions that Clara gets to tell her about her Purpose, which involve a mysterious boy. I think the visions are wonderful way to engage readers, especially since each one reveals something new and exciting. 

I found Clara’s struggles to retain normalcy in her life to be realistic; she has found out she is an angel, and she accepts it, but it is difficult for her to think of herself as not human. Her mother seems to think that Clara’s Purpose, which revolves around saving Christian, means she should not spend time making friends and getting to know other people, which I thought was very unfair on her. The more she finds out about angels, however, the more I wanted to know, and I noted that she slowly grew to accept herself and take initiative to fulfil her Purpose. 

The characters in the book didn’t inspire empathy; I felt like I was always kept away from their real thoughts and feelings.Wendy and Angela were controlling friends, who only liked Clara when she conformed to their ideas. Although I wanted to like Christian, I felt he held too much back. He was in the periphery of the story, even though the visions and Clara’s Purpose are about him.  

Unearthly was a great read, and I am looking forward to starting Hallowed to find out more about angels and Clara’s purpose. Young adult readers who like books about angels will enjoy Unearthly because of the fresh spin it puts on the lore.  

About the book:

  • Pub. Date: 01 January 2011
  • Publisher: HarperCollins Publishers (Australia)
  • Format: Paperback, 448 pages
  • ISBN 13: 9780732292607 ISBN 10: 0732292603
  • Categories: Fantasy, Young adult
  • Goodreads / The Book Depository 
  • My review of Hallowed (#2 of the Unearthly series)

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