Tuesday, January 4, 2011

Review: Unearthly by Cynthia Hand

Clara Gardner has always known this day would come: the day she would get her first vision, the first clue to her sole purpose for being on this earth. Clara is an angel-blood, part angel and part human. On top of the normal trials of being a teenage girl, Clara must now face the task of saving a strange boy from a fiery death -- an event she knows nothing about except the small, vague glimpse of an impending future she gleans from her vision. With that potentially lethal enigma weighing heavily on her mind, Clara sets out to discover the identity of this unknown boy whose fate is bound inextricably with her own.

Cynthia Hand has brought a fresh new voice to the world of angel literature. Her writing is beautiful, perfectly descriptive without being overwrought. Falling into Unearthly is like being sucked into one of Clara's visions: so real and vivid that readers will feel like they're living the story in the moment with the lovable heroine. Clara's mental voice seems utterly authentic as a teenage girl. Even though she is dealing with the supernatural, she still has the same trials and tribulations, fears and doubts that would be familiar to any teen. Unlike many contemporary heroines, Clara is not perfect and popular and beloved by everyone she meets. Her experience as the new kid at a cliquey high school brings her down to earth despite her heavenly heritage. However, in the face of her challenges both human and divine, Clara displays an admirable quiet strength and a lack of overdone angst which make her narration a pleasure to read. She is strong and stubborn, but still accessible on an emotional level. This, combined with her sass and snark and skill, will make readers fall in love with Clara's story from the very first page.

The author also displays an entertaining awareness of some of the cliches in young adult literature, and works many laugh-out-loud quips into the otherwise intense narrative. Even Clara's crush on high school heartthrob Christian Prescott, and the surprising teen love that develops later in the story, seem authentic and adorable, not the love-at-first-sight fantasy that is written into many YA novels. The final pages of this stunning debut are full of tearful and heart-pounding twists and turns that will leave readers stunned and breathless. The sense of mystery, and even foreboding, that set the tone of the novel from the first page is maintained until the very end, which is clearly left open for a sequel. I would have liked to see a more satisfying explanation for many of the events, but I loved this story so much that I will gladly return for the next installment of Clara's journey. The plot keeps a brisk pace, the characters are all engaging, and the romance is sweet -- making Unearthly one of the best and most captivating angel novels I've read in a long time.

Rating: 


Disclosure: I received an advance copy of this novel from the publisher for an honest review. This did not affect my review in any way.


This novel hits shelves today! Click here to purchase Unearthly by Cynthia Hand.





This novel is part of the 2011 Debut Author Challenge

22 comments:

Aylee said...

I'm intrigued by the lack of overdone angst that you mention in your review. I'm used to the majority of my protagonists being very angsty so that sounds like a refreshing change. Great review!

Savannah said...

Glad to see that you enjoyed the book. Great review :)

bibliophile brouhaha said...

I can't wait to read this! I have a hold on it at my library - thanks so much for the great review! Wonderful analysis, and I especially look forward to, "The author also displays an entertaining awareness of some of the cliches in young adult literature, and works many laugh-out-loud quips into the otherwise intense narrative." Heehee, I love some good snark!

-Linds, bibliophile brouhaha

Lisa said...

I really enjoyed this book too. I loved that Clara already knew she was an angel at the beginning of the novel.

BookGeek said...

I really wanted to read this book for the YA Debut Challenge. I'll be purchasing tonight. Woo!

Jo said...

Sounds like a good book! I ordered it for our library (and it's been on my TBR list for a bit). :)

Lindsi said...

I need to read this! Maybe I'll start it when you start Delirium, and then we can discuss them both! Lovely review, Casey :)

Natalie (Mindful Musings) said...

I'm glad to hear that you liked this one after finding out that we felt very similarly about Halo. I have this one for review as well, but I was kind of scared to pick it up after Halo. Glad to hear it's better!

Michelle said...

Going to go out and grab a copy! I missed out on getting an ARC and I have been looking for a good angel-related book. :)

Small Review said...

Yes! I couldn't agree with you more! So many of the events in this book seem like more of the same old, same old in YA, but Cynthia Hand made them fresh and fun to read. I adored Clara and can't wait to read more about her.

danya said...

All of the Unearthly reviews I've been seeing have been so positive that I think I will brave my wariness of paranormal YA angel books (there have just been so many of them!) and read this one. I'm so glad to hear there is no over-the-top angst in Unearthly, as that is a pet peeve of mine in paranormal YA.

Fantasy Book Chick said...

This was such a great book, I also gave it a 5 star rating. I loved it, one of the best so far this year!

JellyBear7 said...

I have seen this novel floating around on blogs and I really want to read this one. Unfortunately, I don't have this one yet! Awesome review!

Diana said...

Great review! I like Clara and I really want to learn more about her character.

Lexie said...

This one is at the top of my TBR pile! I can't wait to read it! It's nice to hear that the love story is not love at first sight, can't live without you. Those are so unrealistic and it is nice to hear about a novel that gets it right!

Vivien said...

Another on my shelf waiting. I can't wait to start it now. Sounds fantastic.

Naj said...

Unearthly is awesome. I enjoyed the book so much! Its one of my favs this year! ^-^ Great Review!

Erika said...

Another 5 star review for this one! I'm so curious now what is making everyone drool over this book. For some reason the summary just doesn't interest me though :(

Syki said...

I enjoyed this book. It was diferent view of angels mythology. And I fell in love with Tucker! I love cowboys :D

Jennifer said...

I love this cover and can't wait to read this book. I got it from the library and hope to start it as soon as I'm finished my other library books.

It sounds great.

Triss said...

I am very curious about this book. I have read only one angel book - Fallen and so I don't know what should I expect from this genre.
But the cover is awesome!

Carina L. Tai said...

To be honest, I've been wanting to buy this book just 'cause the cover's pretty :)

Great review!

-Carina
http://dystopiandesserts.blogspot.com/

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