Unearthly by Cynthia Hand

Posted January 4, 2011 by Sara | Novel Novice 3 Comments


While fallen angels seem to be all the rage these days, Cynthia Hand’s Unearthly is about actual angels — and angel-human hybrids, living here on earth.

Destined to serve a higher purpose, Clara and her family move from California to Wyoming to be near the boy that Clara has seen in visions. She thinks it’s her destiny to save him from a fire. But once she’s found the boy, Clara is less certain about what her role in his life is. Add into the mix another boy with an infuriating habit of driving her nuts, the drama of high school and life in a new town.

There’s a lot going on in Unearthly, and while some of it works, I’m not convinced all of it does. While the book is the first in a trilogy, it leaves a LOT of loose threads and unanswered questions — too many, in my opinion, even with two other books to come. So many characters, situations, etc. were left floundering with no sense of direction, almost as if they were forgotten entirely.

When it comes to the angel lore, Hand has crafted a very thorough mythology. And while the religious aspect is vague (no specific church, denomination, etc. was named) it still felt a bit heavy-handed to me. That could be a personal preference, so you’ll have to be your own judge where that is concerned.

As for the more earthly aspects of Unearthly, the strongest character is Tucker — the infuriating boy who annoys Clara to no end. He was the most three-dimensional, in-depth character in the book and his scenes were my favorite to read. But compared to Tucker, I felt that the rest of the characters were … lacking. They didn’t feel as well-rounded. And while there were hints at more going on for many of the characters, too much mystery was left up in the air (this goes back to the “too many unanswered questions” problem I mentioned above).

Still, for fans of paranormal romance, Unearthly offers plenty to devour and ponder over. It’s in stores today.

Here is the official synopsis:

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?

Unearthly is a moving tale of love and fate, and the struggle between following the rules and following your heart.

Sara | Novel Novice
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3 responses to “Unearthly by Cynthia Hand

  1. Ashley

    I can’t wait to read this one!!! I’ve been seeing lots of reviews for this one and they all loved it. Clara sounds like such a fantastic character. And everyone seems to fall for Tucker. Can’t wait! Hoping to pick it up today!

  2. Alice

    It might be the third book I need to check out, after Shiver and A Beautiful Dark.
    But if it looks good enough to make it to my top three (I am very picky) and stays there for more than a few days, then I will recommend it for everyone.

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