Sunday, May 22, 2011

Book Review: Unearthly

Media Type: Book
Title: Unearthly
Author: Cynthia Hand
Publisher: HarperTeen
Pages: Hardcover; 435
Release Date: January 4, 2011
Source: NetGalley
Intended Reading Group:
Young Adult

Content Screening:
Nothing of note.

HDB Rating:
3 Keys to My Heart

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.

How do I start this review? I suppose I'll begin with the characters. I liked Clara. I thought she was very much an average teenage girl who is trying to understand her place in the world. Unfortunately for her, she has the added problem of trying to understand where her angel half fits in as well. Her friendships with Angela and Wendy were cute and believable. Tucker was a sweetheart. Then there's Christian. Perfect, flawless Christian. He was the one character that I really couldn't connect with. I think Cynthia Hand built some fantastic characters, but I feel as though Christian was just too perfect for his own good. Maybe this is setting him up for the next book, I wish I knew!

In terms of writing, I thought that Unearthly moved along at a very nice pace, and that the writing flowed. I immensely enjoyed the fact that although Hand offers her readers a lot of descriptions, none of them go overboard. She allows you to settle yourself into the scene before taking off again, and I loved that! The best part for me was the romance aspect of the book. I liked that Clara is torn, and that she shows her true colors when she is around Tucker. The inner battle between her angel side and her human side really shows through her time with Tucker, and it makes her so much more deep as a character. This was my favorite part of the book, hands down. If not for Tucker, I would not have been nearly as involved in this book.

The ending is what frustrated me most, and I'm not talking about just the last chapter. The whole end of the book spirals slowly and leaves the reader hanging on a string. I'm not one to be upset about cliffhangers. In fact, I rather love them! However this book just didn't feel finished. By the end of Unearthly my mouth was hanging open and I wanted to cry. There were just too many unfinished story lines, so many things that weren't tied up. It felt like someone handed me half a book and walked away. Perhaps it's just me, and it may well be, but I was a little upset about that. I know this is a series, but I still felt a little cheated.

I'm being honest when I say that my opinion of this book was probably influenced by the fact that it was so over hyped before I read it, and that I had too high of expectations. That's not to say that Unearthly isn't a good read. It truly is! It's sweet, and well-written. However there are a lot of books about angels out there, and that makes it easy to fall into a set of rules that make every book seem like every other book. I liked Clara, I liked her story, I just didn't feel like it was anything that I hadn't read before. Add in the feeling of an unfinished storyline, and I just couldn't fall in love as much as I wanted to. I do recommend you give it a try though. Unearthly is the type of read that will leave you a little frustrated at the end, but hopefully wanting more.

FTC Disclosure: I received a copy of this book in exchange for a fair and honest review. I was not monetarily compensated for my opinion.


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