Unearthly by Cynthia Hand
Series: Unearthly #1
Published by HarperTeen
Publish Date: January 4, 2011
Source: Kindle purchase (I also read from a library copy.)
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? -(from Goodreads)
My Thoughts: I started reading Unearthly a few days ago because I wanted to have a little knowledge of this series before the Pitch Dark Days tour rolls into town in a few weeks. MAN OH MAN, I had no idea I’d find myself so invested in this story – and so fast.
It’s clear from the summary that this book has a love triangle.
Oh how I loooove a well-executed love triangle!
But I believe that this one is going to STRESS ME OUT.
Reading friend and fellow blogger Lauren from Love is not a triangle has been telling me for MONTHS that I should read these books. It seemed like the perfect to start the series because the final book in the trilogy is releasing and YAY for a completed series! I also felt that if Lauren – a love triangle disliker – gave her stamp of approval to this series, it must be super great.
I did not anticipate falling for both of the love interests equally within a few chapters of the book. I repeat: I fell for both love interests. This never happens to me! I’m usually able to make a choice on who I feel is the better love interest pretty quickly after being introduced to both love triangle candidates, and I usually end up sticking with my choice throughout the series. NOT THE CASE HERE! I feel like I may be headed for trouble with my emotions as far as this series-as-a-whole goes.
As far as Unearthly goes, Cynthia Hand began her love triangle very, very well. I myself – speaking only for myself here – was not able to discern which guy I wanted Clara to end up with or even begin with, so I felt this sense of bookish stress as I began to read the book. It was sort of alarming, but it was alarming underneath the story (if that makes sense at all).
This is one of the better angel books that I have read.
In talking with some friends over this book and the angel-ness of it, I really cannot think of anything that I did not like. There were several points that really stuck out to me that I enjoyed a great deal and am anxious to see explored further in the coming books in this trilogy. Certain characters – good ones and bad ones – embody the mythology written by this author really well and I feel invested in this story thus far.
I will be doing an “Asheley No-No” and reading the next book, Hallowed, immediately following this one. (Seriously, that rarely-to-never happens.) It is unclear yet whether or not this is a good decision for me. I’ll let you guys know!
This series is a free will vs. destiny series. Big time.
There are times when her mother and brother become frustrated with her because they feel that she is losing sight of her mission. There are times when Tucker becomes frustrated with her because he feels like he is playing backseat to her mission. Clara is a girl stuck in the middle of her angelic purpose in life and what her earthly heart wants. It was hard to watch her struggle between her job and her desires, but it was certainly excellent for discussion and thought.
When the time came and Clara had a huge decision to make – WOW, that part! It was eye-opening and heartfelt and heartbreaking and all kinds of exciting (the good kind and the bad kind). I’m pretty sure I bit all of my fingernails in those scenes, if I had any left from previously in the book.
More than anything about Unearthly, I love the angel mythology that Cynthia Hand introduced. I loved most of the characters and I’m very interested in seeing where they will be going from here. I liked Clara – I enjoyed the idea that she is part-angel and that she has a very specific pre-ordained purpose in life. I like that her mother is also part-angel, has been through this situation before, and can provide loving guidance for Clara, as this isn’t exactly a normal teenage occurrance. Speaking of family, I love that Cynthia Hand wrote a wonderful, functioning family into this book because we all know that the YA market doesn’t always satisfy us where great families are concerned.
In terms of the two love interests – the love triangle – I love both Tucker and Christian a ton. I loved them both right away. I know that not everyone took to them both as readily and as easily as I did, but for some reason, I clicked to them immediately. At this point, at the end of Unearthly, I do not have a current favorite. This is interesting given that so much attention was given to building the relationship between Clara and Tucker in this first book. I have to wonder if the second book will be largely time spent with Christian? I don’t know. I still have a wide-open heart for Christian, and I haven’t counted him out yet. (I realize there are still two full books for me to read and I haven’t counted out anything.)
In terms of secondary characterization, I have a strange disconnect with Clara’s friend Angela, which is odd. I think she has a big enough role in this book that I should feel something for her, but I just don’t. I can’t really give a reason why at this point. Also, I feel like Clara’s brother Jeffrey is a bit of a wild card – I’m not really 100% sure of his intentions or his motives for anything, and I’m not sure that I trust him completely either. We’ll see – I’ll be reading Hallowed next and everything could change!
I loved the setting of Jackson Hole, Wyoming for this book. I am familiar with this area from traveling, and I have enough memories of the area that I can visualize these scenes, and I LOVED that. Between characterization, setting, and the incredible angel mythology of this book, I loved this first book in the Unearthly series. I’m eager to continue with the next book.
If you have not begun to read this series yet, I urge you to start it soon! There is no time better than the present, particularly since the series is coming to an end! I recommend it for fans of YA paranormal stories involving angels, fans of romance, and fans of books containing stories of free will vs. destiny. There is a fairly solid love triangle thrown in there as well.
Romance: HUGE love triangle!
Unearthly by Cynthia Hand
Tucker or Christian to win Clara’s affections?
At this point, I still can’t decide!