Series: Unearthly, Book 1
Author: Cynthia Hand
Published: January 4th 2011, HarperTeen
Genre: Fantasy, Paranormal, Romance
Age group: Young Adult
Rating: ★ ★ ★ ★ ★
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.
OK, I was really wary about this book series, because, frankly, whatever young adult series I started lately didn’t impress me much or simply annoyed me. First of all, they all seemed the same, following the path of telling a story about teenage vampires/werewolves/aliens/angels. Speaking of angels, I’ve read ‘Hush, Hush’ and ‘Premonition’, both dealing with angels, and I wasn’t fond of them both. The stories were too overstuffed with unnecessary stuff, the paranormal part wasn’t thought through that well and the main characters were really dislikable. So, the only reason why I started ‘Unearthly’ was that apparently everyone loved it and gushed about it, saying that it was way better that any other YA book of this genre.
The first thing that really impressed me about this book, was the way it is written. The language is so beautiful, Cynthia Hand is really a master of describing impressive landscapes or deep emotions. The place where the story’s set is Jackson Hole, Wyoming, and I really came to love it, it’s so secluded and cozy with surrounding mountains and forests.
Another great thing here – I really loved the main character. Clara is a 17 year old quarter angel, who is to follow her destination, which is hinted for her in the forms of visions she has at most inappropriate times. She constantly sees herself apparently saving a guy (standing with his back to her, so she doesn’t see his face) from a forest fire. Clara’s mother, who’s half angel, helps her figure out the place of the fire. It’s in Wyoming, so the whole family, including Clara’s younger brother Jeffrey, has to move there from California, so that Clara could fulfill her purpose.
Clara seems and acts absolutely normal for a 17 year old girl, despite her supernatural nature. She is caring and kind. I liked that, unlike with most YA fantasy books, the main heroine doesn’t only fixate on her abilities or a boy. On the contrary, Clara’s life is not one-sided. She manages (and she wants to) to pay attention to every aspect of her life – her family, her friends, her powers and her romantic feelings, too.
When Clara meets the boy from her vision, Christian, in Wyoming, she became sort of obsessed with him. It’s no longer only about her purpose as Christian turns out to be very attractive. But no matter how hard she tries, Clara can’t capture his attention. There is another boy here, Tucker, her best friend Wendy’s brother. In the beginning Clara is sure that he hates her, as her constantly teases her. But when the two have to spend the summer together, Clara gets to really know him. Tucker is no Christian, who’s full of ambitions. Tucker is a cowboy, he spends all his free working or getting ready for rodeo. He’s just a normal, down to earth guy, who really loves Clara. And as the story progresses, Clara comes to reciprocate the feeling.
Well, I can say right now, that I’m Team Tucker all the way! I think he’s perfect. Well, he is human and him and Clara being together may turn out pretty dangerous. But it’s evident that he’s the choice Clara makes on her own, while with Christian it’s all about their purpose. Besides, I really don’t think that whatever Christian feels for Clara is comparable to Tucker’s feelings. And Clara and Tucker are just amazing together, no doubts.
The whole progression of the story wasn’t very rushed, as it was filled with lots of landscape descriptions. But it was not boring in any way, in fact, it added some almost magical feeling to the story, the one that made you feel like a part of it. The plot was very unique and unpredictable, so I’m just addicted now to these books. I can’t even guess what’s in store for Clara, but I have to stay away from any spoilers! 🙂