Thursday, August 11, 2011

Something... UNEARTHLY

By: Cynthia Hand
Reported by: Juli Helms

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.

When I first heard about Unearthly, I wasn't sure that I should read it. Angel stories, immortality, destiny--they were all charted territory for me.

But this book surprised me. A lot. In a really good way.

First, Clara already knows she's part-angel at the beginning of the book. We don't suffer through the melodrama or even agonizing process of waiting for her to learn something we usually already know (most likely from the back cover). I felt like the beginning was a little slow, despite this. Not much, just a tad. Once Clara and her family moves, though, boy does that ball get rolling.

So with my luck, I'll never make it in time to save the boy in the forest because my hair will have snagged on a tree branch a mile back.

-Page 14, Unearthly

Quirky and fun, right? Those words definitely describe this book. However, another aspect: the twists and suspense, is what sold me. Good books are fun. Or dark. Or intense. But GREAT books are all three. Somehow Cynthia Hand manages to balance all of the traits we often see missing nowadays into a magnificent end-product.

I don't want this review to be too long, but I just have to save this: The boys. Oh. My. Goodness. Someone help me. Um, I'm in love. I don't know how, but somehow Hand created the boy of my dreams (even though I didn't know it!). And Christian? Hot stuff.

This book was just absolutely breathtaking! I think one of the reasons it worked so well is that, while many YA books now deal with "destinies" or "visions", if the reader knows about them early on, you tend to kill the suspense in the book. But the ending... that was so unexpected! 

The character development and construction was great and realistic, don't get me wrong, but that was for the main characters. I wish there would have been a little more character constructing on the support characters. I know, I know. "But they are the support characters! The story isn't about them!" Right. But some of the major support characters are secondary main characters themselves. This didn't distract me while reading (I didn't even think about this until afterwards), and I'm not asking for more scenes with the other characters. I just think that if they had a little more depth, instead of more towards the common "pretty but mean" or "Jock and cocky", we could have had more insights into their inner self (look what angels did to me! They brought out my inner morality!)
Overall, I highly recommend this book.

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