5 Stars: An Incredible Read
Series: Unearthly #1
Hardcover: 435 Pages
Publication: January 4, 2011 by Harper Teen
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.
Cynthia Hand adds a new twist to angels unique from the darker Nephilim stories that we see in bookshelves today. The story follows Clara Gardner as visions of Christian and a forest fire allude to her purpose, leading her away from her home in sunny California to rural Wyoming. There, she struggles to uncover her purpose and fit into the school.
The book was a relaxing read. Not much action takes place during the book, as Clara is mostly trying to fit into the school and get closer to Christian in order to fulfill her purpose. In addition, Clara is just as clueless as we are about her angelic heritage because her mom hides a lot from her. On the plus side, we get to see Clara find out a lot on her own (especially while her mom leaves on business), but it's disappointing for those who like to see more action.
Seeing as how she is angel-blood, one would expect Clara to be the perfect girl. In a way, she is. She's naturally beautiful, athletic, and talented. Inside, however, she's a normal teenage girl trying to find a place in the world. She's not like her brother who will be part of the 'in' crowd wherever she goes, and she isn't a genius who can fly correctly the first time she tries or solve the meaning of her purpose without a headache. And we can all sympathize with her when her hair job goes wrong and when she bumps into Tucker's car the first day of school.
Speaking of Tucker, the cowboy touch was quaint. He's a refreshing character and very different from most male lead characters today. He's open and doesn't hide his feelings, which makes Clara uncomfortable at the beginning but which I grew to appreciate as I delved further into the book. You always know where Tucker stands, which is more than I could say for Christian, who always seems so mysterious and doesn't come out until the end of the book. I loved watching how Tucker's relationship with Clara developed from open enmity to friendship and love. He's a great guy, and I began cheering for him halfway through the book.
Christian isn't a bad guy, but he doesn't have those dimples or that ability to get Clara to relax, fit in, and feel like a normal girl. He's too perfect, as Wendy puts it--perfectly. Wendy. She's a wonderful, charming, sweet friend, someone that Clara needs to be able to talk to like a normal girl while Angela is there to fill her in on the other business. *wink* *wink*
The Black Wings bring in the element of darkness, and one of them, Sam, brings in the conflict and battle at the end of the book, not to mention starting the forest fire that Clara has seen in her visions. I enjoyed reading as Clara broke free of her intended destiny in order to save the one she loves.
I really enjoyed reading a book that takes place in such a rural and gorgeous setting. The imagery was fabulous (and I'm a sucker for imagery) and made up for the lack of action. Once I started this book, I could hardly put it down. I can't wait to read Hallowed, the next installment in the Unearthly series. (Where I expect to see more action and more plot development as Cynthia Hand develops the cliffhanger she left for us!)