Early Review: Unearthly by Cynthia Hand

December 29, 2010 Uncategorized 12

*This title will be released on January 4, 2011*

Unearthly Here’s the cover for the AU version—so much better!


Title: Unearthly
Author: Cynthia Hand
Series: Unearthly #1
Cover Art: N/A
Genre: Paranormal YA

Reading level: Young Adult
Hardcover: 448 pages
Publisher: HarperTeen
Release: January 4, 2011
ISBN-10: 0061996165
ISBN-13: 978-0061996160

The Book Depository

Source: NetGalley
Reviewed by: Abigail

Book Description

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 it 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 the story I was hoping for when I saw the cover of HALO (there’s even a scene in the book where the couple embraces at sunrise). It’s sweet and lovely, with a wonderful new heroine and a deeply romantic story.

Angel stories are all the rage in Paranormal YA fiction right now.  Personally, I’ve been growing a little weary of them lately (especially after reading HALO), but UNEARTHLY has made angels so enchanting, so new that I’m back on the bandwagon.

UNEARTHLY reminded me a lot of WINGS and THE BODY FINDER in terms of tone, the pure loveliness of the romance, and wise yet in no way pretentious heroine. Clara is one of the best YA heroines I’ve read in a long time.  She is witty, kind, and determined all while being a believable seventeen year old with all the insecurities and hang-ups common to all teenagers, except heightened because of her angel heritage. 

Speaking of angels, the mythology in UNEARTHLY is pretty straightforward and nicely sidesteps the religious connotations that can get a bit messy when dealing with angels.  Clara is a quarter angel.  She gets wings and a few other divine perks, but she’s pretty low on the power scale and is still learning to master her abilities (like failing to diminish her angelic appearance and having to dye her glowing hair a hideous shade of orange right before starting a new school).  Yeah, imagine that first impression. 

Easily my favorite part of UNEARTHLY was the romance.  It’s not at all what I expected, but it’s the surprising direction it takes that makes it so memorable.  There’s a genuine tenderness that grows between Clara and her love interest that is still resonating with me.  Really beautiful.  I’m thrilled this is the start of a new series and I’m already looking forward to the sequel. 

Sexual Content: Kissing.  References to rape