blog about reviews writing

Monday, February 7, 2011

Unearthly by Cynthia Hand

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.

Unearthly (Unearthly, #1)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.
First Look: ***** This was another book won in an Inkpop Weekly Writing Challenge.  I love this cover, so in case you're wondering, that's why it's so big.  And it's cooler in real life because it's shiny! (the paperback version is nice too)

Setting: *****   A book set in Jackson Hole! I went there on vacation a few years ago, and the author captured it nicely.
Characters: ***** I don't know what it was, but I didn't feel for them. The main character, Clara, was too much of a Mary Sue (in other words, she was plain and average), and she adjusted to her new school awfully fast. And why did Christian suddenly like her when before he barely noticed her? The only character that really had depth was Angela. 
Plot: ***** I loved the whole concept of this book! The premise of part-angels and their powers was awesome. I really hope the sequel explores all of that more. I enjoyed the parts where she went skiing. However, the ending was rushed. Authors should never shy away from climatic and exciting endings!

Cliché-ness: ***** The romance parts were...just like you'd find in any other paranormal. Then again, I'm not much for romance, but it still wasn't great. Other than that it was unique.
Writing: ****I had a really tough time getting through the first chapter. After that I was fine. I don't think some of the movie references and mentions of things like Facebook will hold up in a few years. That will date the book and confuse readers in the future.

Likes: This book did a really great job of telling a story about angels in a way that won't clash with the Bible. I loved, loved, loved the concept! I won't go as far as to say that this is Christian fiction, but Christian readers will appreciate the faith aspect of it. If you aren't Christian, you'll still enjoy the read. And the fish joke still amuses me.

Not-so-great: I thought the family's opinion of destiny didn't seem right. Why didn't the author dig deeper into the idea of Black Wings? And since when is there such thing as a double blue diamond?
Total Score: ***** This is the first angel book I've read. Was it good? Yes. Did I love it? Well, some parts, but the whole thing didn't quite go there for me. I have yet to read a paranormal/supernatural book like this that I completely fell in love with. But I enjoyed it, and most contemporary YA fans probably would too.


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