Friday, 12 August 2011

Unearthly - Cynthia Hand

Unearthly - Cynthia Hand
Grade: YA
Rating: 4.5/5 Stars
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.

Angels, fallen angels and secret powers. A fantastic book about questioning your role in life and whether you can change your destiny. In Clara's world, Nephilim - those with angel-blood - have a specific purpose in life shown them through visions. But Clara's vision turns out to be more complicated that she could ever possibly imagine.

I've read a lot of angel and part-angel books in the last year and when I read a new one I'm always wondering how different they'll be. I love that 'Unearthly' was definitely a different perspective on an angel-theme. In the past, all stories I've read involving Nephilim emphasise the human aspects of the characters, they'll have extra strength and longer lives but still be human. 'Unearthly' shows the life of part-angels that still resemble angels: wing, powers, a connection to God. It was a nice change to the typical angel books around.

What I'm most curious about is the angel side of the story. Not just because it's different, but there seems to be so much we're missing. Jackson Hole, our story's setting, seems to be hiding more than just beautiful mountain ranges and secret places to learn fishing. There's a lot more angel involvement in the area than Clara (and I'm guessing most readers) thought there was before.

I felt bad for Clara quite a bit of the time. She'd been kept in the dark about her angel heritage for so long, and still when she was working towards her Purpose her mum held back so much information. Not just about the Purpose itself, but about angels, Black Wings, Glory. I can't help wondering how the whole moving to Wyoming and Purpose thing would have gone down in Clara knew more about being an angel. I also got pretty angry at her mum for not letting Clara love who she wants to. While they say you can't fight destiny (or purpose); you can't fight love either.

I like that, for Clara, love is not instantaneous. I feel that her obsession with Christian was partially because of her Purpose, a vision telling her that she feels connected to him. I'm sort of glad she found herself leaning away from that fall-over-yourself-obsession with Christian. I found myself developing quite an obsession with Tucker though. There's something about the Cowboy that made me smile every time he was on the page. Perhaps it was his gentleman personality, or the way he coached Clara through skiing, fishing and hiking lessons; he was so sweet, I adore him. I hope we see more of Tucker in the next book and that he doesn't wind up hurt because of angel rules and history.

4.5/5 Stars

Originally posted on Goodreads.


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