Review: 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.

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?

I read this book as part of a Read-Along that I co-hosted with Krystianna @ Downright Dystopian and Laura @ Music Plus Books. It was my first time participating in a read-along and it was a great experience. I highly recommend that you try one out if you get the chance. Maybe even one of ours! If you haven’t already done so, you can read my discussion posts for the Radical Read-along here, here, here, here, and here. Be careful if you haven’t read Unearthly. Those posts are full of spoilers!

Way before I started blogging, I put this book on my TBR shelf on Goodreads because of one thing: the setting. I needed a Wyoming book for my 50 States of YA Challenge and it’s very difficult to find YA books set in Wyoming. I haven’t read too many angel books, because they don’t appeal to me very much. The ones I did read were so-so, which didn’t help my opinion of them, and I ended up putting this one off time and time again.

That worked out for me because the read-along came along, but even after I got involved with that, I was still leery. Not only is it an angel book, it also has a love triangle. I’m not a big fan of love triangles either.

I shouldn’t have been worried. I really enjoyed this book. Some of the characters could be developed a little more, but I feel like that might happen in the next book. There’s a lot of story to tell, and backstory to fill in, and only so much can fit in one book.

Clara makes two good, but very different friends, and I like both of them. One of my complaints about so many YA books is that the parents are absent. Clara’s parents are divorced and her father is mainly a voice on the phone, but her mother is present, except for a short business trip, and very involved in Clara’s life. She’s half-angel (which means Clara and her brother are a quarter angel), so there’s no reason for Clara to hide her powers and visions from her mom. I’m looking forward to learning more about Clara’s mom’s history, which is something that is touched on but not explored as much as I would have liked in Unearthly.

As for the love triangle, I started out not liking either guy for Clara. In my mind, one started out immature and one just wasn’t right for Clara for reasons I can’t get into because they would be spoilers. Our read-along had a Team Wars Challenge and I even made this graphic to express my opinion.

I jumped the gun a little, because the very next day, with the next set of chapters, I changed my mind.

There were several surprises in this book that I did not see coming at all. I believe my jaw dropped a few times.

So am I a fan of angel books now? Not really. I’m definitely going to read the rest of this series (hopefully as a read-along with the same great group of people), and I’ll keep an open-mind if I come across angel books in the future, but I don’t think they’re ever going to be something I seek out. I’m glad I was able to read this one and discover that there are some good ones out there.


  1. […] is the second book in the Unearthly series. My review of Unearthly is here. There will be spoilers for Unearthly in this […]