Review: Unearthly by Cynthia Hand

Unearthly by Cynthia Hand

Title: Unearthly
Series: Unearthly #1
Author: Cynthia Hand
Published: January 4th 2011 by HarperTeen
Genre: Young Adult Paranormal Romance

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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 picked this up as one of those impulse buys. I knew the series had gotten quite good reviews and was popular, but had no idea what it was actually about. So I started listening and almost immediately wanted to headdesk myself. Angels? Man, I hate stories about angels. Fallen angels. Half angels. Do not want.

I would have stopped listening, but this story had been the only new thing loaded on my Ipod, and it was a long, boring day at work. So I gave it a shot. I am glad I did, this story surprised me into kind of liking it. I’m not sure why, it has all the tropes I don’t normally enjoy: love triangle, destined to be together, prophetic dreams, etc. And yet, I did like it. Which just goes to show you, good writing can make converts of us all. Or maybe it was Tucker Avery who won me over.

I appreciated that the big magic reveal came before the book started, so the main character, Clara, already knew she was quarter angel. She’d already dealt with the news and accepted her place in life. It was a nice change of pace from the disbelief/freaking-out that normally occurs in this genre.

Not much else to say about it, it was a solid read, and I will probably continue on with the series. I’m intrigued about what’s going on with Jeffrey, the little brother.


Cynthia Hand grew up in southeast Idaho (very near the Wyoming border). Currently she lives in southern California with her husband and two small children. She teaches courses in creative writing at Pepperdine University. She is the New York Times bestselling author of the Unearthly series with HarperTeen: UNEARTHLY, published in 2011, HALLOWED published January 17, 2012, and BOUNDLESS, due out in January 2013.

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One Response to Review: Unearthly by Cynthia Hand

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