Saturday, April 2, 2011

Review: Unearthly

Author: Cynthia Hand
Release Date: Already looking pretty on shelves
Publisher: Harper Collins
Add it: Goodreads
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.

Every angel on earth has a "Purpose" and 16 year old part-angel, Clara is beginning to have visions of her own. Continual visions of a boy in the middle of a roaring forest fire whom she's certain she has to save. So that's why her mother decides the family should pack up their Californian life and move directly where the vision takes place - Wyoming. Clara's mother is firm on the importance of following one's purpose, so she's willing to take any necessary steps in making sure things will pan out the way they were planned to. And so begins a rocky start at school, the formation of new friends, some of whom may be hiding their own secrets, a crush on a taken boy who frequents her visions and an unexpected, taunting cowboy riding up on his steed. Oh, hi Tucker *smiles*

It doesn't take long after enrolling into her new school that Clara meets this boy from her visions. Christian Prescott is your popular, drop-dead gorgeous, all-round nice guy. He's the whole package - good looks, intelligence, popularity, sporting prowess. He's the guy every girl wants. He also has a girlfriend. Clara's enamoured by him, she wants to know him, she needs to know more about him and while he does hint at having some more-than-friendly feelings toward Clara, his heart lies elsewhere. But there's another boy lurking in the background. One who doesn't have the advantage of appearing Clara's visions, but doesn't need it to make his impression on our little part-angel.

Nearly every review I read of this wore proud their Team Tucker badges, but it wasn't until halfway through did I really begin to see his potential. And yes. I am 100% a Tucker fan! I love how it wasn't love at first sight - Clara didn't fall head over heels and profess her undying love and his unrelenting hotness every second page. It actually begin as sort of a love/hate relationship. With his schoolyard teasing and bantering, it took a while for Clara to really warm up to him. Their romance is slow building and it's growth feels real. Not once do you doubt the bond that begins to develop between these two. It's so sweet! Teasing, blushing and covert glances, a genuine friendship that warms around the edges of the heart and heats up into something much stronger. Tucker is a little rough around the edges, but I think that's what makes him so likeable. He's smart, funny and down-to-earth.

Which makes Clara so conflicted. Christian is the one who she is supposed to be focusing on because he plays a vital role in her Purpose, but she begins to be distracted by Tucker. What happens if her relationship with Tucker stops her from fulfilling her purpose? What will happen to Christian? What will happen to Clara? Are her visions telling her that she's meant to be with Christian? We're left with a lingering hint of more with Christian and Clara, but I'm still firmly on Tucker's side!

I also really enjoyed the fact that Clara has such a strong family unit. There are times when things are a little frosty between her and her mother, but that's what made is so realistic. They had a really nice bond and genuinely enjoyed one another's company as opposed to so many times where you read the protagonist whining about how their parents won't leave them alone or else the parent is just an ghost, who only conveniently reveals themselves when the character needs an unfortunate grounding that's totally going to ruin their love life. I enjoyed seeing a REAL mother. Not to mention the relationship between Clara and her brother, Jeffrey. You can see the genuine sibling love and protectiveness there coupled with the classic bantering and 'ohmygod get lost you're embarassing me.' Cynthia did a great job!

If you're tired of the same old angel plots where the girl falls for the hot winged guy, then this is the perfect book for you. The mythology is fresh and intriguing and watching Clara growing into her abilities is like a coming-of-age-teen-angel story. Cynthia's writing has an easy, natural flow that quickly sucks the reader into this divine little nugget of a story. I can't wait to see how everything unfolds in the next book!

By the way, isn't the Australia cover just gorgeous? I prefer it to the US one, which is pretty but I feel it's too washed out with the purple. This one is vibrant and more 'unearthly'. Which do you prefer?
 
Rating: 4/5

7 comments:

  1. I love the Australia cover, too! I have since I first saw it.

    You loved everything I did about Unearthly. I LOVE how Hand fleshed out the mother and brother b/c so few books DO that. They were awesome and I loved them so much and can't wait to read more about them, too!

    And Tucker! *dies* Love, love, LOVE Tucker. How will Clara overcome her destiny to be with him? Must read now! Haha

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  2. "If you're tired of the same old angel plots where the girl falls for the hot winged guy, then this is the perfect book for you."

    Yes! Finally! Lol. I've had some problems with angel books. I've yet to read one that completely clicked with me, if you know what I mean! I have this one on my shelf, and I can't wait to read it!

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  3. The Australia cover is AMAZING. It's so much better in my opinion. If I buy this book, I'm gonna try and get this version :). And Unearthly sounds great - I like that it's not the same old angel story. Glad you enjoyed it, thanks for the review!

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  4. I'm not even ganna lie. The Aussie cover totally whips the US cover's a**! I actually don't like the US cover for some odd reason. I think the Aussie cover does a much better job of capturing the book.

    Tuck-Tuck-Tuck-Tucker!!!!!! Omg I am totally spazzing out! I'm a sucker for boys like him! I think he is the biggest reason I want to read this book so badly! I mean, the plot sounds AMAZING as well but TUCKER!

    I'd say great review but you already know your reviews are the bomb! LOL

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  5. I love-love-loved this book! It was the first angel book I really genuinely enjoyed. Tucker is so swoon-worthy it's ridiculous.

    And the Australian cover is amazing. But I almost think I need to see it in person. I was so impressed with the US cover until I actually had my copy in my hands. It's so shiny and gorgeous!

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  6. Love the review!! Fresh and unique eh? I'm sold. :) I love the Australia cover - way better than the US cover if you ask me. ;) Now, how to get my hands on this... Another great love triangle!

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  7. I own the hardback US version. In person, it's gorgeous!!!! I don't like the australia version since it reminds me too much of Lauren Kate's FALLEN book covers! Great review by the way! I loved Tucker too! <3

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