6 November 2011
Unearthly, by Cynthia Hand
Series: Unearthly, book 1
Genre: Ya, Paranormal Romance
Published: January 2011
Angels are some of my favourite ‘things’. I simply adore these divine beings with their majestic wings. Their pure, untouched souls vibrating with untainted love. Ergo, reading about them is wonderful to me. I enjoy(ed) the 'Fallen' series by Lauren Kate very much, but was very disappointed by 'Hush, Hush' and its sequel. So I was hoping ‘Unearthly’ would be better. It was actually, being good and sweet, but not as epic I hoped it would be. It was, however, the story I expected 'Hush, Hush' to be. The way 'Hush, Hush' could and should have been had it been about 'good' angels and had it been written properly...
The beginning of the book did not draw me in immediately though. The vision Clara had, wasn’t written very strongly; it’s more telling than showing what the author does.
The rather simple writing style in the present tense even appalled me at first. (To me, writing a book in present tense feels like a beginner’s mistake.) Too many sentences are short and start with ‘I...’ or ‘He...’, another indication pointing towards the author’s lack of writing experience. But the storyline takes the focus off these flaws, fortunately.
Lately, I find myself becoming tired of 16-year old heroines. However, the concept of ‘Unearthly’ is original enough to grab ones attention and it makes one wanna read on. Being a normal, modern, school-going girl who happens to be part-angel, Clara receives a vision which becomes her life’s purpose. Bit by bit the vision becomes clearer, until Clara knows where to find the mysterious boy she is supposed to save from a forest fire. The author wrote in some lovely and believable details and explanations on angels, which were new to me. Everything is clear and simple, and explained rather than expected to be common knowledge.
Slowly, the story develops once Clara moves across the country with her half-angel mother and demi-angel brother and meets Christian, the mystery boy from her visions. Clara makes new friends and learns more about angels from an unexpected source. Because she is still uncertain about her purpose, Clara tries to get to know as much about Christian as she possibly can. This involves a mild form of stalking, not like some of the unhealthy stalking we’ve read about in a lot of YA books lately. Wink, nudge…
Nothing epic happening at first, asides from the knowledge Clara has angel blood flowing through her veins and feathers growing out of her back (when needed/forced). Through the major part of the book, the story seems to focus more on Clara’s adjustment to her new life. Towards the end and Clara’s supposed purpose-fulfilment the story picks up speed. Still the plot isn’t huge but more subtle and not entirely exposed during this first instalment of the trilogy.
Because of the simple writing style, ‘Unearthly’ reads away quickly, easily and understandably, without the ridiculous plot twists or over-the-top paranoia we encountered in ‘Hush, Hush’. Actually, for a book on angels with meaningful purposes the pace is very slow. Clearly ‘Unearthly’ puts the emphasis on romance rather than action. The story itself is endearing enough to make you forget about the lack in sentence variation or non-descriptiveness.
The romance part flows very naturally, it doesn’t feel forced on in any way. I had expected things to go slightly different, knowing Clara’s destiny was somehow entwined with Christian’s. Then again, that’s not how these stories usually turn out. The story is incredibly sweet and realistic, and like Clara, you forget she’s part-angel sometimes. Sure, there almost isn’t anything she isn’t good at, but most of the time her human side prevails. She’s a normal teen trying to find out her purpose in life, not just an angel-blood trying to live up to her purpose. Her angelic-ness makes it even harder for her to be herself, having to hide her true self most of the time.
The choices she makes are very understandable, Clara is easy to relate to. It’s hard to act divine and put yourself last, when you feel like a normal girl who wants to live a normal life and put herself first. I was left as confused as she was, in the end. Which is a sign of good penmanship after all. I truely was Clara...
Tucker seems like the kind of guy any girl would be lucky to have: an attractive, spirited cowboy with a golden heart.
Christian is still too much of a mystery to me to make up my mind about him.
My initial thoughts that something was ‘up’ with Angela were right. Gotta admire a girl with so much enthusiasm, whose mother owns one of the coolest places in town.
Wendy shares most qualities her twin brother Tucker; she’s steady, trustworthy, loyal and down-to-earth.
I know Clara's mother Maggie deliberately let her daughter find out things, but it pained me to actually feel her shutting Clara out at times.
The way things were going I should have expected the book’s ending. But the way things were supposed to be going, allowed the ending to surprise me. Thankfully Hallowed (the sequel to ‘Unearthly’) is already written and I’m glad I pre-ordered it. Because this book was clearly a set-up for a longer story, a (albeit very long) introduction for more to come; leaving some serious issues to be resolved, questions to be answered and mess to be cleaned up. A task I am willing to take on, because this book was a very lovely read. A feel-good book if you will, with its darker passages, humour, endearing characters, very promising concept and somewhat gloomy ending.
P.S. Alas, I own the book with the *least* attractive cover option out of the 3 different versions. It's hideous in my opinion even; the girl dressed in white with her 'computerized' hair, against the blue forest background. I sooo don't get this cover, as opposed to the other beautiful ones!