Unearthly by Cynthia Hand (Review)

“When Clara Gardner learns she’s part angel, her entire life changes. She now has a purpose, a specific task she was put on this earth to accomplish, except she doesn’t know what it is. Her visions of a raging forest fire and a mysterious boy lead her to a new high school in a new town but provide no clear instruction. 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 the boy in her vision and the boy in her life, 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?”

Don’t be mistaken, but in terms of paranormal romance Unearthly learns towards the romance side. While the angel and the purpose plot is important and dealt with well, Unearthly is very much a coming of age story/romance novel. It’s a well done one, too.

Some people might find Clara annoying. She’s a little immature at the start, makes mistakes, and has lots to learn, but she honestly wants to do good and learns by the end. And her commentary throughout is hilarious. This book has a great sense of humor. Some of the “teenage” language is dated though. No one says “dorkina” or “bozo” anymore (if they ever did).

The other characters are realistic and well-rounded. Jeffrey, Clara’s little brother, acts just like I’d expect a teenage boy to act after being dragged to another town because of his sister’s purpose. He’s mostly in the background, which you realize is for a reason in the end. Angela is funny, driven, and a little intense. I like sweet Wendy, but she’s kind of forgotten about later in the novel. Christian Prescott is a nice dude and all but. . . I LOVE Tucker. He’s that dashing, adventurous type that will tease Clara and challenge her but is ultimately so sweet and gentle. Just thinking about his scenes with Clara makes me smile.

Clara’s mom is also well written. The evolution of her and Clara’s relationship is realistic in how Clara is unwaveringly loyal to her in the beginning but slowly realizes that her mom is also human. I felt Clara’s frustration and sense of betrayal at her mom for not telling her everything. But her mom isn’t villainized either; we see her struggling with the situation too.

The love triangle is how love triangles are supposed to be: it’s about Clara choosing between the different sides of her life more than her choosing between two boys. Both of the love interests are nice guys, but as you can tell I’m so Tucker-bias.

Unearthly ends with several good twists that I didn’t see coming. From the moment the action and the drama starts, it doesn’t let up till the very end. And like any good coming-of-age story, the climax is really about Clara and her path for her life.

I loved this book. It’s definitely worth reading if you don’t mind such a big focus on romance. It’s not an action-packed novel, so if you’re looking for that, Unearthly isn’t for you.

Rating: 4.5/5

 

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