Title: Unearthly (Unearthly #1)
Author: Cynthia Hand
Publisher: HarperCollins Australia
Version Read: paperback (library)
Publication Date: January 4th, 2011
Categories: angels, paranormal, romance, young-adult
Summary (Goodreads): Clara has known she was part-angel ever since she turned fourteen two years ago, but only now is her Purpose – the crucial rite of passage for every part-angel – becoming clear to her. Clara?s Purpose leads her family to Wyoming, where, amidst terrifying scenes of a bush inferno, she finds the boy of her visions, Christian. He is everything she could wish for – so why does she also have feelings for her enigmatic classmate Tucker?
Clara discovers that her Purpose is only a small part of a titanic struggle between angels and their destructive counterparts, the Black Wings. And when the fire of her visions erupts and both Christian and Tucker are in danger, who will she choose to save?
Why on earth didn’t I read this series sooner? By far the best ‘angel’ book I’ve read. I loved Unearthly, right from the opening lines.
Clara is a fairly level-headed and intelligent teenager whose reactions to the various discoveries she makes throughout Unearthly are delightfully realistic. She explains that when her mum told her she was an angel-blood, she thought her mother had gone crazy. It wasn’t until her mother proved to Clara that she was definitely telling the truth, that she accepted that maybe her mother hadn’t gone completely bonkers. I loved how she had to learn to fly – it wasn’t just a natural-born talent. It made the whole idea of angel-bloods much more realistic.
I love the idea of angel-bloods having a ‘purpose’. The fact that they must piece together what their purpose is, through visions and dreams, makes it all the more interesting, although it does make it very frustrating and difficult for Clara – she doesn’t know when the events in her vision will occur, just that they will occur at some point. I really want to know what Jeffery’s purpose is, and Angela’s as well, so hopefully we will find out more details about those.
The insta-attraction thing with Clara and Christian was nicely done. Explained as “well every girl lusts after Christian, so it’s perfectly normal” but also as part of her purpose. With the last couple of chapters revealing everything, it made sense in a nice, non-stalkerish way. However, I really liked Tucker over Christian, and I would love to tell Christian to bugger off and let Clara figure out who she wants for herself. (Tucker!)
The one thing I found a bit frustrating was Clara’s mum. She seemed very hesitant to give out any information to Clara, yet later on when Clara’s friend Angela, who is also an angel-blood, asked about angel-related things she seemed quite happy to answer. I know she is trying to protect Clara as much as possible, but it’s still annoying, because it seems as though it’s not okay for Clara to ask questions, but if anyone else does then it’s all good.
Cynthia Hand weaves well-researched and thought out angel mythology through Unearthly, and it makes the whole thing much more interesting and cohesive to read. The angel mythology in the book, which is a mix of Christian, Jewish and Islamic mythology, stays very much true to itself. There are no sudden changes to the mythology or random breakaways from the set mythology, and I really must applaud the author for this because that is something that drives me absolutely nuts.