Review: Unearthly by Cynthia Hand

Posted by Jessi (Geo) on February 18, 2013 | 13 Comments

Review: Unearthly by Cynthia HandUnearthly by Cynthia Hand
Series: Unearthly #1
Published by HarperTeen (1.1.2011)
Genres: Urban Fantasy, Young Adult
Format: Paperback, 435 pages
Source: Gifted
Buy on Amazon

3 Stars

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.

My thoughts

*HUGE thanks to the lovely Inky for sending me a copy!! <3

I don’t know why it took me so long to finally read this. A few of my bloggy friends (you know who you are!) have been nagging me to read it and I’ve actually been dying to start the series. I wanted to love it as much as they did, but I’m afraid it didn’t live up to the hype for me. I seriously think I have a problem with hyped-up books. I’m almost always the black sheep, sadly.

It’s not that I didn’t like it. For the first half, the book was good. Not great, it didn’t wow me, but it was decent. A little cliche at some parts, but nothing terrible. Until it got to about 2/3 of the way through. Clara and Tucker had barely talked or interacted at all until this point. Then they spend all of a couple weeks together and suddenly the L word is being thrown in my face. Um, what? 3 chapters ago you didn’t even like the guy, and now you’re saying you love him? What the eff? To be honest, this ruined the book for me. After that it got really cheesy for a while, and then they broke up and the plot was all ‘Tucker, this, Tucker that, I’m so sad that I can’t have Tucker, all I think about is Tucker, Tucker Tucker Tucker.’ Ugh. SHUT UP.

I despise instalove. I think you all know that by now. That is the surest way to make me go from enjoying a story to hating it in 30 seconds flat. ‘Making out like champions’ and being able to regurgitate 2 paragraphs of facts about a person does NOT equal loving them!! Okay, so maybe you know some obscure facts about them. Good for you. That doesn’t mean you know them. Especially after a matter of weeks. And then they were only together for a month, and she went all mopey, ‘my life is over’ mode when they had to split. Seriously? Maybe it’s just me, maybe I’m just good at moving on (and I personally don’t think a month is even a real relationship, but again that’s just me). But after a whole chapter of her sulking over it, I got a bit annoyed. I want to hear a story about angels, not about whiny break up drama.
Plus it irked me that she was extremely obsessed with Christian one minute, then he left and as soon as Tucker gave her attention she immediately attached herself to him. She did stick with him for the most part, I’ll give her credit for that, but she changed interests a bit too quickly.

Clara was alright. I didn’t necessarily like her, but I didn’t hate her. She annoyed me a couple times by being obtuse and selfish, but for the most part she was pretty average. And her flaws made her more believable. Because who can’t be obtuse and selfish sometimes?
I didn’t like Christian. I found him boring. He’s so sexy, and nice, and perfect….yawn. Guys that are too perfect put me to sleep. He didn’t have much of a personality, in my opinion.
I suppose you could say I’m leaning toward Team Tucker, if I actually did pick a team. I did like him, except for the whole being a cowboy part – not really my thing. But I liked his personality. He’s kinda snide sometimes, and he liked to poke fun at Clara (I liked their banter!). But he was more realistic than Christian was.
I liked Angela and Wendy was awesome, but they kinda faded into the background when Clara attached herself to Tucker, like they didn’t matter any more. Which bothered me. I wanted to see more of Wendy.

I liked the concept, even though I’m not usually fond of angel books. The whole having visions of her purpose was cool (although I was disappointed by how it played out in the end), and I liked the idea of angel-bloods being half or quarter angel. I would have liked to know more about the Black Wings and their purpose in the plot, but there’s always the next book to go into that. I liked the scenes where Clara was flying (um, duh, I want to be able to fly) and glory was interesting. Oh, and there was a big revelation toward the end that even I didn’t see coming. So bonus points for the surprise factor.
I did like the story. But the delivery was lacking for me, and the instalove really took away from the story and made it less believable (not to mention cliche).


“You have to free your mind,” says Angela.
“You sound like Yoda.”
“Free your mind, you must.”
YES. (Inky!!)

Overall Assessment

Plot: 3.5/5
Writing style: 3.5/5
Originality: 2.5/5
Characters: 2.5/5
World-building: 3.5/5
Pace: 4/5
Cover: 4/5
Overall rating: 3/5

Jessi (Geo)

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13 responses to “Review: Unearthly by Cynthia Hand

  1. Megan R

    Too bad you didn’t like this one as much as you had hoped. I think when books have a lot of hype, we end up being much harsher on them for not being perfect. I went into this one with no expectations (apparently I was living under a rock) and loved it.

    I found Christian a bit boring as well. I need some flaws bro!

    Also, I’m pretty sure I AM Wendy. She loves horses and sewing? Yep, that’s me!

    Lucky for me, my angel book this month was awesome! Angelfall! There’s another book with a fair bit of hype going on.

    • Yeah, I always get my hopes up TOO high :(

      I haven’t heard a single bad thing about Angelfall! I’m afraid of course – hyped up book and I’m a black sheep – but I’m really looking forward to reading it!

  2. Inky

    Ah Jessigirl. I am sad that you didn’t like it as much but I’m glad it wasn’t a total downer. I hope you read Hallowed. Maybe you’ll like it better. Let me just say, your review still cracked me up. TUCKER TUCKER TUCKER TUCKER Ugh, Shut Up. Baha. It’s got the best chant rythmn to it. I know that’s the weirdest thing ever but I have been chanting that even though I still love Tucker. Anyway, so that was Random. Loverly review as always darling! *hugs*


    • I will definitely still try Hallowed! It just won’t be this month (probably not next month either *swamped with review copies*). Hahahaa XD
      Did you see the quote?! That was for you!! I meant to tweet you when I read it and forgot…

  3. This book surprised me. I liked it more than I thought I would, but I totally get what you mean by her sudden Tucker obession. Despite the fact that I really like him (I’m totally on his side) she went a bit crazy. I think the refreshing take on Angels made me enjoy this book. Great review as always :)

  4. Insta-love can be a huge turn off to a book. It better be for a darn good reason and even then I don’t really want to hear the L word thrown around until 3/4 into it. Completely understand your frustration. I haven’t read this one, but it is on my to-read list to check out. I do love surprises so that would be a plus. Great review! Jaclyn @ JC’s Book Haven

  5. Eileen Li

    EEK. I’m sorry you didn’t like that one as much D: I didn’t notice the insta-love but I do agree how Clara focused a lot of her energy on Tucker. I do loveee Tucker though :) Christian was a total insane person though! TOO PERFECT AHHH.

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