Books Read in 2011

Tessa's books-read-2011 book montage

Clockwork Angel
The Hunger Games
Catching Fire
Sleeping Beauty: Vampire Slayer

Books Read in 2011 »

Thursday, November 4, 2010

Book Review: Unearthed

Unearthly, by Cynthia Hand

Official summary:
Clara has known she was part-angel ever since she turned fourteen two years ago. But now she is finally getting visions of what her Purpose-a rite of passage for every part-angel-is to be, and it happens to involve a gorgeous guy. Of course, there is the raging forest fire surrounding them, too. When Clara's Purpose leads her family to Wyoming, Clara finds the boy of her visions, Christian, but complicating her mission are her growing feelings for another guy, Tucker. As the day in her visions draws closer, Clara discovers that her Purpose may play into a larger struggle between angels and Black Wings-fallen angels who spread sadnessand misery wherever they go. But when the fire erupts and both Christian and Tucker are in danger, who will she choose to save?

From debut novelist Cynthia Hand comes a riveting tale full of supernatural powers, forbidden romance, and the choice between fulfilling your destiny or following your heart.

My summary:
Clara Gardner has just learned that she’s part angel who was put on earth to fulfil one specific purpose. She moves with her mother and brother to Jackson Hole in Wyoming, where she has to attend a new school, find friends, and try to get to know her drop-dead gorgeous purpose target, Christian Prescott. None of that is easy with peeled carrot-orange hair.

Clara knows from her visions that she and Christian belong together. Only he has a girlfriend. And she’s in love with another guy.

Learning how to fly, figuring out the vision, and keeping secrets are the least of her problems on the day of her mission.

My review:
I applied for a number of YA books from HerperCollins when they joined NetGalley. I was a little disappointed when the only one they assigned to me was an angel story. Angel stories have always been my least favourite in the paranormal genre. But boy did Cynthia Hand change my mind! I was sceptical during the very short first chapter, curious by the first half of the second chapter, and completely engrossed from there on out. What a ride.

The entire book is written in present tense, which I had to get used to. It is also written in relatively short scenes where the author jumps to the next without linking. It bothered me at first. But I later appreciated it because it made the story, which covers eight months, move so fast that I almost arrived late to my Creative Writing class one morning. In other words, it‘s impossible to put it down.

The story takes place in a small and charming Wyoming mountain town, with snow, greens, and forest fires. . I think what did it for me were the amazing characters the modest (and fun!) descriptions, the fast pace, the continuous guessing, the embarrassing things that Clara had to go through, and of course the amazing love interest, Tucker, from his very introduction (swoon). The characters are deep, funny, and teenage! Language and all.

I thought I had the plot and vision all figured out when I was 65% into the book. I kept thinking about it during my Creative Writing class, and it just came to me. But I only got a part of if right. And yet so totally wrong. I love it when I haven’t figured out the ending until the end.

Cynthia Hand’s writing is fantastic. The book is pact with teenage voice, from conversation to descriptions. Not once did that voice change or switch point of view. I must say that the cover doesn’t do the book a justice. It looks like a book for adults – some cheap romance. I would never have picked that book up at a bookshop. I only read it because it was assigned to me, and I’m ever so grateful because I can’t wait to read the next book. The angel factor is not the biggest factor in the story, although it’s a basic part of the plot. The funny, embarrassing teenage life and romance is where the main focus is.

I read the Kindle version. I hope HarperCollins has it fixed before it hits the market. The letters sometimes ran together, which made it almost impossible to read. 

I recommend this book to anyone who enjoys reading YA novels. I also encourage other people who don’t enjoy angel books to read this one. I can almost guarantee that you’ll love it.

My stars:
Cover: 2/5
Characters: 5/5
Plot: 5/5
Writing: 5/5
Voice: 5/5
The overall reading experience: 5/5


  1. Like you say, the cover does indeed appear to be for a typical romance feature, but it definitely sounds intriguing!

  2. Sounds good, thanks for the review.

  3. You did this book justice with a great review. I'd like to read it. Cynthia Hand owes you big time. I quite like the cover, but then I haven't read the book..:)

  4. Thanks L'Aussie :) It's my first review, so I had to experiment a bit, but I think I'll keep this form. It's been a few days now since I read it and I still keep thinking about it. Definitely worth your money :)

  5. Oh, and I think the cover looks nice. It just doesn't capture the essence of this book. It looks too adult.