I started Unearthly quite a few months ago and read the first couple of chapters and then set it aside. I found the protagonist, Clara to be too childish. The interaction between her and her mother seemed really juvenile to me and the first few chapters don’t quite flow together. Unread books are like an invisible and unrelenting, nagging finger in my subconscious, poking and reminding me, “it’s unfinished!” So I vowed to read this on my vacation last week. I’m so glad I read it, and so disappointed in myself for not having pushed through the minor blip in the first chapters.
Unearthly turned out to be such a pleasant, enjoyable read. And while it is YA it’s not juvenile at all!
There is the YA predictable formula in this book. You know the one: girl moves to a new small town, girl is a bit of an outsider, a couple of students take an interest in the new girl and become her friends, cute boys abound, love triangle ensues etc. I don’t mind formula plots. This story is not hard to follow and has a predictability to it with some infused surprises from the author. The pacing works.
While this is a story about angels, the real story is about Clara finding herself and contextualizing herself with in her family, school and her angelic purpose. Big points when reading this book – I don’t think I rolled my eyes once! It was a very believable teenage read.
What made this book come alive for me were the characters. Clara shapes into a lovely, complex character by the end of the book. Cynthia Hand does a great job at layering her characters slowly and richly, that by the end of the book I really felt like I knew all of the main players. Without giving too much away, Hand presents the two boys that will become important to Clara in a realistic way.
Each character, Christian and Tucker, are flawed in different ways and they each make their share of bad decisions. Hand develops these characters so well that she is able to redeem them to the reader. I really enjoyed the angst ridden ride we take with Clara. The book is written in the first person which allows the reader to get a grip on the feelings she struggles with. There is a lot of internal reflection which allows the reader to understand Clara and her decisions.
Hand’s descriptions are wonderful. She describes, glory and angel wings just as I would imagine them: beautiful and luminescent. In the second part of the book Clara reconnects with nature and Hand places the reader right there with her protagonist, seeing, breathing and tasting the outdoors.
The supporting cast of friends are typical but not cliched. Each one has a presence that supports Clara in their own way. Although there are many supernatural aspects to this book, I found that there is a realistic teenage vibe to her everyday routine. This was balanced nicely.
Very poignant is the relationship with her mother. Clara reveres her, yet doubts her. All the complexities of a mother – daughter relationship are present in this novel. Being angels does not preclude them from the real life dramas all parents and teenagers go through, including the repercussions of an absentee father.
This book is not overly religious and describes angels as protectors of goodness but does not delve into Godly explanations. There really isn’t a great deal of explaining except what Clara and her friend find out through their own snooping (I’m not naming her because it is a spoiler!). Her mother is careful not to inundate Clara with unnecessary information on being an angel. I felt Clara’s frustration on this one. Wouldn’t a mother want to equip her daughter with knowledge?
The book culminates nicely and there is a quasi conclusion that leaves you satisfied but wanting more.
|Recommendation:||A great coming of age story for Young Adults and angel fans alike.|
|Like this, like that:||The Earth, Fire, Wind and Water series by Darby Karchut and the Angelfire series by Courtney Allison Moulton|
About the Blogger
I review Urban Fantasy and Paranormal Romance books with a focus all things werewolf. Based out of Ottawa, Canada