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[Book Review] - Unearthly by Cynthia Hand

Title: Unearthly
   Author: Cynthia Hand
   Series: #1 - Unearthly
   Format: Hardback
   Release Date: January 4th, 2011
   My Rating: 4.0 out of 5.0

     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 Review:

     Unearthly was one of the books that I was looking forward to being better than the Fallen series by Lauren Kate. I am glad to announce that this book was far far better than Fallen and the characters were better. Luce in Fallen had no idea what she was or any inclination until the very end and throughout the book there wasn't a single person who seemed to want to help Luce understand. However, in Unearthly Clara knows what she is, what her purpose is and her mother wants to help Clara, to a point.

     What I loved about this book was it addresses an issue most of don't normally think about or deal with, Fate vs Free Will. The presentation is great, Clara has a purpose and it shows up in visions giving her pieces of information given to her and what she needs to do. However, what if that decision means you have to give up your free will as well? Personally I believe most of us would choose our free will over fate or destiny. We all like to think we had a choice and we had a part of the path we lead.

     Furthermore, the inclination that there are other families and people like Clara's make this book better. They aren't all lumped together and they don't exactly know where they all are at. So when Clara's fried becomes more than just some friend, but an Angel just like Clara it makes their relationship stronger, and furthermore she pushes their being and what they are. When it's Clara's friend that seeks answers to their Half-Angel and Quarter-Angel abilities, it's what brings them closer.

     Wendy and Tucker bring reality into the book, both friends from nearly the start of the book but change the dynamic and how the Angels interact with humans. Clara's mother says they can't so Glory or their divinity in public or to any other human, because it's something they can't accept or fathom and end up being scared of. I would love to think I could handle seeing an Angel, but truth is I probably would be scared as well, and more than anything shocked about all the implications it means.

     So Clara needs to be wary with Wendy and Tucker, because truth is they are partly some of her closest friends at this new school, that her family drove off to simply because of Clara's purpose. Now Clara is supposed to save Christian, and while she's falling head over heals for him, when his presence isn't around anymore, Tucker comes into the picture. Two boys and a love triangle again, WHY must new paranormal romances go about this? The one thing I will give Clara is when Tucker goes missing, she actually reels and misses Tucker to a point it seems to hurt her. I love that about her, it gives her a purity and some dignity to not be running after two guys at the same time.

     The issues I had with this book were the fact that it seemed a bit drawn out. There are times when the motives and the romantic nuances were nice, but they trailed one after another. I am a guy and while I do enjoy some romance, this just seemed a bit excessive. Some might find this good, but when the introduction of the Fallen Angels were introduced I found myself pining to see more of them and just what "evil" they brought to the world. There was one scene in which Clara's mother and Clara are drug into Hell by a Fallen Angel, and I have to say that was probably the best part of the book.

     Furthermore, there was the wings. Traditional feathery and pull a feather out it'll bleed sort of wings. However the purest Angel's wings will be light white, while the most twisted Fallen Angel's wings will be the darkest black. The intention is that there will be shades in between the white and the black to show just how pure or devoted to your side you are. I enjoyed that this meant there wasn't a "good or bad" side; it blurred the edges a bit, and made the Angel's unique. However, the problem came with how fast it was to change the color. There were a few times we understood that Clara was white, but through events in the book the shade changes darker and darker. It just makes me look at the book odd and ask, is it really that easy to show Purity or Fall from Grace? Just gives me goosebumps if that's the case.
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