Review: Unearthly by Cynthia Hand

Published by Harper Teen
Released January 4, 2011
435 pages
Where I got it: Public library
Rating: 3 stars

Clara is an angel-blood–she’s known for years.  Her mother is half angel, making Clara one quarter angel.  As such, Clara knows that she’s been put on this Earth for a purpose.  As the time of her purpose grows closer, she gets visions to guide her to try to be in the right place at the right time.  That’s why she and her family must suddenly move from California to Wyoming, and she finds herself needing to tail hottest-guy-in-school Christian.  However, the purpose expressed through her vision isn’t clear, and another gorgeous guy seems to be leading her away from fulfilling her purpose.  Clara needs to make a choice about what to do, all while trying to fit in at school, make friends, avoid demons, and learn about her angel heritage.

I went into this story somewhat skeptically, since so many books of this type seem to be trying to cash in on the Twilight craze.  Unearthly does have some similarities with Twilight: there are two hot guys, the main character is a girl who moves to a rural area and is suddenly out of her element, and there is a vague villain.  Unearthly differs by having the female character be the strong supernatural, and we know all along what she is.

The writing is easy to read, and the romance at the heart of the story (I won’t spoil it) was actually quite sweet and not too sappy.  The reason I did not rate this book higher is that, once again, I felt that the story was stretched too long in order to justify having a series.  I can’t guess at what Hand has planned for the series, but the bulk of this book felt too much like an extended introduction when compared to the part of the story where the big stuff happens. Conflicts are introduced at the end, and we as readers are left hanging.  Like happens so often with series books, I was left high and dry and didn’t have any sense of a closure.  I know what publishers do that (you’re more likely to spend the money to buy the next book when it comes out), but I think it’s unfair to readers to not have a plot fulfilled at the end of a book.  That said, I’m sure I’ll be a sucker and pick up a copy of Unearthly‘s sequel once it comes out.

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