Tatiana's Reviews > Unearthly

Unearthly by Cynthia Hand
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's review
Dec 29, 2010

really liked it
bookshelves: romancelandia, ya, 2010, urban-fantasy, 2011
Recommended for: fans of teen paranormal romance
Read from November 02 to 05, 2011

Honestly, after reading at least one of the following books - Hush, Hush, Halo, Fallen - do you really believe there is a good paranormal YA romance about angels out there? A book about proms, love triangles, hawt boys, that doesn't make you want to hurl? No? Neither did I before reading Unearthly.

I was very much impressed by this novel. I was cautious and not trusting of positive reviews of it, and it ended up exceeding my expectations. The book never even once made me roll my eyes - something that I always expect to do when I open any teen romance. It is not driven by the main character's stupidity, like many paranormal romances are. It is not focused on some girl's obsession over a guy who treats her like crap. It is pretty much a breath of fresh air.

Clara is an angel-blood (1/4th angel, 3/4th human). She just received her purpose - a task that all angel-bloods have to fulfill in their lives. This purpose has something to do with a boy Clara sees in her visions and she thinks it is her duty to save his life. She moves closer to him, tries to get to know him and has a bit of a crush on him. Only it seems her purpose in regards to Christian is not quite clear and neither are her feelings towards him.

Apparently, it is possible to write a paranormal romance which employs all standard elements of the genre, and make something good out of it. Cynthia Hand proves with this novel that you can write a teen girl with supernatural abilities and not make her a complete Mary Sue. That there can be a romance between a supernatural and a human, and neither is obsessed with another and ready to die of despair if they break up. That nobody in the relationship has to be a stalker or a doormat. That teens can fall in love with each other not because one of them is inhumanly hawt or sparkly, but because, you know, they spend time together and TALK first.

The story is well paced and never gets boring. The mystery of Clara's purpose is sufficiently mysterious and creates a nice tension. The romantic story line is sweet and, oh my, HEALTHY! Can you believe it?

The angel mythology unfolds at a good pace as well. Whenever you write something about angels, there is always this question of God, how to place him in the story. Hand does a great job of not mucking the concept of angel by making angels in her novel some sexy beasts who are allowed to do whatever and still remain angels. And God's place in the story is also carefully written, avoiding being preachy (for non-believers) or blasphemous (for those who believe).

Unearthly might not be one of the books that I recommend to anyone who would listen (like I do with Lips Touch: Three Times or Melina Marchetta's novels) and that I am in awe of. But I can guarantee you will at least not want to bang this book against the wall. It is not morally reprehensible, misguided or poorly written. As far as teen paranormal romance fluff goes, Unearthly belongs in the top tier IMO. I am even impressed enough to read the sequel, many plot lines remain open and I am curious!
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Reading Progress

12/29/2010 page 1
0.0% "I know, I've sworn off all paranormal YA, but I read a few very positive reviews of this one. Fingers crossed..." 14 comments
12/30/2010 page 338
75.0% "Very much enjoying it, but got to sleep now..." 3 comments
11/02/2011 page 1
0.0% "Need to refresh my memory first" 2 comments
02/09/2016 marked as: read
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Comments (showing 1-50 of 83) (83 new)

Kat Kennedy I can't wait to read your review on this one.

Tatiana It's not going to be a rant, I can tell you now. It's quite OK thus far.

Kat Kennedy Shocking. What can you rely on if not a rant about a YA novel from Tatiana? Next you'll be telling me the ocean is orange and the grass is purple.

message 4: by Tatiana (last edited Dec 30, 2010 05:05PM) (new) - rated it 4 stars

Tatiana Iz sorry to disappoint you:(

Laura the Highland Hussy I think it's a beautiful cover. And I can't wait for your review, whether it's a rant or not :)

Misty It's NOT going to be a rant? Hmm, maybe I should read this. I have the egalley, but I've been putting it off. I have yet for an angel book to impress me.

Kat Kennedy No disappointment - just shock. In Australia it has a cover that is almost a replica of Fallen. This led me to judge a book by its cover. If it's really not that bad then I look forward to reading it.

message 8: by AH (new) - rated it 5 stars

AH Hey 4 stars. I am now intrigued.

jesse OMG! 4 stars? That's a lot.

message 10: by AH (new) - rated it 5 stars

AH Wow. Sounds interesting. Great review, Tatiana.

message 11: by Elisa (new)

Elisa I'm sold!

Tatiana You might rate and enjoy this story differently, but I think you all will agree with me at least on the point that this book doesn't promote unhealthy relationships and that it is not dumb.

message 13: by Ceilidh (new)

Ceilidh The angel YA curse has been broken? Excellent! I may have to pick this up in the future. Good review!

message 14: by Andrea (new) - added it

Andrea Caro Okay, it's official. I'm overwhelmingly excited to read this now.

Krystle I am so glad you liked this one! I think this was the ONLY good paranormal YA book I've read so far.

Tatiana I liked the majority of L.J. Smith's early books (of which Unearthly reminded me - they are teeny, yet decently written), A Certain Slant of Light, and Lisa McMann's Wake and Fade, and that's pretty much it.

Rosanne This is great news! Excited to check this one out. Great review.

Penny Oooooh! I'll definitely check this one out then. Probably not until February--I've got other, more important books to read throughout the entire month of January. But yay for an angel story that works!

Kat Kennedy Yeah, penny! Go Fever!

Tatiana I am dying to finally get my hands on Fever!

Kat Kennedy It's Jan 1st here so I'm starting!

Tatiana It's 1st here as well:) But I'll probably postpone until morning.

message 23: by Aline (new)

Aline Looks a great one for me! Thanks for this review.

message 24: by Suzanne (new)

Suzanne I need more supernatural romance books that I can actually endorse to students, so I am glad to hear this one beats the crapola I've been reading lately. I will put it on my to-read list. Thanks!

Tatiana Suzanne, this one won't make you ashamed for recommending it to kids for sure.

message 26: by Deepa (new) - added it

Deepa Nice review.i totally agree with u'r take on YA romances.And am encouraged to read this one!thx

message 27: by Samantha (new)

Samantha Armstrong Have you tried the new(ish) Madison Avery books by Kim Harrison? they're pretty good except for the way the main girl curses, she saw"puppy presents on the rug" instead of hell or shit, which seems oddly forced.

Tatiana No, I haven't. I tried reading Harrison's adult novel with no success and my GR friends' reviews of her YA books didn't inspire me to read them either.

message 29: by Penny (last edited Jan 13, 2011 08:37PM) (new) - rated it 4 stars

Penny Tatiana, I am ashamed of myself.


Because I had the nerve to question yet another one of your reviews. Not because you've ever misguided me--because you haven't--but because this review mentions that Unearthly contains angels and teenagers and romance (oh my!). In the world of YA paranormal romance that is never a good combination. But I thought, "I'll give Unearthly a shot when I've got nothing else to read. Like months from now."

But then I needed something to listen to while I cleaned the house. So I took the plunge, hoping--no, praying--I wasn't wasting one of my precious audible credits on yet another stupid teen angel book.

Clearly I had nothing to worry about. Best YA angel book ever! Anyway, thanks for yet another great recommendation.

Tatiana You are welcome:)

This one was a shocker, wasn't it? In a good way for a change.

Astoria your review , just made me more excited about reading this book.

Cindy I wasn't sure about this book, but it does sound really good. Thanks for your review.

Natalya After reading official synopsis I was a little uncertain about my intention to read it, but after your comment I'll definitely try it. We'll see what it's made of.

Heather Wow, you've convinced me to give this one a try! And to read Lips Touch: Three Times. And thank you for the shout-out Melina Marchetta; she is fantastic.

Samantha Oledan nice review. I was kind of skeptical at first to read this, but thanks to you I've decided that it's worth a try. :D.

RainaMarie im just asking because alot of people seem to not like halo and fallen i never read hush hush but may i ask why you dont like halo or fallen i thought they were really good books?

Tatiana Reyna, just take a look at Halo's and Fallen's top reviews (which I am sure will be negative) and you will get a pretty good idea why.

Michelle, the Bookshelf Stalker  Queen of the Undead I've been scared to read this book due to my love/hate status with YA romance novels. I've had an ARC copy for a long time but haven't even thought about opening it. Now, I just might!

message 39: by Tatiana (last edited Feb 26, 2011 05:09PM) (new) - rated it 4 stars

Tatiana You should! I haven't seen anyone I rec'd it to be completely disappointed in this book.

Michelle, the Bookshelf Stalker  Queen of the Undead Tatiana wrote: "You should! I haven't seen anyone I rec'd it to completely disappointed in this book."

I'm moving it up my TBR list!

message 41: by zara (new) - rated it 5 stars

zara I LOVED this book

Krissy wow...no eye-rolling parts??? I cut these recent YA para books a lot of slack that most of them don't deserve, but there is ALWAYS eye-rolling...I'm impressed. Will read, thanks. :)

message 43: by Sue (new) - rated it 4 stars

Sue Tint OK, if you gave this 4 stars, I think I must read it!

Michelle, the Bookshelf Stalker  Queen of the Undead I'm finally going to read this book & truthfully, it is entirely on your review that I'm doing so. I've owned a copy on netgalley, an ARC and the actual hard cover, and still haven't read it. I think it is about damn time I do.

Tatiana I can only hope you like it. It's a lot of pressure on me:)

Michelle, the Bookshelf Stalker  Queen of the Undead Tatiana wrote: "I can only hope you like it. It's a lot of pressure on me:)"

No pressure, I'm sure I'll enjoy it.

Lilian yeah me 2 tatiana

Kendra I always check for your reviews for books like this. Thanks for the review, will definitely be giving this one a shot!

Bridget I read the first two books in the Fallen series...and with both books, I was totally disappointed...Torment was a tad bit better than Fallen...But it has me not wanting to read Passion. It has me not sure about ANY angel books really. But I am willing to at least TRY to read this series and the Angel series by LA Weatherly. Hopefully these will be able to keep my attention.

message 50: by Mary (new) - rated it 4 stars

Mary I always read your reviews before I read a book because the books you like, I like, and the books you hate, so do I. And I haven't been risking my money anymore on a story that might be promising. THANKYOU!!

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