Unearthly (Unearthly 1) by Cynthia Hand
Published by Egmont Books
4.5 out of 5 stars
format: Audiobook (also available in ebook and paperback order here)
I hate fey (we all know this, so I won’t turn it into a fey-hating rant), but I also have strong dislike for angels (not ACTUAL angels, I don’t want to get struck down by lightening), I also can’t spell angel, and keep trying to type angle, which stupid spell check doesn’t pick up – dyslexia SUCKS. Also should angel have a capital A? is it like God or just a description. ARRRRH. No capital here, I am sorry if any angels or god-blessed beings read this and take offense, it was no intended, I just can’t be bothered to keep hitting the caps lock.
I like a few angel books, but they are nearly always books that have angels that are not angels, such as Angel (gosh, how many times can I get angel into one sentence?), where the angels are actually other dimension beings that suck the life from you, or Die for Me where they are remnants (sp.?!). I hated Branded by Keary Taylor, and even The mortal instruments angel bits annoy me, so in usual George style I stayed away from Unearthly for a while, it just didn’t appeal. Silly SILLY George.
Unearthly has angels, proper angels with wings and a glow (called Glory in this book) who come to earth and mix with humans to create angel bloods, and we have fallen angels too – black wings. Clara is a angel blood – a Quartarius (quarter-blood), she’s known she’s part angel since age 14, and is awaiting her ‘purpose’ the reason she’s here on earth – this will come anywhere between ages 13 and 20, in the form of visions. The book starts when Clara is 16, she gets her first vision of a boy in a forest fire, and realizes her purpose is to save him from the fire, only problem is she can’t see his face, she doesn’t know him or where he is, or when she needs to save him. The visions keep coming and eventually they get a place, and Clara, her mum (half angel) and her younger brother (a Quartarius like Clara), move from California to small town, Wyoming. Its here that Clara meets Christian (ironic name huh? – the book does laugh at itself here, so its forgiven), and its him she has to save, she also makes some new friends, Wendy (and her HOT twin Tucker), and Angela – who has a few surprises and secrets of her own. Clara becomes obsessed with Christian (who has a girlfriend), and tries to get to know him, so she can save him when the time comes. Nothing goes smoothly, Clara struggles with her purpose, her mother’s obviously keeping things from her, and her brother is being a typical 14 year old and showing off (which means excelling at everything, thanks to the extra angel power).
I LOVED this book, LOVED it. I rant on about the powerless, obsessive female leads in YA literature these days, the Bella’s of the world who are destined to be with a boy, who would do anything at 16 to stay with the love of their life, they have no say, no opinions or options on rejecting this love, its just there. I hate those types of leads, it sends such a bad message to young girls, not only do you have to commit yourself to your soulmate at 16, but it should be passionate, all consuming love, a pull you can’t resist, and shouldn’t resist. No no no. at 16 you should be having fun filled, light relationships, have sex if you must, but don’t think it means you’ll be together forever, and don’t think that you SHOULD be together forever, just because your in love at this moment in time. Things change, people change, there is, in the real world, no such thing as unbreakable bonds and destiny – and if there is, I doubt it’ll hit at 16 for everyone. Anyway, thats why I love this book, Clara is drawn to Christian, she is probably destined to be with him, surely thats what her purpose is, to bond with him. But Clara has a choice, she makes a choice that is unexpected and brilliant, she is also aware that she’s young and that things change, but the best bit about this book is that she is given a choice.
The story is unusual, and the angels are well written, they are not above us, or better than us, Clara is a normal girl and wants to be seen as such, the angel is a part of her, but not all of her. There are obviously secrets and twists to come in the latter books, Clara’s mothers purpose is still unknown, but must be linked and her brother is up to something. But the magic of this book is in the relationships, Wendy and Angela (who I don’t trust btw) as well as Clara’s family who seem so perfect but there is trouble brewing.
The only issue for me was Hand’s writing of animals, and its a little issue but made me a little mad, the line about the grizzly looking at her and all she saw was emotionless eyes, pure animal (I’m paraphrasing), made me want to shout. Any one with a pet will tell you animals are not emotionless, they do not run on pure instinct, they have hearts and souls – its only a little moan, but its a topic I’m sensitive about, too many people mistreat animals because they think they are better than them, we are not, we are after all animals ourselves, and when a writer reinforces that feeling that we are better than other species, I get a little mad.
But that will not stop me reading the rest of the series, I’m there with bells on.