Review: Unearthly by Cynthia Hand

7488244Book Title/Author: Unearthly by Cynthia Hand
: HarperTeen
Genre: YA Paranormal
Series: Yes, Unearthly is book 1.
Other Books From Author:Β  Hallowed (Book 2) & Boundless (book 3 — out tomorrow!)

Amazon| Goodreads | @cynthiahand |

I purchased this at a Dark Days tour!






As Clara’s teenage year ushered in the normal teenage issues, for her, she also learned that she’s actually an angel blood — half human, half angel — as is her mother and brother. Being half angel means that she’s fully human but she’s got some superhuman abilities and the angel blood in her can manifest certain angel characteristics such as being able to fly or having her “glory” manifest. She also learns that while she’s here on earth she’ll start to learn her purpose through a series of visions. When she finally gets a vision of a boy and a fire, the family picks up and moves to Jackson Hole, Wyoming where they believe to be the location of her visions. She starts school and comes face to face with the boy from her visions — Christian — and she starts to get to know him better and tries to figure out her purpose and what he has to do with it. She knows that Christian is her purpose but she gets distracted when cute cowboy Tucker comes into the picture as Clara is awaiting the day when the scene from her visions will come true. Will she be able to fulfill her purpose? Or will her own free will get in the way?



Ok, guys. You know me. I’m picky with paranormal and rarely read it so I was a little bit nervous about this one because ANGELS? I was skeptical to say the least AND the dreaded love triangle signals were there for me with all the TEAM TUCKER or TEAM CHRISTIAN declarations I’d see in reference to this series. And you know my feelings on love triangles. They have to be really well done for me to enjoy them! All that being said, I’m happy to report that I devoured and LOVED Cynthia Hand’s Unearthly! I’d definitely say it’s one of my favorite paranormal YA’s that I’ve read and I’m just not sure any other Angel series will ever top this one.

I will say that starting out I was really nervous because it was reading a wee bit young for me (as a 27 year old woman) and, though I was enjoying the story from the start, I was getting nervous about some of the borderline eyerolly descriptions of how a guy smelled or how someone’s hair looked or how she described the social statuses at school with things like “Haves” and “Have Nots.” I was nervous that it was just going to be a book full of these kinds of cliches but thankfully it was not like that AT ALL! The story really shook those things off early on and became this intense must-read-in-a-single-sitting kind of read that I was wholly absorbed and invested in invested in the characters and especially Clara’s purpose. The angelology was so interesting and I loved as we learned more and more about the angel world through what Clara knows and then putting the pieces together even more, right alongside Clara, through Angela and Clara’s mother. I thought Cynthia Hand’s storytelling was incredible and she really knows how to place tension, action, twists and BIG OL’ SHOCKERS while still having really great characterizations and worldbuilding. Very evenly paced sort of book and the WOW moments are of the heart thumping variety.

Let me tell you how much I loved Clara! It was so refreshing to read a book where the female was the paranormal/supernatural one rather than chasing around some OMG-SO-HOT character just because “there’s something different about him.” She was strong and independent and such a realistic teen girl with her crushes and insecurities. I loved watching her grow in both her angel abilities and as a human and I just REALLY loved her.

I would be remiss if I didn’t mention the ROMANCE. I know you all are just sitting here like “OMG TUCKER OR CHRISTIAN ALREADY??” The dreaded love triangle ended up one of the BEST EVER and I’ll hint towards the fact it gets even better in Hallowed. It’s so WELL DONE that I can’t stop gushing about it. Both Tucker and Christian are fully fleshed out characters — none of that cardboard crap — and they are both genuinely great catches — no douchenuggets here! The love triangle isn’t superfluous and it is so interconnected to the story. I saw an image once that said “if you took the love triangle out of THG you’d have a story about a televised fight to the death and if you took the love triangle out of Twilight you’d have a book about a girl moving to a town where it rains a lot” and this is SO SO TRUE. Cynthia Hand provides a love triangle that isn’t just THERE and is so important to the story that you really couldn’t take it out but if you did you’d still have an actual story. Both Christian and Tucker make sense. Christian’s the guy from her vision and he’s a good guy so naturally she starts crushing on him and then moves to more powerful feelings because of how interconnected her destiny is with him. And Tucker’s the guy who clearly is crushing on her despite his school boy teasings and whom she really gets to know through conversation and hanging out and then falls for him. He’s the one she falls for freely and naturally. It’s this amazing tension of this destiny and fate versus the free will and Tucker and Christian so aptly help illuminate this struggle.

So the answer to your question: I’m Team Tucker though by the end of Unearthly Cynthia throws that CURVEBALL at you that made me start wavering a bit at who would be better for her and make the most sense. I love his rugged cowboy appeal and his heart and his hardworking nature. I love the scenes where they are swimming in the river or fishing on the boat — just so sweet and carefree and lovely. AND THE BARN SCENE. OH THE BARN SCENE.

With gorgeous Wyoming as a backdrop, Cynthia Hand will mesmerize you with her irresistible story of angels, love, destiny and free will. The angel world she’s built is fascinating as we grow into Clara’s knowledge of the angel world, her powers and what her visions mean and how she will handle her purpose. Hand knows how to create tension, amongst incredible characterization, and you’ll find yourself wanting to finish this all in one gulp and she delivers jaw dropping moments at the right moment. With one of the best love triangles ever, Unearthly left me swooning, re-reading the sweet moments and ultimately, by the end, wavering with if I was Team Christian or Team Tucker. Romantic tension in the best way!


For FansΒ  Of: BETTER angel books, swoonworthy boys, kissing books, paranormal without all the dramatic and annoying cliches, a love triangle that doesn’t make you want to jump off a cliff


Let’s Talk: Have you read this one?? Heard of it? Are you Team Tucker or Team Christian?? Let it all out!!


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About Jamie

Jamie is a 30 year old married lady who is in denial that she’s actually that old. When she’s not reading you can find her doing Pilates followed by eating ice cream, listening to music with oversized headphones and having adventures with her husband and dog.


  1. Oh I’m so happy you finally gave it a chance and found yourself loving it! It is such a phenomenal series! Just like you I could never make up my mind about Tucker or Christian, and … it’s getting worse with the next book!

  2. I maaaay have to check it out. I personally don’t like the cover – Monochrome for the cover with only purple? I could understand if you were making a brochure with this and trying to save money and it’s LESS busy… but I think the cover has too much going on – the dress and tree’s in the background – that dress looks like it would be beautiful… I don’t know if any of this makes sense.

  3. Great review! I think I’ll have to be moving this one up on my TBR list. πŸ™‚ Thanks!


  4. I loved it, too! And now that I’ve read the whole series, I’m dying. I can’t believe it’s over, and I can’t stop thinking about it!

  5. YAY I can’t wait to pick this one up! And WYOMING! Am I the only one excited about that? haha. I love Wyoming (although my boyfriend and I visit Laramie/The Snowy Mountains (he went to school there)) so that really makes me excited to read this series!

  6. I’ve heard so much about this series but I haven’t read it yet. Angels, swoon worthy boys… yep definitely going on the wishlist!!

  7. So glad you loved it!!! I’m waiting for my copy of Boundless so I can binge read the whole series! Dying to see how it all ends. And YES to the barn scene! πŸ™‚

  8. You’re making me want to set aside all my review books and just read this one. I mean, for one thing, it’s an ANGEL book, which I haven’t read too many of. And for another, it’s got a love triangle that works with TWO appealing guys? YES PLEASE.

  9. Someone just recommended this to me because I’m not a huge fan of angel books. I’m glad someone else who isn’t a huge fan of paranormal likes this one a lot! Thanks for the awesome review!

  10. I’m glad you loved this book Jamie. Unfortunately, I felt the complete opposite about this book. It wasn’t for me at all. I couldn’t stand Clara and found her a little shallow. Plus the first half just dragged and I needed more character development. Christian was way too perfect to the point of ridiculous and I found I didn’t sympathize with any of Clara’s little “problems.” It’s interesting that books can elicit such a variety of responses. This series didn’t stand out for me at all, but I’m glad someone liked it.

  11. Thanks for this review! I just read this recently, too, and I really liked it. I’m getting ready to start the second one today or tomorrow so I can be ready for the third one once my library gets it! I am rooting for Tucker at this point but maybe book 2 will change my mind? πŸ™‚

  12. Team Tucker for sure! I loved this series but after the end of Boundless… I NEED MORE!

  13. I’ve had reservations about this series for all the same reasons you did (angels, love triangles etc) but your review (and your post of Epic Reads) have made me super curious about this series!

  14. YAY SO GLAD YOU ENJOYED THIS ONE! Like you, not really a fan of paranormal books either but I enjoyed this one. This is one of the most well-executed love triangles. I don’t think we would mind them so much if all of them were like this!

  15. woo hoo I loved Unearthly! Totally went into it apprehensively, since I am usually not a paranormal girl, but Cynthia Hand rocks. I am excited to read Boundless!

  16. Oh, like you I’m very picky when it comes to paranormal! But I may have to try this series! (and can I just say that the girl in the cover of this book looks just like Natalie Portman to me!!)


  17. I’m not typically a big fan paranormal, but your review kind of sold me on this one. I’m going to have to give it a try.

  18. YES TO ALL OF THIS! I looooove these books so much. Team Tucker all the way!

  19. Totally Team Tucker! It’s been a while since I read this, so I’m shaky on the details, but your review reminded me what I loved about it. I think it’s time for me to finally pick up Hallowed.

    Great review!

  20. Ah, a new convert–and just in time for BOUNDLESS! I’m so glad you enjoyed UNEARTHLY, it really is so much better than just about every YA paranormal romance I can think of. Like you, I went into it pretty skeptically, but by the end of the book I was swooning! *sigh* Lucky you, that you don’t have to wait too long to see how the series ends. πŸ™‚ Great review!

  21. Okaaaaaaaay. You’re convincing me. Tucker sounds awesome, but so does Christian. I HATE poorly done love triangles that just don’t make sense. But a GOOD love triangle, that is there for a reason and features two viable guys/girls that have a purpose? Oh man. I am a sucker for that. I have only ever written one love triangle, and it was the type where I made sure it was all about character growth. It was a lot of fun to write and I think it was good. So yeah, I am ALL about one that…is there other than to just BE THERE, if that makes any sense.

    I almost bought this one in paperback at a bookstore, and I kinda wish I did, BUT, I have it on my Nook. I really like angel books – I enjoyed Hush, Hush, so this one is probably right up my alley. Plus, the fact that you liked Clara so much makes ME hope I’ll like her, too. It does sound like an awesome change that SHE’S the supernatural for once with two guys, instead of the other way around.

    And LOL about THG/Twilight. IMHO THG’s love triangle was…oh man. ONE DAY. I will vlog about my feelings on Gale/Katniss vs Peeta/Katniss (Team Gale, yo.) But Twilight, lmao. It really would just be about some girl who moves to a town with a lot of rain. That’s priceless.

    Anyway, great review, Jamie!

  22. I read this a while ago but all I know is I liked it (a little less than you though) and TEAM TUCKER!

  23. I thought this book sounded a but juvinile at the beginning as well (and I’m 15) but Clara matures so much and, especially in the second book, grows out of this.
    I love the idea of that image, and the love triangle in this book is nothing like that. And THE BARN SCENE. That needed to be mentioned.

  24. I was on the border about reading this book- usually paranormal isn’t my thing either. But your review has completely convinced me that I should at least give it a chance. Thanks!

  25. Okay, so, you should get a medal or something for this review because: I don’t like angel books, I don’t like love triangles, and I don’t like paranormal (NORMALLY for all three of those, but there are precious few exceptions). But you’ve convinced me to give this a shot. πŸ˜‰

  26. Completely agree with this review!

  27. I’ve heard SO many good things about this series but have put it off because well I don’t really do Angels. So I really appreciate your two cents. I think I need to get to this. The only bummer is Cynthia was just in town (I went to the signing and everything) and if I end of loving it I’m going to be mad I didn’t take advantage while she was around!

  28. When I finished Unearthly, I still did not have a team! SO. FREAKING. Stressful.

    Also, in my review the other day I think I may have mentioned that this is either the type of book you stay up late reading or you read over a long time because it stresses you the heck out. You are the former, I presume, and I was definitely the latter. I loved it though, and then I read and stressed out over Hallowed, and I’m STILL scared to death of Boundless.

    Wonderful thoughts on this book. I loved it and the cover is so pretty!

  29. YAYYYYYY Unearthly! This book was SO good, and of course I’m reading Boundless right now and so scared about how it’s all going to end. SO NERVOUS.

    I agree about it starting a bit young. I was a little unsure of the book right after first, but I quickly got hooked and couldn’t put this book down. TUCKER FOREVER. No question.

    Great review, Jamie! Love your Unearthly series enthusiasm πŸ™‚

  30. Samantha Wallace says:

    I have read Unearthly but I have yet to read books 2 and 3 but I loved Unearthly when I first started reading it!! πŸ˜€


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