Friday, 22 July 2011

Unearthly by Cynthia Hand

4 Stars.
I read this book back in early March and had my review up on Goodreads, but I wanted to post it here as well :)

This was a really enjoyable read. I finished this a few days back and since then the thing that has stuck with me the most is the setting.
Cynthia Hand does such an amazing job of bringing the small town of Jackson Hole, Wyoming to life in the story. It's almost like a separate character in the story, providing the setting for many of Clara's adventures in her new town. Skiing, hiking, horseback riding, swimming, fishing. It's unique to have all these elements incorporated into a story that usually focuses on the high school environment and then the home or job of one or more of the characters. This story really focused on the colourful town which I appreciated.

Clara is a great character. She's sweet, down-to-earth, insecure like the rest of typical high school girls - even though she's and angel. She makes a great heroine. The other thing I really like was that Clara knew what she was, what her mother and brother are before the book even starts. From the first page you know as a reader that Clara is aware she's an angel and that she has a purpose to carry out. In so many YA paranormal books reader spend at least 4 chapters being introduced to the world and being guided by the previously clueless main character. It's a great way for the author to do it, but gets tedious once you get to know the formula. I liked that Hand chose to go in a different direction with her story.

Now for the boys - Tucker and Christian. I knew almost right away who I was rooting for. They're both nice, personable charming characters in their own way and Clara is attracted to both, but you can tell she is more sincerely developing feelings for one. I won't spoil it. All I'll say is that she chose the guy I had my eye on ;) The thing I most appreciated is that Hand takes real care to develop relationships in this book. Not just with the guys but with Clara's girlfriends. They all have distinct personalities and have credible use in the book. There are no wallpaper characters in this one. The relationship between Clara and her guy in particular is very well done and totally had me melting in some scenes. You could tell these two really cared for one another and saw the development of those feelings!

The end was engaging and kept me on the edge of my seat wondering what would happen. It was fast-paced, maybe a little too quick, which is part of the reason this book got 4 instead of 5 for me as well as the fact that I felt there could have been more of a showdown or climax after all the workup through out the story. The whole book, Clara's move with her family and what follows is designed to help her achieve her purpose and then when readers get to the end, the inevitable showdown, the moment where all her visions of her purpose will come to pass, the whole thing moves much too quickly. I'll say here that I would have made the exact same decision Clara chose to make in that final moment. But, I thought that some of the events which came before the crisis moment could have been better established. The whole climax needed to flow a bit better. The ending wasn't enough to really detract from the enjoyment of this book, because the very end, the last few lines is what hooks readers for the next books.
There's no frustrating or insurmountable cliffhanger, but there are several little teasers that make you want to know what will happen next.

Overall, a very entertaining and engaging read. A nice introduction to Cynthia Hand's work.

Oh, and BEAUTIFUL COVER! It's gorgeous. The cover in itself is worth 5 stars :) Although the girl on the cover always reminds me of Natalie Portman, even though Clara is supposed to be a blond. Ah well.

1 comment:

  1. This sounds interesting! Whenever I come visit your blog, Yaseena, I only discover more books I have yet to read!!

    Hope I can get my hands on this soon.