Except for the Mortal Instruments series I haven’t really read that many books, which deal with angels. And except for this one scene at the end of The City of Glass angels aren’t really very corporal or actively involved in the story. So I wasn’t sure to expect from Unearthly. In addition I’m not religious though I have read the bible and I think I’m at least familiar with most stories.
I shouldn’t have worried. This book drew me in from the beginning. The main character Clara is so charmingly normal that you just have to like her. And her family consisting of herself, her mother and her younger brother is quite loveable. They argue, they banter and they obviously love and support each other. At the same time they have to hide that they aren’t completely human. Not that it is apparent that all of them are part-angel. I really liked that for once I didn’t have to guess what kind of supernatural being the main character is. It’s clear from the beginning. The actual question is: What is Clara’s mission/task? As all angels and angel descendants have some kind of mission to fulfil. Because of Clara’s visions the whole family relocates to Wyoming, which also means that the kids have to go to a new school and make new friends.
I loved the whole book. The author took her time to introduce the main characters and this wasn’t boring at all. Clara is portrayed so intensely and effortless, you can easily feel what she feels. The reader can associate with Clara’s problems and sorrows, though they differ slightly from normal people. And she is still an 18-year-old girl. Mission or not, a girl needs friends and maybe even a love interest. When I read for the first time, that there is a love triangle in Unearthly my reactions was exactly this: Oh nooooo! But actually this love triangle, and there is indeed one, didn’t suck! First of all it’s not the, by now almost classic, evil-against-good choice. Both boys aren’t perfect but still behave pretty much like high school dudes.
Christian is a mystery to me. Sometimes he is so charming and observant that I have to adore him. Then he does something so stupidly unthoughtful, I just want to kick his ass. He is cool, rich and knows all the right people. In addition he is sportive and dates the future-homecoming-queen. I can’t fit him in. Tucker on the other hand behaves like an ass. Only gradually it becomes clear that there may be more behind his facade than I originally thought. Both boys have stronger and weaker characteristics but overall they seem to be quite even. However from their behaviour it was a no-brainer to me to vote for Tucker, surprisingly.
The plot was well done. Not overly fast-paced but nevertheless truly fascinating. I liked that there is more background knowledge about angel stuff revealed to both the reader and Clara throughout the book. Cynthia Hand has quite a talent for describing people and scenes. I was captivated by her descriptions of the angel wings and glow. Just unearthly. I was annoyed by only one thing in the whole story; Clara’s mother is far too cryptic and keeps to many secrets. There were moments I wanted to shake her and scream: Tell us want more there is! Anyway, this was a minor distraction. Otherwise this book is a very intriguing beginning of an hopefully great paranormal series.