Review: Unearthly and Hallowed by Cynthia Hand

Posted 11 August, 2012 by Pushy in Blog, Bookworms, Pushy, Pushy Book Review, Uncategorized / 12 Comments

Unearthly and Hallowed by Cynthia HandUnearthly

Genre: YA Paranormal Romance
Publication: January 4th, 2011 by HarperTeen
Audiobook purchased by reviewer
Get your own: Amazon | B&N | Indiebound
synopsis from Goodreads

In the beginning, there’s a boy standing in the trees . . . .

Clara Gardner has recently learned that she’s part angel. Having angel blood run through her veins not only makes her smarter, stronger, and faster than humans (a word, she realizes, that no longer applies to her), but it means she has a purpose, something she was put on this earth to do. Figuring out what that is, though, isn’t easy.

Her visions of a raging forest fire and an alluring stranger lead her to a new school in a new town. When she meets Christian, who turns out to be the boy of her dreams (literally), everything seems to fall into place and out of place at the same time. Because there’s another guy, Tucker, who appeals to Clara’s less angelic side.

As Clara tries to find her way in a world she no longer understands, she encounters unseen dangers and choices she never thought she’d have to make between honesty and deceit, love and duty, good and evil. When the fire from her vision finally ignites, will Clara be ready to face her destiny?

Unearthly is a moving tale of love and fate, and the struggle between following the rules and following your heart.

This series of predestined love vs. personal choice will make your heart soar!

A Dream of Love

I had first heard of this series a couple of years ago and while it sounded good, I was a little overwhelmed by YA angels and while the covers were pretty I just didn’t get excited about them so I waited.   But earlier this year I had the chance to meet Ms. Hand and she was so funny and wry, I knew I had waited on this long enough.  So as soon as I got home that night, I purchased Unearthly, started listening and kicked myself for denying myself the pleasure of this story for so long!

If you’re not familiar with the series, the premise is that Clara, the daughter of a mother who is part angel, is working out what her celestial purpose is, something every angelblood must figure out, usually starting in their teens.  For Clara, all she knows is that there’s a boy (insert excited squeal here) in a forest and the feeling that he might be in danger but that they’re destined to be together.  While her mother is vague on a LOT of the details, she’s fully committed to helping Clara complete her purpose.  So they move from sunny California to a small town in Oregon, where they’ve figured out the forest is.

Angel Doesn’t Mean Easy

One of the story lines I loved most in this book was how Clara had to deal with being an angelblood and a teen at the same time.  As if being a teen isn’t awkward enough, Clara has to cope with learning to fly, embarrassing and uncontrollable moments of “glory” and a secret she needs to keep while still trying to make new friends, a suddenly difficult task in this school full of kids that have thrown her for a loop.  I loved watching Clara navigate the turbulent waters of this school, loved watching her meet Christian, the boy of her dreams, and see her fumble her way in her furtive courtship of a boy who already has a girlfriend (why didn’t the Almighty make sure he’d be single???).

Destiny vs. Free Will

As this story comes to it’s climax, Clara begins to be tempted away from her purpose, by an equally gorgeous, totally amazing boy, Tucker.  For full disclosure I have to state her I am TEAM TUCKER!!!!  This boy is funny, sweet and so swoon-worthy, that just thinking of him makes me sigh!  So, I was totally cheering for Clara to abandon her purpose and choose Tucker all the way to the end of this great story, and let’s just say, then ending of this book is AMAZINGLY satisfying!  *wink*

Unearthly and Hallowed by Cynthia HandHallowed

Publication: January 17th, 2012 by HarperTeen
Audiobook provided by publisher in exchange for an honest review
Get your own: Amazon | B&N | Indiebound
synopsis from Goodreads

For months part-angel Clara Gardner trained to face the raging forest fire from her visions and rescue the alluring and mysterious Christian Prescott from the blaze. But nothing could prepare her for the fateful decisions she would be forced to make that day, or the startling revelation that her purpose—the task she was put on earth to accomplish—is not as straightforward as she thought.

Now, torn between her increasingly complicated feelings for Christian and her love for her boyfriend, Tucker, Clara struggles to make sense of what she was supposed to do the day of the fire. And, as she is drawn further into the world of part angels and the growing conflict between White Wings and Black Wings, Clara learns of the terrifying new reality that she must face: Someone close to her will die in a matter of months. With her future uncertain, the only thing Clara knows for sure is that the fire was just the beginning.

In the second book, Clara has to deal with the consequences of her actions.

Sequel Means Angst

So I know I’ve complained in the past about how an angsty sequel can turn me off, but if you recall, my point was that angst without purpose or growth is tedious.

In Hallowed, we have plenty of angst: Christian refuses to fade away, lobbying hard for Clara’s heart, Clara and Tucker have to come to grips with what being an unequal couple with different destinies can mean and Clara has to deal with the fact that she has turned her back on her destiny. But these are big, weighty issues and therefore I think the angst is justified.

Also, we have ourselves a love triangle, but again, it flowed so naturally from the initial premise of this story, I can’t imagine this story without it. Add into the mix that Clara learns some hard truths about what it means to be an angelblood and who she herself is, this story is full of twists and turns and hard times.  Ms. Hand definitely put my heart through the wringer with this book and I loved every second of it!

Bewitched Rating

Bottom Line

If you haven’t picked this series up yet, run, don’t walk, to your favorite book provider and snap these delicious books up!

Get your own audiobook at Audible: Unearthly (unabridged, 10hrs 30min), Hallowed (unabridged, 10hrs 17min)

The narrator for both books, Samantha Quan, perfectly captured the essence of Clara for me. Seemingly effortlessly, she conveyed the uncertainty and frustration Clara often felt while at the same time playing both Tucker and Christian (and a host of other characters). These audiobooks are a true treasure and I loved every second of them!

Now go and get lost…in a book!
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Lover of words and authors; absolute fan girl of books! Give me a good story, with characters I can love (and hate) and I'll follow you anywhere. Sing me a song of worlds I can dream of, and I'll listen forever.

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12 Responses to “Review: Unearthly and Hallowed by Cynthia Hand”

  1. Both of those covers are awesome. I haven’t read them yet, but Unearthly is on my TBR. Thanks for your review 🙂

    Reply »

    Pushy 8/12/2012

    Ashley, you should seriously move these up now! The final one comes out this January an the romantic tension is SOOOO delectable!!!

    Reply »

    Ashley Robertson 8/13/2012

    I definitely will—just gotta get through a couple more books, then I’m bumping Unearthly up. 🙂

    Reply »

  2. Iman

    Glad you loved this, I’m team Tucker as well. But a character I never liked in this series was Angela. I think she means well, but I could never trust her.
    I agree about the love triangle, it wasn’t at all tiring like in some books. I think it helps that both guys are so real and believable, and each has his positives and negatives, plus they’re so different…
    Great review, can’t wait for the next book!

    Reply »

    Pushy 8/12/2012

    Iman, I have my suspicions about Angela as well. And I think that we’re supposed to. *wink*
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