Thursday, July 16, 2015

[Series Review] Unearthly Trilogy by Cynthia Hand

Unearthly  by Cynthia Hand
Unearthly #1
Published January 4th, 2011 

Young Adult Paranormal Fantasy

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.

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Hallowed by Cynthia Hand
Unearthly #2
Published January 17th, 2012 

Young Adult Paranormal Fantasy


For months Clara Gardner trained to face the fire from her visions, but she wasn't prepared for the choice she had to make that day. And in the aftermath, she discovered that nothing about being part angel is as straightforward as she thought.
Now, torn between her love for Tucker and her complicated feelings about the roles she and Christian seem destined to play in a world that is both dangerous and beautiful, Clara struggles with a shocking revelation: Someone she loves 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 this compelling sequel to Unearthly, Cynthia Hand captures the joy of first love, the anguish of loss, and the confusion of becoming who you are.

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Boundless by Cynthia Hand
Unearthly #3
Published January 22th, 2013 
Young Adult Paranormal Fantasy

The past few years have held more surprises than part-angel Clara Gardner could ever have anticipated. Yet from the dizzying highs of first love, to the agonizing low of losing someone close to her, the one thing she can no longer deny is that she was never meant to live a normal life.
Since discovering the special role she plays among the other angel-bloods, Clara has been determined to protect Tucker Avery from the evil that follows her . . . even if it means breaking both their hearts. Leaving town seems like the best option, so she’s headed back to California - and so is Christian Prescott, the irresistible boy from the vision that started her on this journey in the first place.
As Clara makes her way in a world that is frighteningly new, she discovers that the fallen angel who attacked her is watching her every move. And he’s not the only one. . . . With the battle against the Black Wings looming, Clara knows she must finally fulfill her destiny. But it won’t come without sacrifices and betrayal.
In the riveting finale of the Unearthly series, Clara must decide her fate once and for all.

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Over the last few years I've read a handful of Young Adult Paranormal Romance novels featuring angels but the Unearthly Trilogy is by far the best one! 

Hand's writing is superb, the words seems to be carefully chosen for the right moment and everything flows so smoothly that I don't think there's ever a dull moment in the whole series. Everything has a purpose in the story and each element has an explanation, making this trilogy a nice break from all those books in which seems like the author had a lot of different ideas and decided to throw elements around without necessarily making any sense. 

I love how we have mysteries in the first book that won't be resolved until the third one, because it keeps my interest throughout the whole series. 

The story starts when Clara is sixteen. She's an angel-blood, meaning she's half angel and she (just like every other angel-blood) has a purpose, which is kind of like a prophecy she has to fulfill, her mission in life. This purpose comes to her gradually, in visions, so she has to make sense of them to figure out what she has to do in order to fulfill it. We start off knowing that her purpose is to save a boy who's standing in the woods in the middle of a fire, but she doesn't know the specifics like time or place. 

In Unearthly, we get little pieces at a time, tiny bits of information regarding Clara's purpose and we have to figure it out along her, which makes the read really exciting and keeps you at the edge of your seat. 

The characters are beautifully written and felt authentic to me. Besides the whole angel drama going on, there's also a lot of angst since the relationship between Clara and her mother is a little strained because Maggie is keeping a lot of secrets.  Even then, the family relationship is quite unique, and Clara's mother is a "hands-on" character throughout the series, which I really appreciate in YA novels since most of the parents in this genre are like cardboard cut-outs to the story. Even Jeffrey, Clara's brother plays a crucial role in the series, which just adds up to the family component. 

There's a love triangle going on, but even if I'm not a fan of that element in most YA books, I think in this series it's well done. It affects the plot, but it's not the entire plot, if you know what I mean. 

There's Tucker who is a hottie, cowboy-ish, laid back and overall a great guy. He and Clara have the funniest banter in Unearthly. He's just very easy to like even when he's trying to be the tough guy.  

And there's Christian, who we get to know very little in the first book. We only know that he's the guy everyone wants to be with, the most popular guy and that he's painfully handsome. In Hallowed we go deep into the rabbit whole that is Christian Prescott's life and it's not as pretty as it appeared before. 

In the second installment, all the rules we were counting on go out the window and we start to learn a lot more about Clara's mom and all of her secrets. It's an emotional roller-coaster and although we get a lot of the much needed answers, there's still a fair amount of mysteries and questions to be solved. 

In Boundless we find out everyone's real intentions, we finally see Clara in her full potential and also making the painful decision between Christian and Tucker. This last book is overall a fantastic wrap-up for the trilogy.

The whole series is just amazing. Contrary to what happens with most trilogies, this one kept getting better and better with every new book, which completely blew my mind, because I was entirely in love with the first one to begin with. 

I think the Unearthly series is one of my favorite series of all time and I'd recommend it to everyone who has yet to read it. Especially if you've read books about angels before and felt disappointed, because this one is by far the best one I've encountered.



About the author

Cynthia Hand is the New York Times bestselling author of the Unearthly series with HarperTeen: UNEARTHLY, HALLOWED, RADIANT (an enovella) and BOUNDLESS. Currently she lives in southern California with her husband and two small children. She teaches courses in creative writing at Pepperdine University. Her last book, THE LAST TIME WE SAY GOODBYE, was released in February 2015.



  1. I'm so glad that you love this series! I loved Unearthly & Hallowed, but I still have to read Boundless. Great reviews!
    Krystianna @ Downright Dystopian

    1. Thank you! You should definitely finish the series! If you do, please stop by and tell me what you thought of the ending :)


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