Friday, November 16, 2012

Flashback Friday: Unearthly

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. Quoted from Goodreads
For Flashback Friday, I usually try and pick books that I read years ago.  It lets me remember fun reads from my childhood and early teen years that I haven't thought about in awhile. But, I've also decided it's a good place to review books that I'm super excited for that may have sequels coming out soon.  Boundless, the third book in this series, comes out in January, and I'm beyond excited. Plus, a short novella, Rapture, comes out in a few weeks.  So this week, for Flashback Friday, I decided to do a book that I read only a short two years ago: Unearthly.  And I love it.
There are so many ways this book could have gone wrong or stereotypes it could have fallen into, but it didn't.  1. There is a love triangle I didn't hate.  Yes, it's true.  So many love triangles are hideously predictable or so one sided I'm shocked that they even get the label.  2. There's the poor, underdog heroine who's picked on by one-note, high school mean girls.  3. There's the supernatural ability that magically appears, and a bunch of secrets kept by parents mostly designed to keep kids in the dark and make the plot murky.
Fortunately, Unearthly avoided all of those. 1. Love Triangle: No insta love. They talk. They hang out.  No boy who is clearly better than the other.  Honestly, I was a Tucker fan in this book, but then Christian won me over in the second one, so who knows what will happen in Boundless.  2.  The mean girl is given depth and a heart that can actually be broken and maybe even a few good qualities. 3. Her mother tells her what she is. Yes, Clara's mother still keeps secrets, and there are a lot of them.  But she tells Clara what she is and what she can expect being an angel.  She is there for her daughter, trying to help.
The writing in this was just about perfect.  It flowed, seamlessly slipping you into Clara's head, without being too ornate or noticeable.  It's not an action packed book until the end, but there is always something happening, whether mystery, training, or falling in love, I couldn't put it down.
Angel books are hard.  Sometimes, they seem more like vampires with a twist.  Other times, they land solidly in the dystopia genre. Most often God doesn't exist; angels are just powerful beings who are lead by somewhat flawed beings.  Honestly, I would never dare write an angel book.  Too much divinity and where is your conflict? So I can see why authors leave it out . . . but then you're really sort of back to vampires with a twist.  Of all the angel books I've read, I think Cynthia Hand does it best. There's a lot of stuff I still don't understand, but I think that's kind of the point.
This book is a heavenly 4.5 stars for me.  I loved it.  If you want to see a YA paranormal romance done right, this is it.  It didn't reinvent the wheel.  Instead, it proves what good writing can do with old tropes. Now here's the book trailer in case you weren't already convinced you need to read this. Enjoy!