Ashleigh Paige

I'm a full-time college sophomore pursuing my B.A. in English with hopes of one day working as an editor. Cats, musicals, documentaries about cults/disasters/tragedies, and curse words are just a few of my favorite things. Also, check out our blog or I WILL FIND YOU.

Unearthly (Unearthly, #1)

Unearthly (Unearthly, #1) - Cynthia Hand Also appears on The YA Kitten. Read and reviewed for the H.Y.P.E. ProjectClara Gardner is a quarter angel, properly called Quartarius, and she has a special purpose she was put on Earth to do. Disorienting visions of a fire and a dark-haired teenage boy it seems she's supposed to rescue take her from California to Jackson Hole, Wyoming after some investigation. The boy, Christian, barely takes notice of her at first and then there's that stupid Tucker, who has way too much fun teasing her. Clara makes friends, discovers more about angel-bloods, and starts to feel conflicted about what she's supposed to do. When the time comes, will she choose to follow the fated path in front of her or make a path of her own?For the H.Y.P.E. Project, I'm going to shake up my review format a little bit and see how I like it.CharactersNone of the characters are perfect and no one is trying to pass them off as such. Clara was a likable if sometimes self-centered heroine and she made a good narrator. Her mom Margaret was a different story, but I understood why she acted the way she did and wouldn't tell Clara anything. Making me sympathize with a character I don't like really takes skill. Other supporting characters, like love interest Tucker and close friend Angela, had likable personalities too. Christian was a little plain for me and Kay, though she wasn't anywhere close to being a stock character, had some elements of the "mean girl love rival" cliche in her. (And don't think I didn't notice the puntastic names. I did.)Pacing/PlotI'll admit that at times, I had to force myself to keep reading because there wasn't much happening. The pacing was slowed down to make some time for development and that wonderful development is enough to make me forgive that flaw. Occasional visions and tidbits of angel-blood information kept me interested, the climax had me glued to my seat, and I did not see that ending coming. The change of making the girl the supernatural creature was nice and the plot itself was somewhat fresh.Themes/ConflictsFate is one idea I love seeing be played with, but I'm a little picky on which books do it well and which books don't. Unearthly did a great job of it, raising the question of whether or not fate can be defied or changed. The tough choice between doing what you're supposed to do and what you want to do was good too, and Clara's conflict with that was played out well. Most of the time, books are overdramatic about it, but not this time. Love triangles are usually really obvious in who the girl is going to get with in the end and have little to no tension. Unearthly delivers here too; the reader can easily understand why she's torn.WritingOh, the writing was lovely! I'm not a fan of present tense (but that's just a minor pet peeve), but it worked here. Descriptions managed to be rich without verging into the territory of purple prose. It even made me laugh! I may get silly and sometimes emotional when reviewing books, but it rarely happens when I'm still reading them. Not only was it good, nonrepetitive writing, but it was enjoyable storytelling too.LogicFor the most part, the characters' decisions and reactions are perfectly logical and on-target. There wasn't a moment where I wanted to scream at them that they were being an idiot and should have chosen to do this, not that. And I appreciate that someone finally realized that unless they do something unusual, no one cares about new students. The mythology seemed to make sense too, but there was one little thing that bothered me. Why did the angel-bloods have only one purpose? Wouldn't it make more sense and be more efficient for angel-bloods to be given multiple purposes over their lifetime instead of just having one and being done? It seems so inefficient to have to bring another angel-blood into existence just to do one thing.Was it worth the hype?I'm glad to say that yes, Unearthly is worth its hype. The angel/fallen angel subgenre is notorious for offering some of the worst paranormal books I've ever seen published, but Unearthly has honestly earned its reputation it has as the best of the angel books. Coming from me, someone who ardently hates almost all books that have to do with angels and fallen angels, I hope my word means something. Now I actually have some hope for the subgenre--not much hope, but a little is better than none.Bonus cover sectionI'm not over-the-moon in love with the cover, but whoever put it together did a fantastic job. I would steal that model's dress in a heartbeat and her pose is perfect. The choice to make the background purple really makes the beautiful white font stand out, and it all blends together so well!