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review 2014-06-19 00:00
The Unearthly (The Unearthly Series) (Volume 1)
The Unearthly (The Unearthly Series) (Volume 1) - Laura Thalassa THIS CONTAINS SPOILERS!

Maybe I should have written the review after I read just this one, but I waited until I read the second book as well and because they flow together so seamlessly, I can't separate them in my mind, so this is for the two books as one. Adopted and not knowing anything about her past, Gabrielle goes off to a school that she can attend only because of who and what she is. She is the daughter of her father and mother, but who were they and what does that make her is what she finds out. Not your usual school curriculum. Dying isn't usually part of the curriculum either, but it happens to Gabrielle. Her Awakening goes a little awry, because dying wasn't planned. But once she kicks her way out of a metal drawer in the morgue, she gets her mentor. Her mentor is none other than the king of the vampires and the much sought after Andre. Yes, she's died and awakened a vampire like her father. She's also a siren as her mother. She has one other little secret that really has Andre taking notice. And then there are those dreams she has that seem to be getting more intense. Just who is that man in the suit? She doesn't dare ask anyone. Feelings are running high against the only vampire at school and the whispering is hard for her to ignore. She feels very much isolated in spite of her good friends, Leanne, Oliver and Caleb. It's a fast paced fascinating story and now I have to go order the third book from Amazon so I can get the rest of the story!
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review 2013-07-25 00:00
Unearthly - Cynthia Hand Need some time to gather my feelings about this book. I liked it for the most part so I am curious to read the rest of the series. Just too early in the morning to churn out a detailed review.
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review 2013-07-21 20:58
Unearthly (Unearthly Series #1)
Unearthly - Cynthia Hand This one was interesting with a well thoughtout mythology and pretty solid characters, occasionally stuttered but overall not a bad read and I'm looking forward to book 2. Clara Gardner knows that she's part angel, and part of her life is that she has a mission, a purpose she was brought onto the earth to do. She has visions of a raging forest fire which eventually leads to her family uprooting themselves from California and heading for Wyoming. The displacement and some of the manifestations of her angel self make her stand out from the others and the fact that the boy she keeps seeing in visions is the most popular boy in the class... yeah, that doesn't help. I didn't find the mother was very helpful in ensuring she knew enough about the background of her world and ensuring that she knew enough about the dangers around her. I found that a bit offputting and lowered the stars for me, particularly when the dark angels turned up. Readable, pretty good example of the genre, bit off in some of what the main character knows about what's going on and about her mother's reactions but shows promise.
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review 2013-06-16 14:38
{Review} Boundless - Unearthly #3 - Cynthia Hand
Boundless - Cynthia Hand
I enjoyed the first two books in this series - didn't love them, definitely didn't hate them; so I guess I just plain liked them. I picked up the third book in the trilogy when I saw it at the library the last time I was there, since I hadn't purchased either of the other two books (and didn't need to purchase #3 to complete my set) I decided to grab it. 
I was immediately transported back to Wyoming, and into the life of Clara Gardner, her brother Jeffrey, her "aunt" Billy, her friend Angela, and her two love interests, Tucker Avery and Christian Prescott. I had remembered pretty much everything from Unearthly and Hallowed (Which is a miracle!) and what I had forgotten about was triggered when mentioned or referred to inBoundless.
I felt that this final installment in the series was slow paced, and a little boring at times. I remember in writing my review for Hallowed, saying how I felt that time went by too quickly. It did again in Boundless, each chapter sometimes being weeks or months in the future, yet still dealing with the actions of the previous chapter. I found that it felt a little disjointed to me. Also, the characters seemed to accomplish little in these large gaps of time. I think that the characters themselves remained true to who they were in the previous books, but each has grown and changed in their own ways - which I enjoyed reading about.
One thing that I absolutely hate when a series ends, is when it feels too "Happily Ever After" at the end. Sure, the characters suffered over the course of the three books, but I feel like when I closed Boundless, I was like, "Oh, okay. So that's how it ends." I wasn't happy, or sad, I really didn't feel anything. It just is what it is. Which kind of disappoints me just a bit. I love endings where you feel these crazy rush of emotions, but this one just didn't do it for me. 
I believe that Hand has interesting concepts of angels, Hell, the hierarchy of the angels, and basically her  ideals of what the contrast between Heaven/Hell, God and Fallen Angels are. Religion is one of those topics for me that is so touchy and so easily boundaries can be overstepped and turn either preachy or overly-religious to just unbelievable. I think that Hand did a good job keeping a decent balance to where I think the book is enjoyable by those looking for the angel/religion theme and those that enjoy reading about Good/Evil and angels without the religious aspect, like me.
Overall, I think the series told a good story with likable characters and creative themes and ideas that added up to three decent books that I would definitely recommend for it's enjoyment factor. It may not have wowed me, but I still enjoyed the ride.
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review 2013-03-30 00:00
Unearthly - Cynthia Hand,Samantha Quan OK, even though I am totally immersed in Young Adult Fiction, this was my first angel book. I tend to stay away from all the "creature" type books. But this one got such great reviews because of the story, and they were right. It is a great book. Wonderful characters, great story.

One of the reasons I shy away from angel books in particular is my philosophical differences with the premise. But in this case, there were so many good aspects that I was able to suspend my personal beliefs. I absolutely loved the idea that Clara and others had a purpose, and that their particular purpose was relatively undefined. The way each Clara's purpose was revealed made for the best kind of plot - layer by layer, mystery, suspense, surprise. The best stories will do all these things while making you love the characters. This particular story does it exceptionally well.

The characters were distinct from the outset. Clara is extremely likable, as is her brother Jeffrey. Christian is a favorite for me, but not because he's so perfect. It's because he's deep; there is much more to this boy than what we see on the outside, and the way this is slowly revealed is just fabulous. I liked Tucker, but he wasn't my favorite. I think this is where Cynthia Hand is so expert: I didn't fall in love with Tucker immediately. In fact, I'm not sure I ever did. This slow buildup of the relationship is a welcome departure from all the insta-love novels that are out there now.

The other characters are not typical at all, but rather exhibit depth that is unexpected. As the plot gets more complex, so do the players, which makes for such a great read. It was extremely well-paced. And the ending was a great lead-in for the sequel without being one of those angst-ridden cliffhangers. In fact, the lack of angst in this story was probably the best thing about it.

My only problems with this story are as I said above - philosophical and actually very minor. And here's where I'm going to make a lot of people mad, so let me preface it by saying that this story is fiction and as such can take whatever liberties it likes. I thoroughly enjoyed it despite my faith-based differences in doctrine.

Having said that, here's what I think: this story basically ignored God. They danced around Him a bit, but all things considered, they left Him out. They talked a lot about goodness and lofty ideals, but they essentially ignored God. While I loved all the history surrounding angels, I think the most important thing was a big miss: Angels serve God and are His messengers and soldiers. And then there's the issue of "glory." In the Bible, Moses came down off the mountain where he got the 10 commandments, and his face shone with a reflection of God's presence. He actually had to wear a veil so as to not blind the Israelites. What this book calls "glory" is actually a reflection of God's personage, not some inherent thing occurring in an angel (or part-angel). So again, skirting the issue of the Almighty kind of bugs me.

Regardless, this is a great story about teenagers that should not be missed. Each person is unique in abilities, talents, skills, intelligence. This story illustrates that beautifully against a fascinating backdrop.

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