Clara Gardner is just sixteen when she begins having visions. She’s been expecting it every since her mother explained her background to her when she was fourteen. That was when she first learned about angel-bloods. Her mother explained that all angel-bloods have a purpose in life, and they are all different. How they receive them however, is the same, they always come in the form of visions. Their blood makes them heal faster; they are better at dance and most sports; and they pick up languages quickly. They also have wings, invisible for the most part unless called forth. Clara’s mother is only half angel or Dimidius, and her father is human, so that makes both Clara and Jeffery quarter bloods or Quartarius.
As Clara’s visions increase, they show her somewhere in a wooded area, where all around there is fire, and in the midst of the clearing is a boy about her age. She only sees him from the back, but she is sure it is no one she knows. As she shares this with her mother, she describes the smell of smoke, the overwhelming feeling of sadness and that somehow she knows that she has to save him. Because it is her first vision, it is only a taste of her purpose which will get stronger as the time for her to act gets closer.
Both daugher and mother realize that what she has seen in her vision means they will have to leave California. The clarity of her vision gives them the information that they need; this vision, this purpose, is the reason that she was born. They will have to relocate, using the information gleaned from the vision to put them in the right place. She is not ready for that, and yet she knows there is no choice. Her family will be uprooted because of her vision; it will affect them all. Her younger brother Jeffrey, also angel-blood, has no say, they go where the purpose is.
Jackson Hole, Wyoming, is where her vision leads. They find a comfortable home and a great new school. As her power gets stronger, her hair begins to glow whenever she feels intense emotions. Because of the effect that has on most normal human beings, her mother helps her dye it red to dampen the glow. The red, however, mixes with the gold of her hair and becomes an orange color. Nothing they do will change the color so that is how she must present herself to her new school. Her brother fits in instantly and makes friends quickly. She however struggles, having to overcome the orange hair, but finally makes friends with two different girls in her various classes. Through it all her purpose becomes the focus, building and expanding, putting her at odds with both her new friends and her family.
Cynthia Hand puts together a wonderful insightful story, full of fun and danger. Her characters leap right off the page, with humor and human feelings. In Unearthly, she has put together a cast of characters, born with angel-blood, on earth for a purpose. She weaves together a story full of feelings and emotions. She has incorporated a unique form of lineage, mixed it with teenage angst and fears, coming up with a story sure to pull at your emotions.
She sprinkles in edgy characters, keeping the suspense strong, only hinting at their purpose and capabilities. As Clara tries to fulfill her purpose she is pulled, first by love and later by the visions, putting her at odds with her heritage. And through it all the danger pushes itself through, keeping the pace of the story moving quickly.
Will Clara make the right decisions, based off her visions and her purpose, and will she overcome the danger that is threaded through it all?
This is a charming story, written with the young adult in mind. It deals with friendships, and ideals, as well as making choices. The action is both suspenseful and fast paced keeping you reading till the very end. This is a great book for that young reader, but if you get it for that reason, take a chance and read it for yourself as well. It is fun and interesting, with just enough inherent danger to keep it interesting.