Sunday, March 20, 2011

Review Comparison: Unearthly by Cynthia Hand

Review Comparison: Unearthly

Review Comparison is a new feature I'm trying out where I am pulling out the pros and cons of the featured book mentioned in my review and other bloggers' reviews. Please let me know how you like this new feature and if you have any suggestions on how to make it better. I'm still playing around with the format.

Due to the overwhelming response (yay!) this Review Comparison is significantly longer than previous RC posts. 

Click for my original review: 

Unearthly by Cynthia Hand
Rating: 4 out of 5

The following bloggers kindly allowed me to include their reviews in this feature: 

Irresistible Reads: 5 out of 5 stars
My Precious: 5 out of 5 rings
Books for Company: 5 out of 5 hearts
Paranormal Indulgence: 4.5 out of 5
Bookworm 1858: 4 out of 5 stars
Small Review: 4 out of 5 stars
Logan E. Turner: 3 out of 5 stars

Please click on the links to read their full reviews!


Many reviewers entered Unearthly with low expectations but were pleasantly surprised. Clara is an overwhelmingly liked main character. Notable likes include: characterization, descriptive writing, engaging mystery, and unique angel mythology. The ending is a cliffhanger that frustrated most reviewers.

 ~Hype and Expectations~

  • “I wasn’t expecting to like this book…[assumed] insta-love with angels…but I was so wrong!” (Small Review)
  •  “Surprisingly I loved it!” (Irresistible Reads)
  • “I almost didn’t want to read this one…[but] this book rocked” (Looksie Lovetz)
  • “Wasn’t sold on reading this…[but] I couldn’t put it down!” (Milk and Cookies: Comfort Reading)
  • “So much more than I thought it would be” (Manda’s Movements)
  • “…came into this one with low expectations…I was pleasantly surprised” (One Librarian’s Book Reviews)
  • “I never expected to love this book so much…” (A Backwards Story)
  • Lived up to the hype (Books for Company)
  • Didn’t expect to like it because it’s an angel story, but enjoyed it (Ruby’s Reads)


  • Likable voice (Milk and Cookies: Comfort Reading)
  • Easy voice, normal girl, “Imperfect and unsure, but never angsty or whiny” (Small Review)
  • Refreshing, “I warmed to Clara immediately” (Daisy Chain Book Reviews)
  • “I love Clara…[she] comes off as completely normal” (Manda’s Movements)
  • Authentic, “Normal teenage girl…helped infuse a connection [with the reader]” (Paranormal Indulgence)
  • Smart, realistic, and “so human” (One Librarian’s Book Reviews)
  • Believable and likable (My Precious)
  • Likable, refreshing, relatable (Ruby’s Reads)
  • “Biggest bright spot was Clara’s characterization” (The Elliot Review)
  • “My favorite part of this book” Sweet, funny, believable, made smart choices (Irresistible Reads)
  • “Immediately likable… Easygoing, unpretentious, funny and believable” (Logan E. Turner)
  • Relatable (The Elliot Review)
  • Relatable, “Her characterization is so well-done” (A Backwards Story)
  • A “lovely character” (Books for Company)
  • “The type of girl you would like your daughters to be…” (Books Your Kids Will Love)
  • “Yet another female protagonist who underestimates her own beauty” (Logan E. Turner)
  • “Somewhat standard” (Sniffly Kitty)

  • “All of the characters commanded my attention” (Small Review)
  • “Fully developed personalities” (Small Review)
  • “Characters the reader grows to love, adore, and connect with” (Paranormal Indulgence)
  • “All the characters…seem like pieces of a puzzle that made the book whole” (Looksie Lovetz)
  • “The best thing about Unearthly is the character description…I felt like I knew everyone” (A Backwards Story)
  • “…all developed well,” distinct, real, “loved the relationships…especially between Clara and her mother” (Books for Company)
  •  “One or two superfluous characters that distracted from the plot…” (Logan E. Turner)


  • Love triangle isn’t annoying, different than the norm (Small Review)
  • The love triangle is “wonderful…subtle, it sneaks up on you, pulls you right in, and takes you on an emotional roller coaster of a ride!” (Daisy Chain Book Reviews)
  • [Love triangle] “delivers …in a way that stands out to me” (The Elliot Review)
  •  “Do not fear [the love triangle]” (Irresistible Reads)
  • “Yet another love triangle” (Logan E. Turner)
  • “I liked how [they] didn’t have this extreme connection” (Milk and Cookies: Comfort Reading)
  • “No instantaneous and eternal love” Instead developed “slower, sweeter, and definitely more believable” (One Librarian’s Book Reviews)
  •  “I’m pretty happy with how things ended on the love front…” (Manda’s Movements)
  • Follows Clara’s relationships with other so “the whole book is not about teenage romance” (One Librarian’s Book Reviews)
  • “Romance was surprising and healthy” (Books Your Kids Will Love)
  • Tucker ~swoons~, Christian was ok (Irresistible Reads)
  • “Screw Christian, I like Tucker” (Looksie Lovetz)
  • “Something about Christian irritated me” (Logan E. Turner)
  • “I am obsessed with Tucker” (A Backwards Story)
  • Christian is too perfect, Clara’s dates with Tucker are the best part (Sniffly Kitty’s Mostly Books)
  • “Just love everything about [Christian]…Tucker didn’t appeal to me at first …but I did grow to love [him] a lot” (The Elliot Review)
  • Found Tucker annoying (Bookworm 1858)
  • Two love interests are equally interesting, though…rooting for Team Tucker (Ruby’s Reads)


  • Flows well, “Didn’t feel the length at all” but “wish the first ¾ didn’t feel so meandering” (Small Review)
  • “Beginning was a bit slow” (One Librarian’s Book Reviews)
  • “Amazingly addictive” (Daisy Chain Book Reviews)
  • “I was totally engrossed in this book from start to finish!” (Daisy Chain Book Reviews)
  • Easy to read, “Before I knew it I had read 300 pages” (Irresistible Reads)
  • Flowed “kept me engaged in the story” (Looksie Lovetz)
  • Well written, fast paced, good twist (Milk and Cookies: Comfort Reading)
  • Fast paced, good descriptions that “put an image in my head” (Books for Company)
  • “I never found myself bored, only more enthralled…” (Manda’s Movements)
  • “Starts at a lazy pace…slowly building the characters and action” (My Precious)
  • Built a “strong desire to keep turning the pages…” (My Precious)
  • “Hand had me racing to the end…I really, really wanted to see the outcome…” (Ruby’s Reads)
  • Original plot (Irresistible Reads)
  •  “Felt there wasn’t much new being offered…wasn’t enough urgency” (Logan E. Turner)
  • Engaging, interesting, good but could have been great with tighter editing (Logan E. Turner)
  • Some parts seemed “contrived” (Sniffly Kitty’s Mostly Books)
  • “No pointless information…everything is key…” (Manda’s Movements)
  • Creative blend of contemporary and paranormal elements (The Elliot Review)
  •  “Hand’s writing style is gorgeous and draws readers right in” (A Backwards Story)
  •  “The mountain setting made for a beautiful backdrop” (Books Your Kids Will Love)
  • Evocative, “did an amazing job with descriptions…” (Bookworm 1858)

 ~Angel Mythology/Mystery~

  • “Intriguing and well-crafted mythology” (Small Review)
  • “Whole new take on angels” (Paranormal Indulgence)
  • “Most interesting angel concept I have read” (Irresistible Reads)
  • Unique mythology, “constantly keeps you thinking” (Books for Company)
  • Fascinating (My Precious)
  • “I want to know more about the rules governing angel behavior” (Bookworm 1858)
  • Intriguing, but “execution leaves something to be desired” (Sniffly Kitty’s Mostly Books)
  •  “All about maneuvering of the pieces…subtly enacted across the whole book” (Small Review)
  • Unique, great depth, fascinating (Daisy Chain Book Reviews)
  • “Lots of secrets to be explored and uncovered” (Daisy Chain Book Reviews)
  • “Insatiable yearning to bare all the mysteries inside” (Paranormal Indulgence)
  • Filled with mystery (Irresistible Reads)
  • Intrigue, mystery, and unanswered questions (A Backwards Story)
  • Well thought out and interesting, leaves the reader excited for book two (Books Your Kids Will Love)
  •  “Tantalizingly revealed” (Bookworm 1858)


  • Cliffhanger, “A part of me does wish I had waited until all of the books had been published” (Small Review)
  •  “I wasn’t too pleased…came a little too sudden…left fumbling and confused” (Paranormal Indulgence)
  • Intense…”I’m still a little confused” (Looksie Lovetz)
  • “Slightly annoyed that the book so obviously leads into a sequel” (Logan E. Turner)
  • “Gave the reader way more questions for the second book” (Milk and Cookies: Comfort Reading)
  • “It would have been nice if the story ended with a more definitive conclusion and some small sense of closure” (My Precious)
  •  “Unsatisfying cliffhanger” (Sniffly Kitty’s Mostly Books)
  • “A bit of a let-down” too vague, felt frustrated (One Librarian’s Book Reviews)
  •  “Less than anticipated…a letdown” (Bookworm 1858)
  • “No cliffhanger here…a few questions but it ends in the right place…” (Irresistible Reads)
  •  “Final enough to be satisfying” (Books Your Kids Will Love)

 Did you enjoy this post? 
Click on the button to the right to find more Review Comparisons! 


    1. I love helping you with these Review Comparisons! I can definitely see why they're so helpful, they certainly help me! Thanks, Smalls, for including me and PI! :D

    2. This is really cool! I also think this is super helpful :)

    3. Thanks for including my review. I love this feature-it's so great to see it broken down in segments and then to see a lot of different opinions like this. I also think it actually made me more excited about Unearthly-haha!

    4. I continue to be blown away by the amount of work you put into these comparisons. They're so helpful and so interesting. I'm glad that my thoughts were similar to the reviews.

    5. I think you did a great job with the review comparison. It is obvious that you put a lot of work into these posts. They are very helpful.

    6. I love these review comparisons. It seems most of felt the same way about Unearthly.

      Great job of putting it together and I am excited that you used my review :D

    7. l bow down to you!!
      This must take you AGESSS!!!
      Amazing, l love love these posts.

    8. I agree, your posts are so thought out and you clearly put a lot of effort into them for everyone else's benefit! I can't believe you don't accept blog awards, you actually deserve all of them!! :)

    9. I love how you do this! I may pick this book up now...we'll see... :)

    10. The Review Comparison idea is SO awesome - great way to find out what lots of reviewers think of a book when you're short on time! I really enjoyed this and will definitely hunt down Unearthly.

    11. I love this feature of yours! It's so cool to be able to see at a glance what so many different people thought of the same book. On this one, I have to laugh at the differences of opinion on the love triangle, with reviewers alternating between "I am obsessed with Tucker" and "Found Tucker annoying" Hahaha.

      Meta-reviews, for the win!

    12. This is brilliant - it must have taken you forever! I have to read Unearthly now! It's on my Wishlist this week!
      Awesome post!

    13. Love this review comparison - it's great to see what others thought too! Thanks for using my review. :) I really can't wait to read the next book in this series!

    14. wow, dude, this must have taken SO LONG to do! but it's awesome--the whole comparison thing.

    15. Fascinating comparison as always Smalls. I've spent most of the afternoon going through the links, most of which are broken, but were still easy to follow once I took out the extra stuff. I think it is interesting to read not only the praises but the negative impressions too. Thanks!

    16. Thanks for stopping by everyone! I'm so glad you're all enjoying this feature. On my end it's fascinating to read through all the reviews at once and see what things are mentioned over and over again and where we disagree (like the love triangle! Go Team Tucker!)

      It does take a while, especially this last time because so many people were beyond awesome and submitted their reviews. But it's so worth it. At first I was going to select only a few reviews and then add the rest as links, but I couldn't pick so I used them all! I looked like a really dedicated worker at work :P Papers spread across my desk, notes, I had highlighters and everything.

      Missie! Gah, THANK YOU!! It wasn't actually me that posted this review but my tiny zombie counterpart who insisted on posting this at 12:30 last night when I should have been sleeping! And of course the only links that worked were for my own review! I swear that wasn't some evil plan of mine. :) The links should all work now.

    17. Thanks for including my review in your comparison! I really, really like this feature. If I never read the book, I'd love seeing all of the reviews clumped together. If people are pretty unanimous on certain points such as characterization, that says something about the author--and the work itself. With a book like Unearthly, everyone says they didn't think they'd like it/etc, esp. if they're not big on the angel books. A review like this would make me take notice!

      I hope to see you do more of these. Such fun! :)

    18. Wow, really well done! It seems like this would've taken you a really long time to put together.

      I am very much looking forward to reading this one now. Mainly for the unique angel mythology and the mystery.

    19. Okay, so this meme totally rocks!

      I have been wanting this book for pretty much forever but I just haven't gotten around to getting it yet... And after reading all of this amazingness, well, I had better get my butt in gear since I am clearly missing out (well, except for the cliffhanger ending... ;) )!

    20. Super cool! I love seeing all of these thoughts in one place. You rock!

    21. This is such a detailed comparison post. Wow! Super cool so many bloggers were interested in taking part. Thank you for using my review and especially for the shout out for my Reader's Circle Post. I look forward to reading many more of these comparison posts in the future.

    22. Ann, I hope it’s helpful!

      A Backwards Story, You’re welcome! Thanks for letting me include your review. Your observations are exactly what I was hoping to accomplish with this feature. I will definitely be keeping up with this feature.

      Aylee, Thanks! This one did take a while. I hope you enjoy Unearthly :)

      Avery, I’m happy you like it! Yes, the cliffhanger ending is the only reason you might want to wait, but definitely do read it at some point!

      Logan, Thanks! You rock too for letting me include your review :) It was nice having your review and a few others to provide some balance.

      Gina, I know! I was shocked by how many submissions I got, and thank you for letting me include your review :) I love your Reader’s Circle posts!

    23. Are you planning to read The Iron Witch? If so, it would be awesome to see a comparison on it. I'm so undecided about whether or not to read it because all of the reviews are mixed!

    24. A Backwards Story, I’m on the fence about that one myself. If I do read it, I’ll be sure to do a RC post for it.

    25. I love this review comparison you are doing in your site. It is helpful in choosing my next book to read and buy. I'll be coming back here for sure. Thanks!

    26. Blackplume, I’m so glad you find it helpful! I hope you enjoy your time here :)


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