I had originally gone to Barnes and Noble to get Eyes like Stars, but Unearthly kept drawing me back to it. As I said in my Maximum Ride review, I have a thing for angels. This one also had me interested because it actually had a scene in Idaho Falls, which I live rather close to. Shipping hadn't been kind to their stock though, and I'm really picky about the condition of the new books I buy, so I was digging through them when I saw one that had a sticker that said Signed Copy. I thought "Sweet!" even if it was a crummy book, I had a signed copy. I had never owned a signed copy of a book before, so it was already special.
I expected it to be a lame book, another Twilight rip-off where the girl is totally stupidly in love for some guy who makes it pretty obvious that he wants to kill her and strip the flesh from her bones before eating the marrow while watching Lifetime, because he's sensitive like that.
But it wasn't.
It's pretty good. It's not a book for everyone, though, but it's got a fairly wide audience. It's one of those books where I'd say "Interesting nothing" goes on. It's a good read in the same way that hiking or camping is fun. Some people think hiking and camping is fun, some don't. There's never really an in between.
I was also expecting it to be a paranormal story where the characters never actually use their powers. The Summoning is about a necromancer girl, but she maybe uses her abilities 3 times in the entire trilogy, for example. Or Hush Hush, where the love interest of the main character is an angel but really is only a jerk. When a character has superhuman abilities, I as the reader, expect them to be used. I don't want the characters to derp around until the final scene when they finally do something.
The main character in Unearthly is part angel and, while she doesn't use her wings as often as Max and the flock in Maximum Ride, she does use them a lot. There's also a lot of reveals that made me go "whoa." That's important to me, too, because I'm one of those people who's able to figure out the twist at the end of the book/movie/game only ten minutes into it. Cynthia Hand writes well, and manages to keep secrets well enough that you're actually surprised when it hits. The characters are believable, too, and the setting. Everything about it makes it one of those stories that you can believe would actually happen, and it's easy to imagine and immerse yourself in the story.
The sequel was just as good.
I actually waited past release day, tormenting myself, so that I could get a signed copy. Like before, it held a new moment for me. I've never been to a book signing before. Barnes and Noble was empty, but I had arrived early. But, when the time came, it's like a beeper went off and suddenly poof! A loooong line of people. Yikes. It was awesome though. I got to ask her how she managed to get an agent, which was a question that I was itching to ask her (it's since been made into a FAQ answer on her blog.) I told her a bit about my own writing adventures and she signed my book. I was expecting just her name but boom. Awesome. Every time I picked that book up I would open it to the signed page and smile like an idiot. I think that happened for two whole weeks.
She also gave me the courage to get published.
The very next day, after getting a signed copy, I started querying agents and organizing my manuscript for Dusted. I only got one response from a single agent, a rejection, and the rest never replied back. Still, I took one huge step forward, one that I may never have taken without Cynthia Hand and I think, in a large way, it's because of her that I'm published now.
And she has no idea who I am.
I'll definitely be there for the third and final book in the Unearthly series. It will be coming out January of next year. If you start the first one now you'll be ready and hyped up for it, too. At least check it out because Cynthia Hand is awesome.
You can read her blog, as well as get information about her books, here: http://www.cynthiahand.blogspot.com/