Friday, February 18, 2011


by Cynthia Hand

In the beginning, there's a boy standing in the trees . . . .

Clara Gardner has recently learned that she's part angel. Having angel blood run through her veins not only makes her smarter, stronger, and faster than humans (a word, she realizes, that no longer applies to her), but it means she has a purpose, something she was put on this earth to do. Figuring out what that is, though, isn't easy.

Her visions of a raging forest fire and an alluring stranger lead her to a new school in a new town. When she meets Christian, who turns out to be the boy of her dreams (literally), everything seems to fall into place—and out of place at the same time. Because there's another guy, Tucker, who appeals to Clara's less angelic side.

As Clara tries to find her way in a world she no longer understands, she encounters unseen dangers and choices she never thought she'd have to make—between honesty and deceit, love and duty, good and evil. When the fire from her vision finally ignites, will Clara be ready to face her destiny? (description taken from

I have to be honest and say that I reviewed this as an audio book and it was not my favorite - in that format. This was an audio book that if I had picked it out myself, I probably would have stopped listening several chapters in and grabbed the physical book to read instead. I don't recommend the recorded version.

That being said, I really loved the storyline! Hand presents a well-researched new mythos for Nephilim, or as they are known here, Angelbloods. Clara is a Quartarius, or quarter angel, and has wings, can speak any language, and has a purpose. She also just wants to experience life as a normal girl sometimes. Balancing her angelic duties and her everyday life becomes a problem when what her heart and her head tell her conflicts. Clara suddenly has to wonder what will happen if she can't or doesn't fulfill her purpose.

I really liked Clara's family. Her mother and her brother, Jeremy, were both interesting characters with good relationships with Clara...and after the choices they all make at the end of this book, I am anxious to see what happens in Hallowed, which comes out next year.

It was also really cool that Clara got to meet another Angelblood. Someone that she could talk to, someone to compare notes with...there are a lot of books where the poor main character is just left floundering in the breeze...all alone, the sole one of their kind...I liked that she had a friend who knew exactly what she was going through.

I also have to tell lie. I think I lurve Tucker Avery...just a little. I don't want to give you all the details, but there is one scene in there that plays out almost word for word, action for action like a date my husband and I had over 10 years ago when we first started dating. I teared up a little bit and my heart skipped more than one beat. *grin* I will always love Cynthia Hand for that moment. :)

Full disclosure: Audio book received to review for AudioFile magazine
2011 Shifter Challenge title

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