Source: ARC from Feiwel and Friends
Grade: 3 stars out of 5
Bethany along with her sister Ivy and her brother Gabriel are sent from Heaven to the small town of Venus Core. It is their job to counteract the negativity, evil, and chaos in Venus Core that seemed to have increased over the years. However, both Gabriel and Ivy has had century’s worth of experience as a human and developed a more stoic, detached approach to the townspeople. Beth, on the other hand, is new to the confinements of the environment and its strange sights, textures, and tastes, becoming easily attached to companionship as well as relationships.Imagine a hatchling you are not allowed to dote on, but merely allowed to observe. You witness its naivety, its all consuming thoughts, and its curiosity. You will feel confused, irritated, and annoyed by this hatching, but it is young so a lot can be forgiven. This what I feel towards Bethany. Halo is the life of the hatchling just experiencing life and its mundane (to us at least) affairs. Alexandra Adornetto goes over the beyond when writing each scene, scrutinizing every detail. Like light, it shines throughout the room creating a fresh experience.
Xavier has faced a great deal of hardship over the past years leaving him an emotional barrier that cannot be pierced despite the many girls who tried. On the day Beth and Xavier meet at the beach, neither can get the other out of their mind. Beth starts to loose focus on her mission and plans to risk it all. But there’s an even bigger risk lurking in the shadows.
One thing that Halo had me most considered about was the religion. Religion is not my forte and it was something that I was told to be prominent in Halo. Thankfully it was not to my relief. (Then again I was expecting the discussion of Christianity and God to be forced down my throat. But there is 2 pages where it takes of God that I felt were awkwardly placed.) Halo is a read for the romantics at heart; for those who enjoy the fight for love in a forbidden match. It is a novel about character development and love rather than the action and fight scenes that some might be expecting. Halo deals with raw emotions of love and confusion of young love at that.
However there is quite a bit of editing that Halo needs. For one thing this is a hefty novel, reaching almost to 500 pages with a great chunk of it on the development of love. The pacing of the novel is fairly slow as one might associate long novels with, but the ending was anticlimactic. For all the details Adornetto had written within the first two-thirds of the novel, she lacked the strong emotional battle ground I was hoping for. It was also really, really, really cheesy.
For another thing, Adornetto does not do well with dropping subtle hints or foreshadowing of any kind. She attempts to foreshadow scenes, but that it just spoils everything. (The biggest being on page 257 in the ARC for those who have read the book.) I am also curious about tenses: everything is written in past tense so I wonder where Beth is now. Perhaps this is something we find out in the last installment of the series. There is also the feather that Beth finds in the car something that is brought up only towards the end. It is never fully explained so I wonder if it will play a much bigger role in the later installment or just be forgotten.
In fact there is a lot left to be explained in the sequel: Molly, Beth’s friend; Limbo and Hell; the higher power above who cleared everything.
Then there are the characters. Adornetto pushes some stereotypes to the extreme such as the ‘gossiping bimbos’: “‘I don’t think so, Bethie.” Taylah laughed. “Everybody knows the Middle East is in Africa.”’—page 125 of ARC. There is also an inconsistency that I am confused about. Gabriel is deemed as the cook in the family and yet Ivy “had gone to a good deal of trouble with the menu—she’d made an aromatic potato and leek soup followed by whole baked trout…” (229, ARC). And with no mention of Ivy picking up cooking as a habit I find this odd.
In all Halo was a straightforward romance novel that leaves plenty for the next novel to pick up. Again, romantics will love this novel. Realists (such as I) will want something more. Hopefully Hades will be action laded to please the savage need within me of the battle between good vs. evil.
For now I am going to leave you with a quote (it is slightly spoilish so you can highlight if interested): “There were two things I was now certain of: First, Jake Thorn knew about us; and second, he was dangerous” (396, ARC).
P.S. For those curious, there is a stanza of Beyoncé’s “Halo” in the novel. It is before the first chapter though. There is also an Edgar Allen Poe poem “Annabel Lee”, which I loved.
You can pre-order Halo and check out for yourself.