Wednesday, 15 September 2010

Book Review: Halo by Alexandra Adornetto.


Product details:
Publisher: Feiwel & Friends.
Hardcover, 496 pages.
Release date: August 31st 2010.
Ages: 12+
Rating: 2 out of 5.
Source: Received from publisher for review.

Nothing much happens in the sleepy town of Venus Cove. But everything changes when three angels are sent from heaven to protect the town against the gathering forces of darkness: Gabriel, the warrior; Ivy, the healer; and Bethany, a teenage girl who is the least experienced of the trio. They work hard to conceal their true identity and, most of all, their wings. But the mission is threatened when the youngest angel, Bethany, is sent to high school and falls in love with the handsome school captain, Xavier Woods. Will she defy the laws of Heaven by loving him? Things come to a head when the angels realize they are not the only supernatural power in Venus Cove. There′s a new kid in town and he′s charming, seductive and deadly. Worst of all, he′s after Beth.

Halo by Alexandra Adornetto has been one of my most anticipated books of the year. Just like everybody else, I fell in love with it's beautiful cover way back, and I am  a fan of the angel theme that's so popular in Young Adult fiction at the moment. Unfortunately, neither the beautiful cover or popular subject matter could save this book for me. I found Halo to be very slow moving, it's prose contrived, and it's characters unappealing. I really wanted to love this one, but honestly, I found it a struggle to get through at times, and I have to say that the thoughts and actions of the main character, Bethany, really annoyed me.

I felt that that Halo had a lot of potential – the summary sounds great, right? Three angels are sent from heaven to protect a sleepy seaside town from the impending danger which threatens it. Evil is at large, and it's up to Gabriel, Ivy and Bethany to save the day. So far, so good. The problem then, is that very little, beyond character development, happens for the first three hundred pages of the book. I've read books like this before where the focus is on the characters rather than major plot development and lots of action, and that's usually okay with me. Regular readers will know that I am a big fan of character driven novels. The only problem here is that I couldn't connect to any of the characters in this book.

Gabriel and Ivy live up to their angel status. They are pure and good and pretty one-dimensional for it. Beth, the youngest angel, is sweet, if a little na├»ve. I had started to warm to her, but that all changed when Xavier Woods, Beth's love interest and all round hottie, made his entrance. I am such a fan of romances in Young Adult literature, but this one had me tearing my hair out!  Xavier is a likeable guy, and Beth quickly falls for him. Unfortunately as soon as Xavier and Beth become an item, Beth loses the inability to think for herself and acts very much like a clueless damsel in distress who needs her big hunk of a man to protect her at all times. (If you thought Bella Swan was needy and clingy, I can promise you she has nothing on Bethany Church!) Xavier is happy to play the part, and transforms from a cool, laid-back guy into Bethany's ultimate saviour and protector. He answers for Beth, decides who she should talk to, and even has an opinion on when she should eat. Um, hello?! Furthermore, Xavier is from a very religious family, and it is implied that his mother disapproved of his ex-girlfriend because her parents were divorced, and she no longer talked to her dad. I felt that some of the opinions expressed in this book were quite preachy. It's a book about angels that adopts a holier-than-thou attitude at times. The tone of the book is very conservative, and while it's quite suitable for younger readers as Beth and Xavier's relationship doesn't extend beyond chaste kisses, hand holding and study dates, I really don't think that Beth is the best role model for teenage girls. She simply does not have a mind of her own, and cannot function without her man.

If it sounds like I'm dedicating far too much of this review to the relationship between Beth and Xavier, that's because it dominates the book. The intended evil threat, when it happens more than half-way through the book is predictable, and quickly dealt with. I also feel that the book was too long at almost five hundred pages. Adornetto's writing style is very descriptive, and there are some nicely written, if overdone, passages in the book, but overall I felt Halo could have been more concise. I've seen a lot of positive reviews for this book, so you might love it, but obviously it wasn't for me. I think I'll be sticking to those edgy fallen angels from now on. Much more my style!

8 comments :

  1. Thanks for your review. Now I've read one good review and one bad. Hard to tell. I'm in the minority and I actually don't like the cover.
    Alison Can Read

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  2. Thanks for the review. I don;t care for preachy books or one dimensional characters so I think I will be skipping this one.

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  3. Shame it didnt live up to your expectations :(
    I still want to read it though

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  4. >> If you thought Bella Swan was needy and clingy, I can promise you she has nothing on Bethany Church! >> Oh man, the fact that you said this has now made me decide to not read this.

    There's nothing more that I despise than a character who decides to toss out her spine and lose the ability to think for herself the moment she falls in love. Great, thoughtful review Leanna and as much as I love this cover, I think I'll be giving this one a skip.

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  5. Great review. I had been eyeing this one off in the bookstore (I admit the cover suckered me too) but was unsure whether to invest in it. Now I think I'll save my money. I really can't stand spineless heroines.

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  6. OMG! Great review. We had the same EXACT opinions. I love that you pointed out some of the same flaws, because I was starting to think it was just me. I was bummed that this book was a disappointment, because I, too, was super excited for it! I like the edgy angels better. I am psyched for Crescendo and Torment!

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  7. Thank you for this honest and justified review! I have this one on my shelf now and am working up my nerve to dive in.

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  8. Don't judge a book by it's cover...someone should've told me that.

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