Three angels are sent down to bring good to the world: Gabriel, the warrior; Ivy, the healer; and Bethany, a teenage girl who is the least experienced of the trio. But she is the most human, and when she is romantically drawn to a mortal boy, the angels fear she will not be strong enough to save anyone—especially herself—from the Dark Forces.
Is love a great enough power against evil?–From Amazon
Halo is the first book in a trilogy by 18-year-old Australian author Alexandra Adornetto. In the series, a triad of angels must work, in human form, to save a small town from the forces of evil. One angel, Bethany, develops friendships and connections with humans she encounters in high school. Against the will of the other angels, she begins a romantic relationship with a mortal boy, Xavier. Throughout the book, Bethany experiences human sensations for the very first time. Reading Adornetto’s objective and detached descriptions of human customs was the most enjoyable part of the book for me. I was often impressed by how well she managed to capture the little things that would seem odd to someone from another realm of existence.
In other aspects, I was less impressed. I found myself thinking, “This is a great book for an 18-year-old author.” Then I wanted to smack myself. I would NEVER think, “This is a great book considering it was written by a 35-year-old.” I want a great book to be a great book, no matter how old the author. Adornetto is clearly talented, but I think the book still possesses a certain naivete that one would expect from somebody her age. I also think that her writing will improve considerably with a few more years of experience.
This book is really long, and it felt it. I don’t know if learning how to murder your literary darlings comes with maturity, but I think the novel could have used some editing and chopping. There was so much good material in here, but it drowned amongst the more mundane scenes. I don’t know why YA in general seems to be moving toward giant books, but I wish it would stop. So much of what I love about the genre has to do with brevity.
Beyond that, the romance between Bethany and Halo suffers from the usual over-attachment that has become the norm in YA paranormal romances. I won’t argue that teens sometimes fall in love very quickly and then spend a disproportionate amount of their lives thinking about each other, but I don’t understand how an angel–a supernatural and divine being who has been around a while–could depend so much on the protection of a human, teenage boy. Once Bethany falls in love, she becomes utterly weak. I wish I could take the relationship at face value and enjoy it for what it is, but I worry about the message teen girls keep getting pounded into them about dating. In fact, I worry far mar about that than I do about the depictions of drugs and drinking because I think there’s a psychological subtlety to the way romance is portrayed that is different from the relatively clear-cut depiction of substance use. Dependency to the point of powerlessness shouldn’t become normalized in humans or supernatural creatures.
I will now step off my soap box. If these kinds of things don’t bother you, then definitely pick up Halo and keep an eye out for the books that follow it in the trilogy. As I said before, I will be curious to see how Adornetto develops as a writer. I can definitely see her as a force to be reckoned with a few more years of life and writing under her belt.