Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Jana Reviews "Halo" by Alexandra Adornetto



Title and Author: Halo, by Alexandra Adornetto

Publishing Info: August 31, 2010, by Feiwel and Friends

How I Got This Book: Birthday present.

Why I read this book: The cover sucked me in, and the story sounded like something I’d enjoy.

Stars: 1




I had high hopes for this book. The cover is one of the prettiest I’ve seen in a long time (Really. Who could say no to that cover?), and the story sounded like something I’d love to read. I like stories with angels and romance. This book just didn’t do it for me, though, and parts of it really annoyed me. Here’s the summary from the back of the book.

 “Three angels – Gabriel, the warrior; Ivy, the healer; and Bethany, the youngest and most human – are sent by Heaven to bring good to a world falling under the influence of darkness. They must work hard to conceal their luminous glow, superhuman powers, and, most dangerous of all, their wings, all the while avoiding all human attachments.


Then Bethany meets Xavier Woods, and neither of them is able to resist the attraction between them. Gabriel and Ivy do everything in their power to intervene, but the bond between Xavier and Bethany seems too strong.
The angel’s mission is urgent, and dark forces are threatening. Will love ruin Bethany or save her?”


I was expecting these amazingly perfect angels coming down from Heaven to save a deteriorating world. I thought it would be full of action, excitement, forbidden love, and suspense. Was it? Not really. The story didn’t even really pick up until about page 370. This is a 500-page book. Let me list off some of my main complaints that made this book so hard to finish.  I must warn you, this might be the harshest of all my reviews. I feel really bad about it… but I just can’t go without saying this!

1. The writing. Oh dear. Talk about purple prose. There was more flowery writing in this book than actual dialogue! And it did nothing for the plot. Things are described multiple ways and then compared to something else countless numbers of times: "That was the effect he had on me--an explosion of happiness in my chest, scattering like little beads and making my whole body shiver and tingle." Or… “Xavier's eyes are turquoise and almond shaped, like twin pools of clear blue ocean.” Every time Xavier’s eyes were mentioned, they were turquoise. The author could come up with nothing else to describe them. Yes, we get it. And his hair was always nutmeg. ALWAYS. Hey, did you know Xavier’s hair color is nutmeg? Oh, by the way… Xavier has nutmeg hair. And he’s hot. Really hot. If you forget, that’s ok. You’ll be told again really soon. At least 3-4 times a chapter, in fact.

Pages were devoted to descriptions of interiors, or places, or outfits, or feelings, or people that didn’t contribute to the plot at all. I'd read some long, overdone description of some nameless character, and then they are never mentioned again! So why should I care about them? I was getting so tired of it. An Amazon reviewer said it best when she mentioned that the plot takes a back seat to the overwritten details and descriptions. Did I mention Xavier’s really hot?

2. Bethany’s “brother” is Gabriel, the archangel. Her sister is a seraph.  Why are such powerful angels sent to a sleepy little town called Venus Cove, where nothing bad is happening? I would think they’d be sent to a war zone or a place with extreme poverty, but no. They get sent to a place where more volunteers are needed to serve at the local soup kitchens. There was no possible way to write in any exciting encounters against evil.

Bethany would offend all actual angels, in my opinion. She’s petty, childish, shallow, and complains about her job in Heaven. Gabriel and Ivy walk around acting very superior and stuck-up—much different than I would expect messengers from God to act. AND… these angels are so dumb! The villain of the story is painfully described to a tee and fits perfectly into the category of “evil”. Every reader in the world knew he was bad before the angels did. A 3-year-old would get it.  It wasn’t until he started doing awful things that the light bulb turned on and they were like, “Oh, I think he’s bad.” Duh! Luckily this is not what real angels are like, because we’d be in trouble if they were.

3. Don’t fall into the plot holes. In the book, angels are described as having no family and not being able to understand human emotions. So why are Gabriel and Ivy referred to as Bethany’s siblings? Gabriel says love is forbidden. He also says that angels don’t feel the way humans do. So… the fact that Bethany is so in love with Xavier makes me question the entire premise of the book.

4. The love between Xavier and Bethany is more obsessive than that of Edward and Bella. I know, right? Is that even possible? Must be because he’s so hot. I did mention that, right? Bethany is willing to turn her back on Heaven for him! That seems really unhealthy, considering it took only a week or two for this crazy, never-ending, undying love to develop. There was no build-up to the love story. They saw each other, he ran into her on purpose a few times, he tells her he likes her, and BOOM. A full-on love explosion happens, and they both go nuts. I didn’t believe it at all, and it really sounded like some little girl’s daydream. And oh my, protectiveness! Xavier actually force-fed a protein bar (airplane noises and all) to Bethany when she wasn’t hungry when he thought she should be.  He compared her to glass and would not let her carry her books. I wanted to gag.

5. Halo is a Twilight knock-off. Vampires have been changed to angels, and the girl is now the supernatural one instead of the guy. The two meet in high school, she fights her feelings for him because the two of them shouldn’t be, then the whirlwind romance happens, she tells him her dark secret after hardly knowing him at all, he is taken in to her family as a trusted ally, the angels are the hottest breed of life known to man, etc. Instead of sparkling, the angels glow. Xavier saves Bethany from a gang of guys who want sex from her. Bethany even takes the train in to the city (Port Circe) to search for prom dresses, but found nothing she liked. Can we just call it Port Angeles, call Bethany Bella, and move on?

6. It was SO preachy! A religion can be written without being preached. This book is laced with mini-sermons and lectures, and should have been marketed as a Christian romance. Readers deserve to know if they’re about to be preached to for the entire book. I have nothing against Christian fiction; I just don’t read it (not because I’m not a Christian, but because there are so many different variations of Christianity and I frequently find things that rub me the wrong way, or teachings I don’t believe in). I understand this is fiction, but I was downright offended by some of the things she said about angels, God, etc. I have a hard time with authors taking liberties with spiritual/gospel-related subject matter. Commercialized Christianity. Not digging it. I hear the Devil himself is referred to as “Big Daddy” in book 2? Oh my. Gag me with a spoon.

7.  The story moved SO slowly. While reading this, I was in the process of painting my living room. I would choose to paint over taking a break to read. Watching paint dry was more entertaining. Now THAT’S saying something.

I guess I should have expected nothing more than I got as soon as I read a quote by BeyoncĂ© on the introductory page of the book. Yes… a lyric from the song, you guessed it! HALO (Baby I can see your halo/you know you're my saving grace.). How creative. To make matters worse, it was paired with a quote from “Romeo and Juliet.” Sorry, but BeyoncĂ© and Shakespeare don’t go together. I’m having a hard time understanding why this book got a deal. I enjoyed the idea, but not the execution. And I feel bad for the graphic designer who had to waste their beautiful design on such a lackluster book. This is the first book in a trilogy, and I have no interest in reading the other two.

And on that note… Xavier. He’s, like, really hot.

So, have any of you read Halo? Did you like it, or did you feel the same way I did?



31 comments :

  1. I'm never reading this for all the reasons you described here why it's bad. But, I had already made that decision before reading your review. It's good to know it's still really bad, though.

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  2. I have been nodding along to everything you said in your review! I gave this book 2,5 stars, but I'm not sure why, because it was BAD! I think I was nicer a year ago ;)
    But really, did you know Xavier is like, really hot?
    The only thing that happened in this book was Bethany telling us Xavier is hot and him being weirdly overprotective. Which doesn't make sense, she's a higher being...
    Bethany certainly had her too stupid to live moments, especially about the villain. He had this big neon sign over his head that said "LOOK HERE! I'M THE BAD GUY!!" and she never noticed...
    And lol on the rather watching paint dry! :D That's pretty bad!
    Such a waste of a beautiful cover!

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  4. Okay, this book is on my (very long) to-read list...it was one of my last choices anyway, but after this review I reeeaaally don't even want to bother. I'm like you, I hate purple prose...too much description gives me random fits of narcolepsy.
    While I liked Twilight (the book), I really don't want to read a copycat of it. And, like you, I couldn't deal with the preachy part - for much the same reasons as you can't.
    I'm glad I read this review, it saves me from wasting time that could be spent reading something better!

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  5. Oh my goodness... I was agreeing with everything you said! At least you got this book for free. I paid for it {and regret it}. Waste of money and time reading it!

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  6. I love the cover but after many not so great reviews, I'm trying not to pick it up. Thanks for your honest review!

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  7. Oh gosh, that sounds terrible! I hate books that always go on and on describing their characters. It's like, "we get it! He's gorgeous and flawless, etc. etc." I think that's part of the reason I lost interest in Twilight... :P

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  8. I just had something written out and I closed it by accident, don't you hate that. Anyway so I read this one, and I even gave the second one a try thinking it would be better. So it was really hard to get through both books. The relationship was really obsessive. Did I think he was hot no, and I don't think anyone is hot enough to turn back on yourself but apparently to her he is. I don't know. I wouldn't read these again. Don't think I'd even recommend it. Are they more obsessed than edward and bella yes but the difference is e&b had a better story. This was just blah.

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  9. So I'm getting the moral of this story is Xavier is hot?

    I wouldn't of read this to begin with as I'm not a fan of the angel-romance combination, but after reading this I'm not even going to look twice at it!

    I feel really sorry for the author, especially when it comes to a commitment of writing a novel at that age, that impresses me, but I was thinking Twilight before you even mentioned it and I don't think the reading world needs another one of those.

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  10. I recently read this book and I feel the same way. It was a lot like Twilight and I even mentioned it in my review. This was a hard book to get through for me as well. I kept waiting on something to happen. I didn't really like Bethany either. I agree with every point you made.

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  11. I reviewed the book back in July and felt pretty much the same way. I just DNF'd it. ANd accompanied my opinions with Supernatural goodness.

    http://www.bitemybooks.com/2011/07/halo-by-alexandra-adornetto.html

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  12. I really disliked this book too. I don't often give a book 1 star but I did with this one. I think what really irked me the most about this book was the constant describing of how beautiful Bethany and Xavier were. There was a point in the story when it was at the height of tension and Bethany had to go and talk about how gorgeous Xavier was. I mean, really? That is so unnecessary!

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  13. Oh wow. I had heard this one wasn't that great, and after reading your review I'm sure I would totally agree with you. I'm glad I never picked this one up. It's books like this that made me be completely anti-paranormal for so long. Thankfully there are some good examples out there, but 'Halo' doesn't seem to be one of them.

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  14. I love this review!!!!! Too funny! I have this book--bought it for the cover--- an have yet to read it. I like Twilight so maybe i will like this one???? Or maybe I will just let it stay on my shelf looking pretty :)

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  15. AW! I thought this book would be good, I had it on my TBR list, but I'm not sure now....

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  16. Yikes, that is one book that will NOT be going on my tbr list. Thanks for saving me the money and time.

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  18. I've heard discontented rumblings about this book but you've certainly given detailed and eloquent reasons why it didn't work for you. I'll definitely take your word for it!

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  19. I borrowed this book off a friend of mine and both of us didn't mind it lol. Then again, every review I've read about it since has said how much unnecessary description there is of everything so maybe I wasn't paying very close attention. I guess it probably helps that I'm not a reviewer or anything so I don't really notice most of the stuff other people hate about books. I did notice how preachy it was and that irritated me. I don't mind religion in books but I don't want it shoved down my throat.

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  20. I totally agree! This book was painful to read. The only reason I finished was because I was going to see her at an author signing. Such a sweetheart but omg, this book was like watching paint dry.

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  21. I got halfway through Halo and haven't picked it up in ages, so I didn't read all of your review because I do plan to finish it - I don't like leaving books unfinished - but at a glance I agree totally, it's a terrible book.

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  22. This is an awesome review! I couldn't even finish the book, no matters how many times I tried, so in the end I just gave up. I'm so sad though, that such an awesome cover was lost on a so disappointing book!

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  23. thanks for the honest review, i just started hades yesterday, i hadn't read halo though.

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  24. Thank you so much! I've been on the fence about reading this book, and this honest review made me decide to pass on it. Twilight with angels does not interest me in the least :)

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  25. I agree with every word of your review. This book killed me, so much so that I couldn't even bring myself to review it. The cover is really lovely though, such a shame.

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  26. HAHA! This is one of the most entertaining reviews I've ever read! Love it

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  27. Jana- hahaha, I'm still laughing. This is one of the best 'bad' reviews I've read. Definitely going to avoid this one. I might have picked it up for the cover, glad you saved me from that! The religious parts of it would have bothered me too, for the exact reasons it bothered you.

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  28. Now I know why I sing Beyonce's song every single time I see the cover! I am glad I didn't pick this one up. I would have been slightly irritated. When I want religious opinion, I go to church or read church literature, I don't particularly care for Christian fiction either.

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  29. I'd already decided that I didn't want to read this after seeing that the author wrote an article in which she implores girls to hold onto their virginity, because *adopts shrill tone* once it's gone, they will never get it back *heaves*, but this review has reassured me that I've made the right decision!

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  30. Wow... well written review. I like when someone can say exactly what they are thinking about a book. I do love the cover, but probably won't pick this book up.

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  31. I got this book on sale at B&N for $5. I hadn't heard of it before, but I was already in love with the cover, so I thought, "Why now?" BIGGEST. MISTAKE. EVER. This book was torture. I agree with all the points you outlined in your review- the writing was terrible, Bethany was so stupid it nearly killed me, and the insta-love was worse than any I've ever encountered. It was very clear that the author was young, inexperienced, and in great need of practice. And a rewrite. ;) Unfortunately, I haven't picked up another angel book since I attempted to read Halo, so I give this book credit for turning me away from a whole stinkin genre. Thanks, Adornetto.
    Great review, though! Thanks for letting all us other Halo haters to gush and bash here in the comments.
    ~Shelby
    http://gobsandgobsofbooks.blogspot.com/

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