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. Then comes the brooding and popular new transfer, Jake Thorn... who just so happens to be in Bethany's class. Something about Jake seems to be hiding something darker, something more powerful than expected. That thing, and Xavier, distracts Bethany to a point that Gabriel and Ivy are concerned.
The angel’s mission is urgent, and dark forces are threatening. Will love ruin Bethany or save her? (from GoodReads)
When Halo was first released, I didn't really have an interest in reading it. But then I received a copy of Hades, which is the sequel, so I thought I might as well start from the beginning. Now I wish I hadn't even bothered.
Halo tries so hard to fit into the fantasy genre, and even adopts one of the newer paranormal creatures: angels. But it fails miserably. The book takes place from the point-of-view of Bethany, a young angel placed on Earth for the first time. She's with her brother and sister, but she is treated like a child and they're the parents. They tell her what to do and even keep secrets from her. Their mission is to promote goodwill and compassion through good works, such as knitting for the poor and visiting the elderly. Those things are great and all, but do we really need angels with actual powers to be doing the things humans can do? I'd want an angel to stop famines and wars and solve real problems.
However, Bethany totally ignores her heavenly mission by falling in love. Normally, I'd think this would be really interesting and would want to see how she reconciles duty with desire. But Bethany and Xavier's romance is one of the unhealthiest I've seen in YA literature. They are obsessed with each other, and Bethany can't even go a few hours without hearing his voice. She is constantly narrating about his physical appearance and Xavier spends time "protecting" Bethany by force feeding her granola bars. She's an angel! You'd think she'd be able to take care of herself.
I couldn't stand reading about their relationship, which made Halo pretty unbearable because their love is the centerpiece of the plot. At the end, an actual plot sorta shows up, but it's completely unsatisfying.
In addition to the twisted romance, Bethany was annoying to read about. She speaks very formally (this could be because she's an angel) and there were large sections of info-dump which were pretty boring. Bethany is constantly saying how she's perfect and comparing herself to the other teenage girls she goes to school with. She even says some sexist things, like how all teenage girls pray to be popular. Give me a break! I couldn't believe some of the things in Halo.
I would not recommend Halo, especially because it has one of the worst romances ever and it takes up the entire book. I feel obligated to read Hades because it's on my shelf but I don't know if I'll be able to get through it.
Rating: 3 out of 10.
FTC: borrowed from library.
2010/Feiwel & Friends/484 pages.