Earth is in trouble. The dark forces of the Fallen are slowly taking control of the farthest corners of the globe, endangering all of mankind. Finally, Heaven has no choice but to intervene - and that's how Bethany finds herself in the sleepy little town of Venus Cove, alongside her older, more experienced siblings: the warrior Gabriel and the healer Ivy. Bethany is determined to prove herself on her first mission to earth...but plans can change in the blink of an eye when human emotions are involved. Beth learns this lesson the hard way when she meets sweet and friendly school captain Xavier Woods. It goes against all the laws of Heaven for an angel to love a mortal, but try telling that to a very human heart. As the demons of the netherworld wreak havoc on Venus Cove, Bethany is torn between her divine duty and her forbidden love for Xavier. Time is running out - the innocent are dying, and now one of the dark ones has set his sights on Beth.
Halo by Alexandra Adornetto tells the intriguing tale of the battle between light and darkness, with moments of creativity and great imagery, but the characters and relationships hold the novel back from realizing its potential. The narrative begins with a breathy, ethereal tone that fits perfectly with the divine theme of the novel and the trio of angels each possess a certain allure that draws the reader into their story. Bethany is sweet, cute and spunky compared to the ancient sagacity of her two elder "siblings," though her mental voice does have a cadence that evokes scenes of the past. Ivy is a sweetheart, the classic older sister, and readers will love her instantly. On the other hand, it takes a while to warm up to Gabe, who comes across as rather harsh and cold in the beginning of the novel. Thankfully, over time, he relaxes and allows his sympathy for others to shine through, making him a more compelling presence in the story. Then, of course, there's the hero of the tale - a mortal boy named Xavier, to whom Bethany can't help but be drawn, despite the strict divine laws against such a collision of worlds.
After a promising start, the narrative lapses into cliches and stereotypes. Xavier is open and warm, but eventually he begins to seem almost too perfect with his scripted lines and golden boy persona. Xavier's over-protectiveness toward Bethany was unbearably frustrating. Their relationship is completely imbalanced: she's an angel, and yet Gabe and Ivy have (human) Xavier babysitting her like an infant. It's hard to relate to or sympathize with such a fragile and insecure heroine. Fortunately, it is around this time that the villain enters the scene and becomes the most captivating character in the novel, blending a smoldering mystique with a distinct sense of foreboding. (That's all I can say without giving away spoilers.) Overall, the dialogue and relationships in the novel were too contrived and melodramatic to be truly engaging, but the battle between Heaven and Hell keeps the narrative moving forward and leaves the reader wondering how this story of free will and the fate of mankind will ultimately end in the upcoming sequels Hades and Heaven.
Disclosure: I won an ARC of this novel from a contest. This did not affect my review in any way.