Title: Halo (Book 1)
Author: Alexandra Adornetto
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 is a vivid, powerful, and meaningful novel that elicits so much emotion as well as forces the reader to contemplate the religious references made in the novel. Halo's atmospheric difference is perceivable in the contrasting environments of Bethany's house and out of it. Inside Bethany's house, there's almost always an unsettling tension and it embodies a perplexing, complicated mood. Outside, there's a sense of freedom and an impression of limitless possibilities.
Bethany's growth throughout Halo is palpable from her transformation. At the beginning, her personality is naive and afraid; always careful and observant, never forgetting that this is her first mission. But as she befriends other people and gets closer to Xavier, she begins to change. Her yearning to be with Xavier is relatable as Bethany reveals her vulnerabilities and fears as an angel. She becomes more assertive, permissive, and independent, but her true values are genuine and never change.
Despite his guarded exterior, Xavier emanates a very genuine and honest personality from the very beginning. He isn't the cliché hero-type, instead, he's an honorable person with a past that still haunts him. Most of the time, people define others based on their pasts; in this case, the characters make assumptions and form opinions of Xavier with regards to his past. His relationship with Bethany is developed and extremely romantic. Their intense connection is tangible with the way they act towards each other; both depend on each other equally. Their relationship is symbolically sublime and profound.
In Halo, the concept of differing between good and evil, and right and wrong is elaborately contemplated in different ways. Complete opposites such as heaven and hell, angels and demons, and light and dark, are re-introduced with religious connotations but without being preachy or assertive. The historical aspects in Halo are established in a non-pious, non-platonic way, making for a less religiously-biased read.
With new and old conceptualized ideas, fresh prose, and symbolic, vivid descriptions, Adornetto entices readers with contemporary and original characters and vivid imagery. Halo captures readers with the characters' magnetizing chemistry and the blend of both au courant and old-fashioned views of angels and love. A+ =)
The Bottom Line: Halo is a beautifully-woven tale that will definitely persuade readers to look forward to the next installment.
My reaction/enjoyment: 10/10
Total Score: 95/100 (A+)