Hades by Alexandra Adornetto

I hated the first book in this series, and my optimism in picking up the second one anyway was unrewarded. My hope for this book was that Beth’s saintliness would be tainted, that she’d come down to earth and show more complexity, but that hope went unfulfilled. She’s as boringly angelic as ever. At one point I was hoping for a revolution in heaven and hell a la His Dark Materials, but no such luck. This series is much too conservative for that.

The very worst thing about this book was the sentence-level writing. This might be the wordiest prose I’ve ever read. The overwhelming majority of sentences is bogged down in superfluous description that adds nothing to plot, characterization, or atmosphere. Mostly, it’s a bunch of unnecessary adjectives and adjective phrases reminding you how hot all the characters are. I really wish Adornetto had gone to a writing workshop with a truly brutal teacher who had taught her how to edit this stuff out. I couldn’t help editing in my head as I was listening to the audiobook; it was a game I played with myself to help me pay attention. The book would have been half the length and half as painful to read without this flowery style. I’d add quotes to illustrate how bad it is, but I just can’t bring myself to pick up the book again.

Other offenses:

  • It’s a basic damsel-in-distress plot with a Scarpia Ultimatum that ends with an eighteen-year-old proposing marriage.
  • An angel and a demon have a debate about the purpose of sex, and they say exactly what the Christian right wing would expect them to say.
  • The presentation of heaven and hell is one without much room for God’s infinite mercy and forgiveness.
  • The villain got halfway humanized, then reverted to form, when it would have been so much more interesting to finish humanizing him.
  • It’s Twilight for the Christian set, without the sexual spark that made Twilight viscerally compelling, and with even worse prose (which is really saying something).

This book ended with the most blatant cliffhanger ever, an overly transparent grab for audience attention. I’m not going to fall for it this time. I gave this series a second chance, but it won’t get a third.


7 thoughts on “Hades

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