Hades: Alexandra Adornetto

Other reviews have mentioned it, but I will say it again Hades is not hell.  Hades is the Greek god of the underworld, Adornetto.  Jesus, do a Google search.

 

I hated Halo and I vowed to stay away from any of the sequels it spawned.  But Hades was just sitting there on my library’s shelf laughing at me.  Plus, I think part of becoming a good writer is occasionally reading a shit book and Hades easily filled in that category for me.

General Summary: Bethany is stupid enough to get on a motorcycle with Jake Thorn and end up in hell. The rest of the book is about her moping/some weirdo version of the Persephone myth that makes me want to punch someone due to Bethany’s twisted values.

Review:

Let’s start off by being nice.  Because it’s always good to be nice right?  Unlike Halo. Hades actually had a plot.  Sort of.  Things actually happen in Hades.  Grant it, the plot is still pretty flimsy but it’s there.

Okay, now that’s the only good thing I have to say about this piece of shit.  I have read a lot of awful books in the day, but nothing has offended me quite like Hades (at least as of recently).  It not only suffers from awful characterization, pacing, plot holes, poor writing, but it offended me several times personally as well due to the arcane values it preaches.

Let’s start talking about the plot.  As I said we actually have one here but it is paced horribly.  This book could’ve easily been at least a hundred and fifty pages shorter.  Adornetto tends to over describe (even bit characters are described to a T) and when things actually did happen they happened so rapidly I felt like I had whiplash.   Plus, did I mention that it seems like all the conflicts in this book are resolved ridiculously easy with little to no struggle.  This would be one thing if Adornetto didn’t spend three hundred pages telling the audience how impossible it would be for Gabriel and the gang to get Bethie out of hell.

Speaking of Gabriel and the gang, they’re insufferable as ever.  There was little character development in this installment.  Even moments where Adornetto could’ve easily done some character exploration-with the whole Molly crush on Gabriel scene- she didn’t.  I thought, hmm, this is a place where maybe Bethany can think about her poor decision making.  But nope, Adornetto just uses this place to reconfirm the obvious: that Bethany is a special snowflake.

Let me be frank authors, no one likes reading about a special snowflake.  No one.  Good characters have flaws.  Take some of my favorite characters in YA literature: Mimi Force, Mia Thermopolis, and Maggie Quinn.  All these girls are screwed up a little bit.  Mimi can be a bitch, Mia can be neurotic, and Maggie can be stubborn as hell.  And the rest of the characters of the book note this and you know what….I like these characters a lot better than Bethany.  This really was a moment for you to make your character, who isn’t very likable despite what you think, seem a little bit more relatable.  Maybe if Bethany was a little bit more realtiable I wouldn’t be rooting for Big Daddy to roast her.

Yeah, Big Daddy did I mention that’s what they call freaking Lucifer.  I kid you not.  I kept thinking of that character in Cat on the Hot Tin Roof played by Burl Ives until Adornetto described the big bad as looking like Colonel Sanders.  I kid you not.

Oh, and how can one forget about the inconsistencies with the plot.  Remember how poor wittle Bethie was a vegetarian in the first book…well, she is no longer anymore.  She likes ribs because Xavier (excuse me huggie bear) likes them.
Essentially her likes and dislikes are based on his.
No, but we’re constantly told indiscreetly by Adornetto that being codependent on each other in a relationship is healthy.  Even though Cosmo and other reasonable people would disagree.
Ah, codependency it’s what my parents always wanted for me to be dependent on someone else and have no views of my own…not.
But it’s twue love you might say
Individuality is important in a relationship. Having no separation whatsoever can twist a relationship into becoming unhealthy.  And it wasn’t only that codependency was being celebrated in the book that bothered me, but the fact that the book told us what sort of love was real and what sort of love wasn’t real.
To put it simply one of the characters has a unrequited crush on another character in the book.   And we are told that, that love that that character feels isn’t real.
What sort of bull shit is that?
I get that unrequited love isn’t shared between both parties, but that doesn’t change ones feelings for the other.  Look at Lily and Snape in the Harry Potter series if you need any further example about how powerful unrequited love can be.
It wasn’t only the talk about love that bothered me.  There were subliminal messages that Adornetto put in her writing that offended me from a religious purpose as well.  Specifically, there was a priest in hell performing a demonic ceremony, whose name was Father Benedict, who was put there because he failed to protect the innocent.
We can all see what Adornetto is alluding to.  The Catholic sex scandals.  And honestly, when I read this part I wanted to hurt someone.  I am a Catholic.  I usually only go to mass a few times of the year, but I’m still Catholic and this sort of trash offends me.  Let me explain, what happened in the church was deplorable and I think it needs to be talked about, but to be discussed in a YA book like this?  No, just no.  Furthermore, was it really necessary of Adornetto to name the priest Benedict when the pope’s name is Benedict as well.  Really?  What did she think she was accomplishing with that other than offending a large group of people.  The situation with the scandals itself is a complicated one that I really thought was handled quite tastelessly here being scuffed over in a couple of paragraphs.  Maybe I am overreacting, but I think such delicate issues should be handled with care.
This also goes into probably my biggest beef with the book how women and sex are handled which I’ll talk about briefly here.  Not only are the views that Bethany preaches arcane and limited, a lot of them are backwards.  I will be disgusting my feelings about this more in the worst feature part of the review.
Look, I get that Ms. Adornetto is young, but it’s really no excuse.  She is a published author.  Not a self published author who doesn’t have resources available to her to help with the editing process of this book.  But an author with an actual publishing house who is backing her who can supply her with editors to help refine her work. This book really should’ve been written better.  It really shouldn’t have been published.  I have read fan fictions that read better than this book.  That are not offensive as this book.  I feel like even if this book went through a couple more drafts it could’ve been slightly more tolerable.  But no, it’s clear that her publisher only has one thing in mind….

Best Feature: Are you fucking kidding me?  There was no redeemable feature about this book.  I didn’t even care for the cover as much I cared for it’s predecessor.  I mean, look at that girl’s neck on the motorcycle. It looks ridiculously thin.  And the wings that looked so beautiful on the Halo cover look very costume shop like here.  So yeah, nothing, nothing was good about this book I didn’t like one aspect at all about it.

Worst Feature: What about everything…Okay, if I was going to pinpoint what my biggest pet peeve is with this book is the twisted values it preaches.  I don’t like preachy books in the first place.  But it’s one thing when the values are actually something you can sort of agree with.  In Hades though, I wanted to slap Bethany silly many times for the things she talked about.  Let’s talk about how women are treated in general in this book.  Bethany is almost raped in the book until the calvary comes and rescues her.  Xavier is about to throw a temper tantrum too until Gabriel explains that Bethie was being duped by Jake….

Um…I don’t have words.  The point is a character was almost raped.  This should have been handled more delicately and there should’ve been some psychological side effects attached as well.  Like trust issues.  But nope, five pages down the road.  Bethie decides to be Xavier’s teenage bride.

It’s not only sexual assault or attempted sexual assault that is handled so tastelessly in this book.  It is the nature of sex itself.  People have sex for numerous reasons.  I didn’t like being told by Bethie it’s purpose was purely to have children.  And yeah, sex can result in pregnancy.  But conceiving children isn’t the only purpose of sex, as the contraception industry would tell you.  I also just loved how sex was referred to by Beth and Jake.  Let me just tell you how much I hate the term “make love” by a demon who is preparing to rape his kidnap victim.

No.  Rape isn’t making love.  Rape is rape.  It is a violation of ones body.  It is usually act of power by some asshole-in this case Jake- who has decided to violate ones personal space in the worse of ways by having coitus.  Equating it to making love is atrocious.

It’s not just sex and rape that are handled deplorably as well.  Morals are also handled horribly.  Many of the people who are in hell shouldn’t be in hell.  They’re not evil people.  They made mistakes.  If Adornetto truly done her research on Christianity she would know that there is a place called purgatory.  Where people who have committed sin, but aren’t totally sadistically evil go before they’re allowed in heaven.  Having people who are in hell from merely sinning from omission is the biggest load of bull shit I ever heard.  Christ is suppose to be a merciful figure, I don’t think he would send children who have sinned a bit but aren’t evil to the likes of serial killers and murders to hell just because they failed to report something to the authorities or whatever.  Is Though Shall Report/ or Though Shall not be Indirectly Responsible a commandment let alone a mortal sin, I think not.

Adornetto there’s a place in the middle called purgatory you could’ve just ran a search on Google for it, girl.

Appropriateness:  Once again, this is a book that tries to present itself as being squeaky clean but I wouldn’t let my preteen near it with an eighteen foot pole.  The values it preaches are awful.  Despite Bethany’s stanch to not drinking and cuss, there is drinking and cussing in the book.  As I stated before there’s lots of sex talk in this book and I don’t like the way the author approaches it.

Overall Rating: No wings.  None.  I’m not giving this book even the dignity of getting one angel wing.  It offended me on so many levels as a woman, as a Catholic, and as a member of the human race in general.  Am I planning on reading Heaven?  Not if I have to pay for it, but if I’m in the mood to be snarky and I can get it for free like I got Hades then why not?    It would be interesting how all this shit gets solved.

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2 thoughts on “Hades: Alexandra Adornetto

  1. Now, this book sounds just silly. *sigh*I mean, I had plenty of doubts about the first one – seeing it's size and that it was written by a 13 year old – but this just seems to go straight into preach territory with a healthy dose of crazy sauce. :PToo bad, covers are pretty.

  2. She's actually twenty or twenty-one now, I think she started writing Halo when she was sixteen and it was her third book published. Honestly though, age is no excuse. Considering she had a whole team of editors and publishers behind her and this was her third time out of the gate. It was almost as if she was mocking past criticism too, there was an entire chapter titled Codependent which essentially said anyone who thinks Beth and Xavier's relationship is unhealthy is full of themselves. The one good thing about this book is if you're wanting to deconstruct something as a writing exercise (like I did) it's really a good one to read. But if you can't tolerate preachy twisted crap then don't get near it.

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