I do not like angel-themed urban fantasy/paranormal romance. I consider it hugely disrespectful to use actual religious content for "hawt teen boyz!" fantasies.
And since I spent most of "Halo" wishing that the characters would burn in hell, I expected to enjoy Alexandra Adornetto's second book. Sadly, "Hades" amplifies most of what I despised about the first book (particularly the moronic teenage angels and drippy "Twilighty" romance), and adds in some truly gagworthy new additions (oh look, a prince of Hell is in LUV with the heroine!).
A seance on Halloween night lets an evil spirit into the world, and then Jake Thorn tricks Bethany into coming into Hell with him... on a motorcycle. Yeah, it has the lake of fire and tortured souls, but Adornetto is more interested in Hades' sexy clubs, five-star hotels, and large quantities of designer clothing. I am not kidding about any of this.
Why has Jake done this? Why, he's madly in love with Bethany and wants to marry her, and Bethany is moping because she can't see Xavier. Eventually, a plot device allows Bethanny to astrally project into the human world, where the other angels can't see her. Since half the book has gone by with nothing much happening, it is revealed that her kidnapping may herald the Apocalypse.
"Hades" is a perfect example of why theology and shallow teen romance will never mix. The plot is a mushy, drippy, cloyingly sentimental "New Moon"-style story, with most of the narrative being about poor Bethany and how sad she is. And since paranormal romance is all about love triangles, she tries to cram one -- Bethany is SO pure and wonderful that even a fallen angel can't resist her ("Hell's a whole lot brighter with you in it").
But occasionally Adornetto tries to shoehorn in some philosophical or theological points, and it just BURNS because it's so very shallow. I mean, she wrote a story where an ANGEL gets dragged into hell on a MOTORCYCLE. Oh, and Hell? The place where the damned are eternally tormented? Well, 98% of the time, it's depicted as being less unpleasant than Las Vegas.
The writing is every bit as bad as you can imagine. Adornetto tries to make a cool, contemporary depiction of hell, but it ends up being cringeworthy -- for instance, Satan is referred to as "Big Daddy." And her plot is riddled with idiotic plot holes, ghastly romantic prose (you'll end up wanting to poke out Xavier's "turquoise" eyes), and a painfully shallow knowledge of... everything. Is Adornetto even aware that Hell is not a physical place?
As for Bethany, she's one of the worst heroines I've ever seen. She's supposed to be one of God's angels -- you know, an ageless timeless being of pure intellect -- but she's spineless, whiny, prissy, clueless, awash in hormones and quick to give in to peer pressure. And she's also painfully passive, just sluggishly reacting instead of doing anything herself.
"Hades" is perfectly named -- reading it is like spending a few hours in hell. Ghastly writing, theology-rape, and a heroine who needs to be ditched by Virgil right over the pit.