Jake Thorn and his demons have been banished and Xavier and Bethany settle down to resume a normal life. But on the night of Halloween, a childish prank goes terribly wrong and Jake is summoned back to the sleepy town of Venus Cove. Bethany is deceived and like the mythical Persephone she finds herself dragged into the nightmarish underworld of Hades.
While the angels call on higher powers to help rescue Bethany, Jake decides to play dirty and goes after the one thing she loves more than anything. But to spare Xavier's life, Bethany must make the ultimate sacrifice.
Will she make a deal with the Devil?
And what will happen to an angel in Hell?
What a disappointment.
My expectations for this book were at a fair height. The calm, small-town-by-the-seaside feel and orderly, sweet, though fairly uneventful plot of Halo were reasonably enjoyable, and at the time that I was reading it I was in love with it (later reflection has changed my opinion, but c'est la vie).
Hades was original, definitely. I really loved the whole deal with the seance, and the interpretation of Hell (or Hades) was refreshing and horrifying. I literally felt sick and panicky when I read about the tortures in the fiery pit and the demon orgies. Scary. Also, despite how overdone angels are in Young Adult fiction, it's rare to see a novel where the angels are actually a traditional, religious interpretation and on the God-side. It's not as sexy as FALLEN angels or whatever, but refreshing.
Character-wise, this had nothing going for it. Bethany is among the most annoying main characters I've ever read. She is silly and dependant. Her every thought is of Xavier and she always considers him when she makes a decision. She often says she can't live without him. She's an angel, not a human with wings. Yeah, I know the idea is that she is supposed to feel what humans feel and understands them, but she goes one step further than that- she's twice as oblivious as them.
I also hated the fact that she was always assuming that Xavier was thinking of her, like "I knew he was thinking about me...". She talked like she was omniscient, but she wasn't, and it really bugged me. Xavier himself was alright. He talks like a teenage boy. He acts like a teenage boy. But teenage boys usually aren't so deeply committed to their high school girlfriends (not being sexist, it works vice-versa too). I guess he's in too deep with Bethany to just be devastated but useless, like a normal teenage partner when the other goes missing. But still.
I don't understand how Molly could have a crush on Gabriel. He does not sound crush worthy. He sounds really "beautiful" and all, but also too distant to become attached to. I never saw the attraction. Ivy was more bitter this time, it wasn't consistent with the previous book.
Jake was the best character, because he has the most depth. He is unpredictable, selfish and cruel, but truly seems to care for Bethany.
As for the plot...well, it was original but completely ridiculous. It's the kind of plot where complications are solved too easily. There's not much more to say about it than that, not without giving too much away, except that stuff did happen in it. The storyline was never dull or idle, and that was enough to make the book "alright" instead of "not good". The "climax", however, was laughable. Literally, laughable.
Bethany's POV is irritating a lot of the time, because of her naivety and weak character. So, when she is still able to narrate what happens to Gabriel, Ivy, Xavier and Molly while she's in Hades and they're on Earth, you start to get fed up (also a product of "easy-problem-solving" mentioned above). If the book was split perspective, which I usually find annoying, it could have been improved.
All-in-all, I enjoyed the action in the plot, disliked the characters, liked Jake, thought the resolutions were too easy and thought that the whole thing was alright. I'll still read the third title in the series, "Heaven", because I like to finish things.
I would only reccommend this if you have already read Halo.