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 Last time, in chapter one, Bethany, Ivy, and Gabriel move to the sleepy beachside town of Venus Cove (despite the fact that there are a large number of cities that need the presence of angels even more than this town), they move into a grand house that angels should not need to have, and they meet the love interest. In short, nothing much.

Now then! Let's get started with Chapter Two of Alexandra Adornetto's Halo! We open up with Bethany waking up in her room, and she can see sunlight streaming in through her windows, as well as the dust in the air. She also smells the sea and hears the sound of seagulls squawking and ocean waves, which she describes as"yeasty" for some reason. But seriously, who the hell describes the ocean as 'yeasty'? It just sounds weird and out of place. Now, 'yeasty' can mean 'foaming' or 'frothy', but why not describe ocean waves as 'foamy' or even 'bubbly'? 

Gah. Moving on, we get a description of Bethany's bedroom! And man, is it ever so heteronormative!

Whoever had been responsible for decorating my bedroom had done so with some account of its future occupant. It had a girlish charm with its white furniture, iron canopy bed, and rosebud wallpaper. The white dressing table had a floral stencil on its drawers, and there was a rattan rocking chair in one corner. A dainty desk with turned legs stood against a wall beside the bed.

Now, there's nothing wrong with liking girly things and decor. It's only when you imply that all girls should like girly decor when it starts to become annoying and preachy. I was quite annoyed with this, and I am quite the girly-girl, mind you! I love pink and flowers and all that, but I'm not a total girly-girl! And I don't force others to like girly things either! But you should get used to all this lecturing and preaching in this novel. There's quite a lot in this book.

Bethany stretches and describes the crumpled sheets as "still a novelty", and there should be a comma and not a semicolon in that sentence, Adornetto. Moving on from the grammar error, Bethany then describes the Kingdom of Heaven for us.

Where we came from, there were no textures, no objects. We needed nothing physical to sustain us and so there was nothing. 

There's absolutely nothing in Heaven? Geez, it must be boring! No wonder Lucifer decided to get himself cast out of Heaven, there's nothing up there!

Bethany then states that Heaven is not easy to describe, and that humans might see a glimpse of it buried in their unconscious. I think you meant 'subconscience', Adornetto. She says that it's like an expanse of white, an invisible city, with no material objects to be seen. It's also described as "a sky like liquid gold and rose quartz, a feeling of buoyancy, of weightlessness, seemingly empty but more majestic than the grandest place on Earth." ‚Äč 

I thought Heaven was supposed to be a peaceful place with no hunger, death, thirst, or sickness. I mean, that's how it's been described in some parts of the Bible. Not to mention, Heaven is also considered to be a state or a condition of existence, rather than a place in the cosmos. Pope John Paul II himself said that, "The 'heaven' or 'happiness' in which we find ourselves is neither an abstraction nor a physical place in the clouds, but a living, personal relationship with the Holy Trinity". So, Heaven should be considered majestic because of how it feels, not how it looks.

Anyways, Bethany is frustrated because the human language is so limited, and that people's thoughts and feelings went unspoken. Oh really now? Says the one who finds plenty of words to judge other people on their lifestyle choices. And the next part is absolutely clichéd.

One of the most frustrating words in the human language was love.

*sighs* So this is how it's gonna be? Man, I am not ready for this.

So much meaning attached to this one little word. People bandied it about freely, 

Um, excuse you. Love is so much more than romantic relationships. What about family, friends, and all that? This is something that I've started noticing in these kinds of stories. Love for family and friends is always ignored in favour of romance and relationships. And that's something I'm hoping to change in my novel. My heroine loves her parents and her friend, and she cares deeply about them. Yes, while she does fall in love, she never once puts her love interest above her family and friends! Hell, she couldn't even imagine doing such a thing! If she were to see how Bella Swan and some of these heroines treat their family and so-called friends, she would be appalled.

And on the subject of bandying words around, what about how people carelessly use the name of your father, dammit?! Shouldn't you be more worried about that?

using it to describe their attachments to their possessions,

Like my laptop and my music.


Whoa. Again, excuse you. I love my dog, Rolo, a lot. She's like family to us, and while I may not be much of a dog person, I really can't imagine my life without my dog. If something ever happens to her, I'd be devastated! So don't tell me that loving a pet is careless! Now I'm just starting to get annoyed.

vacation destinations,

Like my love for traveling to India. But really, Adornetto, people love vacation destinations because those places have meaning for them, you know? For me, India is where majority of my family members live, so I love travelling there to visit them. It's also where I was born, so I have an attachment to my home country! I love India for those reasons! Likewise, someone could like travelling to Hawai'i because they got married there, or they love the beach, or whatever. So for some people, vacation destinations have meaning for them.

and favorite foods. 

Like my love for mango juice, Indian sweets, ramen noodles, and potatoes. Again, food can have meaning for some people, Adornetto. Not everything is about romance!

Wasn't that insulting? Shouldn't there be some other term to describe deeper emotion? Humans were so preoccupied with love.

Oh, that's rich! And this is coming from an angel who goes all gaga over a human pretty soon! And not all humans are preoccupied with love, Adornetto. Aromantic people exist, you know? Then again, this book is so heteronormative that there are only male-female pairings.

They were all desperate to form an attachment to one person they could refer to as their "other half". It seemed from my reading of literature that being in love meant becoming the beloved's entire world. 

Well, yeah. If you read Twilight, that is. But again, not everyone is so desperate to fall in love or to find their one true love! I mean, yeah, I sometimes wonder what it would be like to be in love, but I'm not desperate for it. I just want to figure out who I am and what I want before I fall in love! And I don't think I want to become the entire world of my future boyfriend. That would be very unhealthy.

The rest of the universe paled into insignificance compared to the lovers. When they were separated, each fell into a melancholy state, and only when they were reunited did their hearts start beating again.

Damn, that's kind of an insult to the partners of soldiers who are deployed overseas, or to people in long-distance relationships! Again, these people don't just become catatonic when their beloved goes overseas. They continue with their lives and get things done! Can you imagine what it would be like if people actually went catatonic if their beloved went overseas? Nothing would get done, we'd still be very much in the Stone Age, Adornetto!

Only when they were together could they really

-*sings* paint with all the colours of the wind!

see the colors of the world. When they were apart, that color leached away, leaving everything to a hazy gray. I lay in bed, wondering about the intensity of this emotion that was so irrational and so irrefutably human. What if a person's face was so sacred to you it was permanently inscribed in your memory? What if their smell and touch were dearer to you than life itself? Of course, I knew nothing about human love, but the idea had always been so intriguing to me. Celestial beings never pretended to understand the intensity of human relationships; but I found it amazing how humans could allow another person to take over their hearts and minds. It was ironic how love could awaken them to the wonders of the universe, while at the same time confine their attention to one another.

Well, not everyone is like you, Adornetto. And really, the last part just sounds like more of the whole 'humans suck' crap that is really becoming annoying. And please, for the love of everything holy, don't project. You're really projecting your thoughts into this story, Adornetto.

Moving forward, Bethany finally gets up from bed after hearing Gabriel and Ivy in the kitchen. And Bethany wraps a "cashmere throw" around her to keep warm. Seriously? A cashmere throw? Why not just a regular throw blanket, huh? Of course, only the very best for Bethany! God, I hate it when Suethors give their precious little Sues luxuries like this. Such as having them offhandedly mention their designer clothing, their silk dresses, their jewelry made from real gold and jewels! *starting to get angry* Because they cannot have anything that is normal and regular, oh no! Only the very best in the world for them!

*immediately calms down* Oh, yeah... now this is what I needed. Oh, Ruki... you really know how to calm me down~

(For those of you who don't know, this is Ruki, the vocalist of the GazettE, a Japanese rock band. They are my favourite band in the entire world, and I am absolutely in love with Ruki for everything he is <3. And yes, he's a dude. But I think he looks beautiful like this, and if he likes wearing makeup and looking feminine, then who are we to judge?)

Um... ahem. Back to sporking. Bethany then states that she is pleased at how she's adjusted to human life, and how she no longer gets headaches or spells of nausea at different scents. She even feels happy when she accidentally stubs her toe on the fridge, as the pain reminds her that she is real and that she can feel. Again, this is interesting, and it's too bad that this wasn't explored more. All this lost potential makes me sad.

Gabriel gives Bethany a mug of tea, and she accidentally scalds her fingers on the mug, and she's reminded that she's not immune to pain, unlike Gabriel and Ivy.

And now, Bethany describes a little bit more about herself. Apparently, she was chosen for this mission because she's more "in tune with the human condition than other angels". How, dammit?! She's a baby angel, she's basically a newbie! If anything, it should be Gabriel and Ivy who are more in tune with humans!

I watched over humans, empathized with them, and tried to understand them. I had faith in them and cried tears for them. Perhaps it was because I was young- I had been created seventeen mortal years ago, which equated to infancy in celestial years.

Oh, so she's basically seventeen-years-old? And that's basically infancy for angels? Why the hell is she on Earth then? She should not be able to relate to humans whatsoever if she is that young! She has zero experience in divine duties, so she should not be going on this mission, dammit!

Gabriel and Ivy had been around for centuries; they had fought battles and witnessed human atrocities beyond my imagination. They'd had all of time to acquire strength and power to protect them on Earth. They'd both visited Earth on a number of missions so they'd had time to adjust to it and were aware of its perils and pitfalls. 

See, Gabriel and Ivy being on Earth actually makes sense, because they're practically millions of years old. They have more experience with fighting and visiting Earth, whereas Bethany is practically a baby and has had zero experience with anything! Bethany's just going to drag them down on their mission!

But I was an angel in the purest, most vulnerable form. I was naïve and trusting, young and fragile. I could feel pain because years of wisdom and experience did not protect me from it. It was for this reason that Gabriel wished I had not been chosen, and it was for this reason that I had.

Ohhhh, and there it is! See, Bethany isn't just pure because she's an angel. She's pure because she's a virgin. It's pretty obvious that this is also what she's referring to. I mean, just think about it, especially in regards to what's coming up soon.

After a brief little conversation in regards to breakfast, Bethany starts to describe Gabriel, Ivy, and herself, and she starts off with Gabriel.

In his physical form, Gabriel might as well have been a classical sculpture come to life. His shoulder-length hair was the color of sand and he often wore it pulled back in a loose ponytail. His brow was strong and his nose arrow straight. Today he was wearing faded blue jeans worn through at the knees and a crumpled linen shirt, both of which gave him a disheveled beauty. Gabriel was an archangel and a member of the Holy Seven. Although his clique ranked only second in the divine hierarchy, they were exclusive and had the most interaction with human beings. In fact, they were created to liaise between the Lord and mortals. But at heart Gabriel was a warrior- his celestial name meant "Hero of God"- and it was he who had watched Sodom and Gomorrah burn. 

You mean the Seven Archangels, right? And yes, Gabriel is a member of them. The Seven Archangels are Michael, Gabriel, Raphael, Uriel, Camael, Jophiel, and Zadkiel. Also, Gabriel means 'God is my strength' in Hebrew, not 'Hero of God'. And there is no confirmation as to which angel watched the destruction of Sodom and Gomorrah.

Now, she moves onto Ivy!

Ivy, on the other hand, was one of the wisest and oldest of our kind, although she didn't look a day over twenty. She was a seraphim, the order of angels closest to the Lord. In the Kingdom, seraphim had six wings to mark the six days of creation. A gold snake was tattooed on Ivy's wrist as a mark of her rank. It was said that in battle, the seraphim would come forward to spit fire on the earth, but she was one of the gentlest creatures I'd ever met. In her physical form, Ivy looked like a Renaissance Madonna with her swanlike neck and pale oval face. Like Gabriel, she had piercing rain gray eyes. This morning she wore a white flowing dress and gold sandals. 

Surely, you meant to call her a seraph, right? Seraphim is plural, and indeed, they are the caretakers of God's throne, and in the Book of Isaiah, they are said to be winged celestial beings with a fiery passion for doing God's good work. However, their six wings were covered with eyes, you know? Also, way to make this seraph look like a mix of a Renaissance Madonna and Aphrodite. Sounds a little weird, if you ask me. Also, there should be a dash between 'rain' and 'gray'.

And now, Bethany!

I, on the other hand, was nothing special, just a plain, old, transition angel- bottom of the rung. I didn't mind; it meant I was able to interact with the human spirits that entered the Kingdom. In my physical form, I looked ethereal like my family, except my eyes were as brown as river stones and my chesnut brown hair fell in loose waves down my back. I'd thought that once I was recruited for an Earth posting I'd be able to choose my own physical form, but it didn't work that way. I was created small, fine boned, and not especially tall, with a heart-shaped face, pixielike ears, and skin that was milky pale. 

 I don't know why, but the only image I get of her is of Juliet from Baz Luhrmann's Romeo+Juliet. Specifically, like this:

Anyone else get that mental image, or is it just me?

But on a serious note, why in the world is Bethany in the body of a seventeen-year-old? That's not gonna help her through battle whatsoever! No wonder Gabriel didn't want her to accompany them on this mission! And I really cannot believe God allowed Bethany to go on this mission either.

Bleh, whatever. Ivy gets up to put her plate in the sink and she's described as if "she were dancing rather than walking". Well, of course! We can't have her walking like a normal person!

Bethany asks Ivy about the news, and she sees that the front page is filled with stories of bombings, natural disasters, and economic collapse. How does Bethany react to this? She feels "immediately defeated". 

Seriously?! This is who I'm supposed to count on to keep humanity safe and restore faith in miracles?! Bethany, you can't just feel defeated from the news! You're an angel, it's your job to help people in times of trouble! Dear goodness, why in the world were you chosen for this mission?!

Ivy laments over how people have no faith in one another, so Bethany asks what they can do. However, Gabriel says that change takes time, and Ivy then says that they need to focus on saving their little portion of the world. Uh, yeah, a sleepy beach town that seems to be managing fine!

"You mean this town?"

"Of course." My sister nodded. "This town was listed as a target of the Dark Forces. It's strange the places they choose." 

Yes, Ivy, I have to agree. Especially since we don't see much evidence of any Dark Forces in Venus Cove!

After Gabriel repeats their objective again, Ivy then suggests that they try to blend in. And then, Bethany tells us how they are different. And this needs to be sporked.

There were several things that made us conspicuous. For starters, human beings were flawed and we weren't.

Already going on the 'Humanity Sucks' train, aren't we? But seriously, how am I supposed to have faith in supernatural creatures that bash on humanity? If this is who I'm supposed to look to for protection, I'd rather get eaten by a demon or a hellbeast, thank you very much. At least hellbeasts are supposed to look down on humanity.

If you saw one of us in a crowd, the first thing you'd notice was our skin. It was so translucent you might be persuaded into believing that it contained actual particles of light. 

So what, they're glow-in-the-dark?

This became even more evident after dark when any exposed skin emitted a faint glow as if from some inner energy source.

So they are glow-in-the-dark! And what's the point of that, if they're trying to stay concealed from humans?

Also, we never left any footprints, even when we were walking on something impressionable like grass or sand. 

Wow, so much for trying to blend in. Seriously, these disguises suck!

And you'd never catch any one of us in a tank top- we always wore high-backed tops to cover up a minor cosmetic problem.

The V-shaped scars, I assume? But really, these disguises are just terrible! There's no way that they'll be able to blend in! The demons in my novel do this way better, Adornetto! They don't glow or anything, the only things they have are pointed ears and sharper canines, that's all! Damn, if demons are able to disguise themselves better than your angels, you know that there's something wrong.

The next part, Bethany tells us about how the locals interact with them, and refers to Venus Cove as a sleepy backwater town. According to her, some people think that they're tourists and others think that they're celebrities. Well, so much for blending in, huh? Again, my two demon characters blend in way better than your angels, Adornetto.  And a backwater town has a different meaning than what you think, Adornetto. It's used to refer to a really small town.

Bethany describes how there are so many awful things happening in the world, like murder, kidnapping, and war. Well, if that's the case, why don't you go to a place that is actually experiencing some of those things?!

If I continue, I'm probably going to end up repeating myself, so I'll move on. Bethany states how fortunate they are to have ended up in Venus Cove, describing it as "a breathtaking place of striking contrasts". Yes, be grateful that you ended up in a small beach town with no troubles whatsoever, instead of an actually dangerous place like Caracas, or Baltimore, or Detroit, or even...!

Oh Ruki... you're just what I need right now... *sighs dreamily*

Back to sporking. For once, I actually agree with Gabriel, who also thinks that their accommodations are a little bit excessive and that he'd rather have something less grand! Thank you, Gabriel! However, Ivy and Bethany love it, of course. And Bethany even does some lampshading with this!

I suspected the house might not help achieve our goal of blending in, but I kept quiet. I didn't want to complain when I already felt too much like a liability on this mission.

Well, no duh! Of course the house isn't going to help you blend in! It's too fancy on its own!

Bethany then describes the town of Venus Cove for us in the next passage. According to her, Venus Cove has a population of about 3000 people, but this number doubles during the summer break when tourists came to the town. So it's like a resort town as well, huh? Only problem, what is the main industry of this town, besides tourism? A town has to have another industry to rely on besides tourism!

At this moment, Bethany and Gabriel are getting ready to start school at the local high school, Bryce Hamilton. According to Bethany, she's a student and Gabriel is the music teacher. And I can actually buy Gabriel being a music teacher, because of the Horn of Gabriel. Also, Bethany states that "It had been decided that a school would be a useful place to begin our work of countering the emissaries of darkness, given that it was full of young people whose values were still evolving". 

Oh, I don't know, maybe it's because they're young and inexperienced, maybe that's why their values are still evolving!

Anyways, Ivy doesn't get to go to school on the account of being too "unearthly", so she's instead helping them get ready like a good old fifties mother and housewife!

Ivy's a Seraph. And here she is, acting like a domestic housewife! This pisses me off to no extent. I hate seeing strong female characters being reduced to nothing more than a housewife!

Gabriel then tells Bethany not to say anything that may make others suspicious, and Bethany then makes a crack at wishing to fly through the hallways, which Gabriel is totally unamused at.

It seems like this school requires the students to wear uniforms! Look, Adornetto, I don't know if all schools in Australia require a uniform to be worn, but in North America, a uniform is usually an indicator of a PRIVATE SCHOOL. But of course! They have to go to a private school, since public school is for losers!

*deep breath* I'm almost done this chapter. Stay frosty.

Gabriel is disgruntled about his outfit, claiming that it's uncomfortable and limiting. Meanwhile, Bethany states that the school uniforms are stylish, which makes me think that this is Adornetto's ideal uniform. Bethany starts fretting over school, and Gabriel reassures Bethany that he'll fix whatever she screws up. However, Bethany isn't worried about physical dangers! This is what she's worried about!

What worried me was the seduction of all things human. I doubted myself, and I knew that could lead to losing sight of my higher purpose. After all, it had happened before with dire consequences- we'd all heard the dreadful legends of fallen angels, seduced by the indulgences of man, and we all knew what had become of them.

They shouldn't be legends to you, Bethany. You're an angel so they should be real for you! And way to foreshadow what will happen in the future! And you won't even suffer many consequences for it, of course!

With one more line about how Ivy and Gabriel observe the world around with a trained eye, we close this chapter.

*sighs* Finally! It's over! And man, was this a long chapter! You know, I'm going to be calling in some guest sporkers for the next chapter. I'm going to need it. See you in chapter three, everyone!

Continue to: Chapter Three- Venus Cove (Part One)

Go back to: Chapter One- Descent 


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