Hades: Demons and Angels

November 30, 2012 at 10:18 pm 3 comments

Last time, I talked about the depiction of Hell in Alexandra Adornetto’s book Hades. Today I’m going to talk about the characters, specifically the angels and the demons.


Because of this book’s setup, we don’t see much of the angels besides Bethany, the main character, and I think that’s unfortunate because I really like the other two angels better than her. It’s not that she’s an annoying character, per se, but when I think of angels, I don’t think of characters like her. Of the three main angels, she’s definitely the least angelic, and it’s not just because she broke the rules when she fell in love with a human. I’m fine with that; it’s the part that makes the story interesting. It’s other things that just don’t seem right.

Let’s take as an example the beginning of this book, where she attends a Halloween party with her friends and they pull out a Ouija board. She keeps trying to talk them out of holding a seance, but her attempts seem feeble, especially since she knew that bad things could happen if they succeeded in summoning a spirit. She seemed more concerned about the fact that her friends would give her a hard time if she didn’t take part than the possibly very serious danger that could result if she did. Call me crazy, but I don’t think that a real angel would be susceptible to a mild dose peer pressure. “You know, I would go fight that demon, but my friends will kill me if I skip out on Jessica’s slumber party tonight!”

And that’s how she gets dragged down to Hades in the first place. And once she fails down there and seems almost perfectly ok (see last post), she does very little of what I might expect. Her initial reaction seems spot on, from telling off Jake (the demon who dragged her down there) to storming out of the hotel he brought her to. But then she runs into trouble and seems totally helpless until Jake comes to rescue her. I thought she had special angelic powers! We at least know that she has wings. It makes sense that while on earth she keeps them hidden, but as long as everyone in Hell knows that she’s an angel why doesn’t she let them out and fly out of the stupid, wingless demons’ reach?

I don’t know, I guess I was just hoping for more from her. I kept getting disappointed by little things like the fact that she drinks a couple shots at a club, seemingly just to prove that she’s tough, while at the high school party in the beginning she made a point of not drinking any alcohol. She seems much more like an imperfect human teenager than a messenger of God on a mission.

I was relieved when Michael the archangel made an appearance: finally! An angel who actually acts like an angel!


The demons in this story seem to have a completely different problem; they just don’t seem evil enough. Sure, they’re definitely undesirable characters. They’re also completely devoid of mercy or compassion, but they seem to have their sights set pretty low. For beings who enjoy causing pain and destruction, they don’t put very much effort into causing it. If, as I mentioned in the last post, they have complete control over the souls in Hell, why do many of them seem to have it so easy? I don’t mean the souls in the pit, I’m talking about the ones working in the hotel or dancing at the clubs. The ones in the hotel are servants, but they seem relatively well-treated. If the demons are so heartless, why should they treat their servants in a manner that’s anywhere close to decent?

In my head, I keep comparing these demons to humans. In theory, demons should be at least as evil as the worst humans. Take your pick out of all the people in history and imagine a group of them running the show down there. In my opinion, that’s what it should look like realistically. And if that’s too graphic for a YA book, I still think it could be just a little bit closer.

So what do you think? Do you agree with me, or do you think I’m totally off base? Let me know in the comments, and stay tuned for the third and final section, coming soon!

Entry filed under: Books, Non 1001 Books. Tags: , , , , .

A Literary Depiction of Hell (Or Hades if You’d Prefer) The End of NaNo

3 Comments Add your own

  • 1. CanaryTheFirst  |  November 30, 2012 at 10:31 pm

    I haven’t read the book, but I agree with you on the issue of so often wanting for the “evil” creatures to be just a bit more evil. The author doesn’t have to dehumanize them, not at all. But surely they must have gotten several millenia of bad reputation for something!

  • 2. DSTE' s Sister  |  December 25, 2012 at 4:39 pm

    About the thing about Beth being “powerless” when she runs off, I didn’t understand that either at first. But after reading your last post about Hades not having any effect on Beth, something occurred to me: maybe this is the author’s feeble, unexplained way of telling us, the readers, that it DID have an effect on Beth? However, this doesn’t make sense, because she doesn’ t explain this, nor does Beth realize that anything is wrong, she just simply becomes helpless. Throughout the book, it seemed to me that being in Hades did have a draining effect on Beth, both physically and emotionally, but it took effect so slowly that she didn’t realize it was even happening. Or maybe Beth was just tired and scared and confused and had a brain fart. (With the author and the character we’re talking about here, I wouldn’t be surprised about that.) But, I mean, Either or.

  • 3. DSTE' s Sister  |  December 25, 2012 at 4:47 pm

    And about the demons, I agree. But the best explanation I can come up with is that they are just too lazy. This is only one of the outer circles, maybe the distinguishing characteristic/deadly sin in their circle is laziness. *shrug.*


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November 2012

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