This read was provided to me for free in exchange for an honest review.
Halls of Hel is the second in the Aaru series by David Meredith. Didn’t catch that review, find it here!
Things is Aaru are idyllic. Rose and Franco are closer than ever, her friendships with her fellow Lords, Ladies, and Vedas are flourishing. In a land where her every thought, dream, and desire can become reality, what more could one ask for? Koren is struggling out in the real world. Her relationship with her parents is testy, her father is drinking too much and her mother is barely around. She is constantly tugged between promotion, event, and interview as the spokesperson for Elysium Industries with hardly a minute to catch her breath. Magic Man is still at large, plotting and toiling away behind a computer to hack into the Aaru mainframe, ensnaring and enslaving Koren forever. The two sisters are up against the most sinister foe, can they ward off Magic Mans attack before it’s too late?
Ok, I am just going to go with the things I liked and the things I didn’t like route here. Once again, this was a really imaginative plot with some really unique themes being explored. The afterlife and it’s connection to technology and thus immortality raise some really interesting talking points which had me debating myself while reading. Are the “damaged” brain scans uploaded into Aaru deserving of a quarantined location, away from the inhabitants and glory of Aaru? (I’m still going back and forth on this one) Is deleting a brain scan equivalent to murder/death. (I think so?) Leaves a lot to think about. Fighting a war within Aaru is also a compelling plot line, and one that left me furiously turning pages to see what would happen next.
Now for the things I wasn’t so thrilled with…. Koren is WAY oversexualized for a child of 14. The descriptive language of her sleazy dress, her body, and relationship with pop star douche just made me feel….icky…it wasn’t needed and felt like too much. Koren is essentially a child, one maturing into adulthood sure, but way too young to be parading around in the book like a little sex kitten. It didn’t work for me, and left me feeling skived out. I also feel the plot line could work just as well without the villain being a crazed pedophile. It’s too much; a disgruntled ex employee would work fine, a college aged computer hacker with a vendetta against Elysium Industries is another more plausible angle. Magic Man is just a gross, weirdly written villain to me. (Obviously I am not an author but speaking purely my personal opinion). I was looking for more character development here in the second book but felt it fell a little flat in that department. Rose comes off as some angsty, lusty teenager, and Koren a petulant brat.
Overall a really interesting plot line if the characters just felt more authentic and not so overly sexualized, it would be a really amazing read.
Until next week friends!