Title: Half Bad
Author: Sally Green
Genre: YA Paranormal
Series: Half Life Trilogy (Book #1)
Publication Date: March 4, 2014
Format: Hardcover, 416 Pages
ISBN-10: 0670016780 (Penguin Teens)
ISBN-13: 978-0670016785 (Penguin Teens)
Reviewed by: Bridget
A stunning, magical debut. An international sensation.
In modern-day England, witches live alongside humans: White witches, who are good; Black witches, who are evil; and fifteen-year-old Nathan, who is both. Nathan’s father is the world’s most powerful and cruel Black witch, and his mother is dead. He is hunted from all sides. Trapped in a cage, beaten and handcuffed, Nathan must escape before his sixteenth birthday, at which point he will receive three gifts from his father and come into his own as a witch—or else he will die. But how can Nathan find his father when his every action is tracked, when there is no one safe to trust—not even family, not even the girl he loves?
In the tradition of Patrick Ness and Markus Zusak, Half Bad is a gripping tale of alienation and the indomitable will to survive, a story that will grab hold of you and not let go until the very last page.
Quick & Dirty: Very unique fast paced YA paranormal read. With a modern day England setting and intriguing plot this is sure to be a big hit with paranormal fans across the board.
Opening Sentence: There’s these two kids, boys, sitting close together, squished in by the big arm of an old chair.
There are two different types of witches: White witches; who are considered the good guys, and the Black witches, who are considered the evil, but it really depends on who you are asking. Sixteen-year-old Nathan is the product of both a White witch and a Black witch. His mother was a very loving, wonderful woman, but she killed herself when Nathan was little. His father is one of the most feared and dangerous Black witches to ever exist. Nathan is an abomination and not to be trusted because of his dark origins or at least that is what the White witches have everyone believing.
Every witch is given three gifts and their ancestors’ blood on their seventeenth birthday, so they can find their magical gift whatever it may be. It is also said that if you are a Black witch and you don’t get your powers, you will die shortly after you birthday. Nathan will need his father to perform the ceremony for him, but there is one big problem: he has never met his father and has no idea where to find him. With the White witches hunting him and time running out, Nathan will have to do whatever it takes it find his father or risk losing everything, including his life.
Nathan was a fascinating character that was easy to like right away. He has the good side from his mother and the darker more sinister side from his father. Because of this you get a very torn character that has dark tendencies, with a very deeply ingrained sense of right and wrong. His body wants him to perform acts that are violent and hurtful, while his mind is telling him to not act on his bodily desires. This made Nathan so unique and interesting to me, because you get the sides of both worlds in one person. I found that he was fairly easy to connect with as well, and from the very beginning I was cheering him on. Throughout the story you grow up with Nathan and get to experience so much with him, because of this you really start to care about him. Honestly, I loved being inside his head and can’t wait to see what is in store for him next.
Half Bad was a very unique witch book that was pure entertainment. It is full of action, suspense, and subtle romance. Nathan is so engaging and interesting that it was hard not to get totally caught up in his world. The story started off in second person, which I really enjoyed because it made you feel like all these events were happening to you in a way, so I felt an instant connection to the story. Then it moves into first person and you are able to connect more fully with Nathan. My one complaint about this story was that for about half the book I felt that circumstances forced Nathan to do the things he did instead of him making his own choices. This was a very character driven book and for a portion of the story he felt like a stationary object moving through the pages. But about half way through the book this does change and I liked him better once he started really living his own life.
This book covers a lot of our modern day bullying and discrimination issues that we have in our society. Because of his birth origin, Nathan is treated very different than other witches. I liked that Green implemented something that is so realistic into a fantasy book flawlessly. Even though the story is totally make believe you can take something from it and use it in your real life. It made the story easier to relate to and connect with on a deeper level. I loved the modern day England setting with a slight historical feel to it. The plot was very intriguing and the pacing never dragged. I felt that the ending was slightly rushed, but it still left me feeling satisfied. This is Green’s debut novel and I am honestly stunned by her talent. Half Bad was an amazing start to what I’m sure is going to be an epic series. I thoroughly enjoyed this book and would highly recommend it to anyone that likes a dark action-packed paranormal read.
I shake my head. “It’s happening to me, Arran. I feel it, I’m a Black Witch.”
“No , you’re not. That’s your body, not you.. the real you is nothing to do with being a Black Witch. You have some of Marcus’s genes in you, and some of Saba’a. But that’s physical. And the physical stuff, the genes, your Gift, they are not what makes a Black Witch. You have to believe who you are. You aren’t evil, Nathan. Nothing about you is evil. You will have a powerful Gift—we can all see that—but it’s how you use it that will show you to be good or bad.”
I almost believe him. I don’t feel evil, but I’m afraid. My body is doing things that I don’t understand, and I don’t know what else it will do. It feels like it has a will of its own and it’s leading me down a path I have to follow. The night tremors are taking me outside, forcing me to move away from my old life. The noises in my head also seem to be driving me away from people.
Whenever Jessica used to say I was half Black, Gran would say “Half White too.” And I had always thought of my mother’s genes and my father’s mixing in my body, but now it occurs to me that my body is my father’s and my spirit is my mother’s. Perhaps Arran is right, my spirit is not evil, but I have to put up with a body that does weird things.
Half Life Series:
1. Half Bad
FTC Advisory: Viking Juvenile/Penguin provided me with a copy of Half Bad. No goody bags, sponsorships, “material connections,” or bribes were exchanged for my review.
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