Book: Half Bad (Half Bad 1) by Sally Green
Release Date: March 4th 2014
Tags: Fantasy / Witches / White Witches / Black Witches / Young Adult / Good vs Bad
Sixteen-year-old Nathan lives in a cage: beaten, shackled, trained to kill. In a modern-day England where two warring factions of witches live amongst humans, Nathan is an abomination, the illegitimate son of the world’s most terrifying and violent witch, Marcus. Nathan’s only hope for survival is to escape his captors, track down Marcus, and receive the three gifts that will bring him into his own magical powers—before it’s too late. But how can Nathan find his father when there is no one safe to trust, not even family, not even the girl he loves?
Years after the hype I finally picked up this first book in a witches trilogy as a buddy read with La La in the Library. I wanted to give this a fair chance despite some of the mixed reviews I’ve seen. Unfortunately this is also going to be a mixed review. While there were certainly elements that I enjoyed, overall this book felt like a disappointment.
You can have a great concept if you don’t nurture your world it will fall flat. That is kind of what happened with most of Half Bad for me.
The first thing that had me doubting this book was the writing style. It is extremely jarring. It is very simplistic, very short sentences and little details of the surroundings. On the other hand it does give us the chance to get to know Nathan well and his emotions. But it also gets extremely repetitive in some chapters where Nathan is locked up or hiding. There is also the bit where at the start she writes a few chapters in the second person point of view (you). It isn’t that she doesn’t do this well but I am not sure if I see the point of it. I don’t think it added that much extra and later on in the book it isn’t used anymore.
The book starts of slow as we follow Nathan from a child to his teens. While I understand why this is done I think we could have done with a few less details on his life. The book struggles for the rest of the story to truly get out of that slow pacing. It isn’t until the very end where something truly interesting happens. I am curious to read on to see where this set up (because that is really what this book is) will lead us to.
But it isn’t all bad. I did enjoy Nathan as a character. I couldn’t help but feel for him through the abuse and discrimination he suffered. But personality wise he was also interesting. Very strong willed and not someone who will let his head hang down easily. He is a survivor. Two other great additions to the story were Gabriel and Arren. Especially Nathan’s relationship with his half brother was so precious and real. Their bond really shined through.
I will read on with this trilogy as I own the other two books but they aren’t a high priority.