Series: Half Life Trilogy, #1
Publisher: Penguin Australia
Release Date: March 3, 2014
Genres: Fantasy, Paranormal, YA
Source: Received in exchange for review
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Half Bad by Sally Green is a breathtaking debut novel about one boy's struggle for survival in a hidden society of witches.
You can't read, can't write, but you heal fast, even for a witch.
You get sick if you stay indoors after dark.
You hate White Witches but love Annalise, who is one.
You've been kept in a cage since you were fourteen.
All you've got to do is escape and find Mercury, the Black Witch who eats boys. And do that before your seventeenth birthday.
I’ve sat at my desk for a good twenty minutes just pondering on how the heck I am going to write a coherent review. My thoughts are awfully conflicting so let’s get right to it!
Half Bad isn’t exactly about witches and all the paranormal crap, it zones in on our main character, Nathan, and his life story. As a child of a White Witch (good) and a Black Witch (bad), Nathan’s life is not easy at all–especially since his father is one of the most powerful and dangerous witches ever. He is neither good or evil. He is neither white or black. Society thinks Nathan will turn out the same so they shun him, fear him, interrogate him and keep a close eye on him. Nathan’s story is told mainly in first person (but the occasional second person) and we follow his life journey from a young age, till his seventeen birthday. Half Bad had a pretty classic topic: good versus evil. However the way the author executes the idea was very well done. This story is a pretty bleak one, about a boy being hunted and tortured, hated and caged up just because of his status: a Half Blood.
I also loved Nathan’s narration. He is not particularly intelligent but his narration was unique and strong. It was utterly honest and wholly mesmerising, I felt completely attached to the novel and could understand what Nathan was going through. His life has been a twist of bleak and intensity. Furthermore, I adored the writing. It was kept simplistic to match with Nathan’s lack of ability with his academics but was absolutely beautiful. A while ago I did see some reviews who were not fans of Nathan or the writing and I do see why, so please note that Sally Green’s writing style is not for everyone. But definitely worth a try.
Half Bad shows really well how things are not just black or white. There are a lot of grey areas. Just because someone’s parents are evil, doesn’t mean the child is too. Just because leader is good and pure, that doesn’t mean the followers are just like the leader. I loved seeing other sides to some of the characters in Half Bad. I found it one of the most fascinating parts.
The pacing threw me off. It’s dragging and slow pace made me feel bored at times. There is a lot of tension and build-up throughout the read but the ending felt rather anti-climatic. It left me there thinking: and that’s it? All of that for this? I think there should have been better plot progression or just something a little more interesting going on in the background. I mean, we find out near the beginning that when a Witch turns seventeen, he/she will receive 3 gifts and the blood of their ancestors to become an actual Witch. Nathan’s journey is basically to just find his Black Witch father so he doesn’t die.
Also, I do not quite get why there is a love interest in this book. Annalise and Nathan have a relationship going on during the book but it’s very little and not significant. But I can’t help but think: Then why have it there? There was no need from a romantic plot line in Half Bad. Annalise was such a pointless character, she had no impact on the plot at all.
Half Bad did shine with it’s narration, writing and idea however I felt that there needed to be a much more even pace and perhaps less pointless and random characters. I recommend this to people who love a good coming of age story with a fantasy world set in the background.
~Thank you Penguin Australia for sending me this copy!~
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