By: Melanie | March 18, 2014 | (27) Comments

Review: Half Bad by Sally GreenHalf Bad by Sally Green
Series: Half Life Trilogy, #1
Publisher: Penguin Australia
Release Date: March 3, 2014
Genres: Fantasy, Paranormal, YA
Pages: 400
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!

The Good:

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 Bad:

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.

In Summary:

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!~

3.5 Stars
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Owner (and crazy nut) at YA Midnight Reads
Melanie is one of the totally fabulous bloggers at YA Midnight Reads. She's a 16 year old student from Melbourne, Australia. She is normally found binge watching TV series, reading , blogging, procrastinating or fangirling about how Percabeth is the best ship ever. She's also a lover of caps lock and uses it excessively.

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27 Responses to Review: Half Bad by Sally Green

  1. Ha, so it’s only a HALF bad read? Okay, sorry! I just couldn’t resist the lameness of that pun. xD *ahem* So yes! I’m getting a review copy for this and I’m quite excited…I’ve heard a lot of mixed stuff about it, but the premise is the stuff I love. I AM worried about it being slow, though. Eh. My mind easily wanders.
    Cait @ Notebook Sisters recently posted…Looking for JJ by Anne Cassidy (Also: I write an incredibly cryptic review)My Profile

  2. I’ve heard mixed reviews on this one. Premise is awesome. Although why are the Black Witches always bad? Why can’t we have an awful White Witch for once? Or maybe the Purple Witches are bad and the Orange Witches are good. Sorry. Tangent. Great review! 🙂
    Emily @ The Loony Teen Writer recently posted…Top Ten Tuesday: books on my autumn TBR listMy Profile

  3. In a way, I’m kind of glad you rated this half way. It sounds really selfish, but I’ve been seeing ‘oh it’s amazing’ and ‘oh it’s rubbish’ everywhere and it’s nice to have someone who’s very in the middle. I’m a little wary about it now, I might not like it, but I’ll never know otherwise, yet I’m sorry it wasn’t as enjoyable for you as it was for others. Do you think you liked it enough to continue with the series, or are you not thinking that far ahead yet? 🙂 Still, really good review, the good and the bad, definitely half ‘bad’ then 😉
    Amanda @ Book Badger recently posted…Top Ten Tuesdays #16 – Books On My Spring 2014 TBR ListMy Profile

  4. Lexa Cain says:

    I really enjoyed reading the review. Although the premise may have some tension, if you felt a bit bored, I’m sure it would be a dnf for me. Thanks for the info. 🙂
    Lexa Cain recently posted…Escalation/Stephen Tremp Guest PostMy Profile

  5. Amir says:

    I’ve read a few reviews of this book and I think they pretty much stated the same points that you did especially regarding the love interest. I guess this is one of those moments when the book’s title served as some sort of premonition regarding the book!
    Amir recently posted…{Cover Reveal} Kendare Blake’s Mortal GodsMy Profile

  6. A half bad read, huh? Pun intended. LOL! Based on booktuber’s reviews about the book, they pretty much said the same things that you did. But one said that if you liked Harry Potter you should read this, so I don’t know, should I?
    Dre @ Sporadic Reads recently posted…Book Review 142 : Pushing The Limits by Katie McGarryMy Profile

    • Melanie says:

      I think it is definitely worth a try, Dre. But I don’t like the comparisons with HP. Nothing can be as epic as HP. Half Bad wasn’t even really about witches, it was more about a life story of a boy who has always failed to fit in because of his parents.

  7. Sometimes I don’t understand why romance is included in certain books either…it just doesn’t sound like it works. I’m still curious about this one though!
    ShootingStarsMag recently posted…Tune in Tuesday with Idina MenzelMy Profile

  8. I have been seeing this one around and I am tempted to read it because we don’t get to many male witches as protagonists in YA, so I am intrigued by that, too bad the pacing and ending are quite right. Still I think I might try it sometime.
    Heidi@Rainy Day Ramblings recently posted…Tell Me Something Tuesday #49: Reading in GenresMy Profile

  9. This isn’t a book that interest me but I have been seeing a lot of reviews similar to yours. At least you did enjoy it for the most part 🙂
    Nereyda @Mostly YA Book Obsessed recently posted…Top Ten Tuesday (1): Spring TBR!My Profile

  10. A lot of people have been loving the idea behind this one but have been super disappointed by the pacing of it. I feel like I’d have the same issues as you and I’m by no means a patient person so I feel like I wouldn’t like it that much. Fantastic review, Mellybean! <33
    Eileen @ Singing and Reading in the Rain recently posted…Tuney Tuesday: Ignorance by ParamoreMy Profile

  11. I have an e-copy of this one and should definitely get to it, huh? So stoked that you enjoyed it, Melanie! I’m a bit worried about the writing style not being for everybody, though. And the dragging pace. o_o Anyway, fantastic review, dear! <3
    Aimee @ Deadly Darlings recently posted…“Waiting On” Wednesday: SublimeMy Profile

    • Melanie says:

      Yes, totally! I read a few reviews today and they say the writing style is very “British” as it is set in England and is written by a UK author. I think that might help you decide?

  12. Hmm, I am not so sure about this on. I hate draggy pacing. And Nathan makes me weary. Not sure if I would like him.
    Jennifer Bielman recently posted…Review: Unhinged by A.G. HowardMy Profile

  13. Damn, this book sounded so interesting from its blurb. But I hate useless characters that have no point being there expect to make subplots. Hmm, may shelf this for a later time then. Great review Mel!
    Joy @ Thoughts By J recently posted…Trailers Galore – The Maze Runner & Disruption by Jessica ShirvingtonMy Profile

  14. Melliane says:

    it’s always difficult when it’s slow I agreee it’s a bigproblem for me. But it sounds also really intereting so I should try it!
    Melliane recently posted…The Problem with Promises by Leigh EvansMy Profile

  15. Megan says:

    I’m totally on the fence about whether or not I want to try this one.
    Megan recently posted…Review: SekretMy Profile

  16. Great review Mel, I’ve heard both good and bad things about this book but I think (like with most books) this one is based on personal preference. I will be picking this up soon, and your review has prepared me for both the good and the bad.
    Jeann @ Happy Indulgence recently posted…The Unidentified Redhead by Alice Clayton Review: Hilarious sexy readMy Profile

  17. Stephanie B says:

    This doesn’t seem to be what I expected but it sounds different. I need to get my hands on this.
    Stephanie B recently posted…Book Panic Strikes AgainMy Profile

  18. Tanja says:

    I was so excited for this one as it promised a lot, but now after reading all the reviews I’m not so sure. I mean I still think I’ll enjoy the idea but slow pacing is something that turns me off too. Glad you enjoyed this one at the end. Great review, Mel 😉
    Tanja recently posted…Waiting on Wednesday (#87)My Profile

  19. Giselle says:

    Oh hey you changed your design! Really cute! 🙂 And I liked this book too – though I found the plot didn’t progress enough for me and yeah the pacing and anticlimactic ending were downers for me as well. When he finally met his dad… that could have been so much more! I LOVED Nathan’s narration and the writing! I agree that it won’t be for everyone though but I’m glad you liked it too! 🙂 And the classic witch lore was really interesting too. Great review, honeybuns!
    Giselle recently posted…Review: Plus One by Elizabeth FamaMy Profile

  20. LOLOLOL!! I totally agree about the pacing. It definitely was off. The first part, about his childhood, was extremely interesting so I loved reading that. And then the middle part, where he goes from one place to the next, was simply so exhausting. Not only was it all over the place, it felt dragging, too. And then we got the most important part and it’s less than 10 pages and I’m like… “REALLY??? THIS IS WHAT WE’VE BEEN WAITING AND ANTICIPATING FOR THE MAJORITY OF THE BOOK???” it was so random and anti-climactic that I raged =_=

    Anyway, great review!!
    Faye @ The Social Potato recently posted…ARC Review: Sea of Shadows by Kelley ArmstrongMy Profile

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