By Sally Green
Publication date: March 4, 2014
Viking Juvenile, 416 pages
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.
— Goodreads.com description
This book is not for the thin-skinned.
It’s been a few weeks since I read Half Bad and when I think back on it one word comes to mind: Torture.
It’s tough, you guys. Nathan is beaten, bloodied, mentally ripped apart and kicked while he’s down. And it’s not an easy thing to read.
But what I liked about Half Bad is all the moral issues that raises. What makes someone “good” or “bad”? Sally Green looks at all the shades of gray in between right and wrong, and I love that it got me feeling and got me thinking.
This book got a ton of hype in the book world — a huge bidding war, tons of foreign rights and the movie rights sold right away — and I see why. The writing is gorgeous and different. Plus, MAGIC. Who doesn’t love witch books? Well, I adore them, and this is no exception.
Is it an all-time favorite? Probably not, because the last bit of the book fell a little flat and the romance wasn’t built up as much as you know I always want. Still, I’m very impressed by Green’s debut and can’t wait to read more.
Recommended for fans of Samantha Shannon, Jessica Spotswood, Laini Taylor and Leigh Bardugo!