[ARC Review] Half Bad by Sally Green

Friday, March 07, 2014

Title: Half Bad
Author: Sally Green
Series: Half Life Trilogy #1
Genre: YA Fantasy, Magic
Format: Hardcover, 416 pages
Release Date: March 4th 2014
Publisher: Viking Juvenile
Source: ARC received in exchange for honest review

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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.

Another book with tons of hype behind it, and this time it was hype from a very good friend that has a very similar reading taste as me, so there was an extra level to it. Although cautious I went in with an open mind and I will say that Half Bad is one of the most original YA Paranormal books I have ever read.

The tone of this book is crazy good. Although the writing style is very different and sporadic at times, it makes everything seem so much more urgent for the reader. I loved reading Nathan's voice as he explains how he became the boy he became, and how searching for his father showed him what being a Black Witch is all about. Now, back to the tone. This book is incredibly dark, and while I was reading it I could not help but think of the movie Hansel and Gretel: Witch Hunters. Why did it make me thing is that? Well the atmosphere is that movie is dark and ominous and the same can be said for Half Bad. I loved the descriptions of White and Black Witches and how Nathan struggles with who he is considering is half of both. Which side is more dominant? He takes this journey to find out.

Nathan himself was a great main character because he was so unreliable. He never knew which part of him was better, the Black or the White, and it was that uncertainly that made him one of my favorite characters in YA. the world around him made him believe that Black Witches were bad and White Witches were good, and since he was half Black that means his is therefore half bad. But the best part was Nathan realising that not everything is what it seems, and we have secondary characters to thank for that. These characters were instrumental in Nathans characer growth and were a distinct part of how this book would end.

I will say that the pacing of this book could have been a lot better. I felt like I would finish an amazing part with lots of action and tension, then there would be pages and pages of information dumping, and it kinds of broke up my reading pattern. Nevertheless I cannot wait to see where this series goes in the years to come, and I know it will only get darker from here on out, and a cant wait!

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