March 19, 2014

Review of Half Bad by Sally Green

Release Date: March 4, 2014
Publisher: Viking Juvenile
Page Count: 416

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.


Half Bad by Sally Green was the first book about witches I ever read and it was different (not bad, different) than I expected it to be. It wasn't bad, in fact it was pretty enjoyable, it's just that I was expecting more magic and fights between powerful witches. Those parts were a bit lacking but it was still a very good read and I am proud to call it the first witch book I have ever read.

Half Bad consists of white witches (the good) and black witches (the bad) and the story focuses on a boy, Nathan, who is half-white witch and half-black witch. He is hunted, imprisoned inside a cage, and is faced with increasingly larger attacks against him (not all physical, most are rules banning him from doing certain things like talking to white witches). He is neither good nor bad but in between, he is trusted by no one except for some of his family and a white witch he becomes friends with in school. His father is the most powerful black witch in existence and  his mother was a white witch. Personally I liked that the book was narrated by Nathan as I feel like it wouldn't have been as interesting if someone else had narrated it. He has a very unique voice and his narration is filled with a lot of darkness and grittyness but you will also see moments of love and tenderness as well as some humor scattered throughout the book. Half Bad starts off in second person but then turns into first person for the majority of the remainder of the book. I couldn't stop myself for rooting for him since he's just that kind of person and also felt sadness at all the moments where he suffered.

The plot wasn't exactly the fastest I've ever read but it had a good steady pace that I enjoyed. The plot follows Nathan journey from several years before his seventeenth birthday (if he doesn't get three gifts when he turns 17 from a family member he will lose his witch powers) to the day he turns seventeen and finally becomes a witch. A lot of background information is provided in the chapters where Nathan is young and you also read about some important events that effect the book. There are also several important secondary characters that are introduced and seen throughout the Half Bad. They include Celia (an ex-Hunter who keeps Nathan in the cage), Gabriel, Arran, Ellen, as well  as a couple others. I found myself like some of them and HATING several as well *cough* Annalise *cough* Altogether, Sally Green used the characters to make the book very enjoyable and even added several layers to some of them which makes me think they might be returning in the future books.

The only major concern I had about Half Bad was that the last few chapters were kind of lackluster when compared to previous chapters. However, the book ended with a pretty good ending (thankfully not a cliffhanger) that made me pretty excited to read the sequel. If you like books about witches, magic, and good YA book's then you should definitely read Half Bad.

4/5 - Really good book

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