Author: Sally Green
Published by: Penguin on 3rd March 2014
Genres: Young Adult, Fantasy, Paranormal, Witches
Series: Half Life #1
Series: Half Life #1
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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 was one of my most anticipated books of 2014. The hype over this book was crazy! Being completely honest here, I didn't read the book until it spent a good couple weeks lying on my TBR pile and I don’t know why I had left it unread for so long! I kicked myself for it.
This book lived up to the constant excitement, and as Sally Green’s first novel, it went off with a large bang with added fireworks.
So what’s the story? Well, if you’re a lover of Fantasy and want to read something different then you will love this book. Especially if you like Witches. In this world, there are Black witches who are seen as the ‘bad’ witches and the White witches who are seen as the ‘good.’ Our male protagonist, Nathan, is half Black witch from his Father and half White from his Mother and for this, he receives a lot of grief. To top it all off, he can’t even read or write. In a society ruled by White witches, Nathan is an outcast, for half breeds such as him are not welcomed with open arms into the witch society. Since the passing of his Mother and disappearance of his Father, Nathan lives with his dear Gran and his half brother and sisters Arran, Deborah and Jessica. The witches live among normal humans but in secrecy.
Now I haven’t read many witch books, certainly not one like this, so I was interested to see how things would play out. One thing to look at is the narrative; it’s quite a change from the typical book. Normally I’d read books that shift between 1st and 3rd person but Green welcomes us with the first few chapters being told in 2nd person then moving on Nathan’s point of view in 1st person, eventually shifting back and forth, even reading extracts from other characters. For me, 2nd person narrative really gets the reader into the protagonists’ shoes, because you are forced to picture it and feel the surroundings described. It was a great experience to come to terms with the harsh situations Nathan was thrown into. It really helped me to bond with him! We get to watch Nathan grow from being a withdrawn child to a courageous teenager as he begins to build up his confidence. He struggles to find his place and survive in the White witch ruled society and it was commendable. I also really loved his relationship with his half brother Arran, who seems to be one of three members of his family who treats him kindly, alongside his sister Deborah and Gran. The obvious evil sibling, Jessica, is the complete opposite as she despises anyone who is not a pure White witch. I grew to love Arran due to his sincere love for his half brother and his protectiveness over Nathan, it was really admirable!
Now this story doesn’t just revolve around Nathan hanging around, waiting for his father to one day return and grant him 3 gifts on his 17th birthday so he can be a full witch. No. There’s more to the story than meets the eye. There’s a huge adventure waiting for us so be prepared to see a lot of running!
Okay, so the first book really just ignited my curiosity, it wasn’t as action packed as I hoped but I’m sure that will all change in the second book! Half Bad still makes it into the list of my all time favourite books.We get to know the outline of the world Green has built and meet memorable characters and small little details that really get you eager to continue reading! I strongly recommend you read it if you haven't already. It was a great start to the new series and I'm itching for the next one!
Bonus points: The cover of this book is absolutely gorgeous and made its way into top position of my all time favourite book covers!