Book Review: Half Bad

Book Review: Half BadHalf Bad by Sally Green
Series: Half Life Trilogy #1
Published by Penguin Group USA on March 4, 2014
Pages: 352
Buy on Amazon

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.

Nathan is a half code. Half black witch. Half white witch. In a world of witch witches, being half black witch is basically a death sentence. Especially when your father is the worst of the worst.

Going into Half Bad, I tried not to have many expectations. Looking at my copy alone, the amount buzz words was astounding. Add in the other buzz I had heard, it would have been easy to fall into the high expectations trap. But I didn’t want to do that. I have been burned one too many times before. I wanted to ignore all the buzz and just enjoy the read for what it was not whatever everyone else was saying. Right away, I was glad I did.

Half Bad is a read, for me, that falls easily into the ‘I don’t really know about this’ category. The tale starts off so bleak. So sad in a lot of ways. Here I was expecting a ‘nice’ witch read and while I was getting that to a point, I was also seeing the life of a misunderstood boy unfold. A life that to basically everyone else means nothing. I didn’t know what to think or how to feel.

Part of that is Nathan’s fault. Now, I can’t say that I loved his character 100%. He could be difficult, hard to get along with, but also sweet and caring…fiercely loyal to those he cared about. It was a weird experience. One moment not liking our main character, the next rooting for him. I was conflicted. Can I keep going with a character that I am not sure about? Is he evil… Is he good? Does any of that really matter?

At this point, I am not sure. It feels like Nathan’s tests are only beginning, and he has a lot to prove. To the white witches. To the black witches. To himself. To me as a reader. And only time will tell how it all turns out.

Final Verdict:

Half Bad was a hard read for me to swallow. Not knowing how I felt about what I had gotten into for over half of the read was different. My feelings one way or the other were constantly up for debate. I hated it, but I also loved it. Which make my overall feelings for Half Bad all over the place. So, I am not going to tell you to read it.. to not read it.. just go with your gut. Because Half Bad is the type of read that you will have to experience for yourself and decide.


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One response to “Book Review: Half Bad

  1. Lisa

    This book has been EVERYWHERE! And it seems that everyone and their grandmother is picking it up! I haven’t read too many books with witches, but I’ve been debating if I should pick this one up. Anyways, sorry to hear that your feelings are all over the board with Half Bad. Maybe give it another try in the future (: Awesome review!


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