Release Date: March 4th 2014
Series: The Half Bad Trilogy #1
Genres: Boys & Men, Family, Fantasy & Magic, Fiction, General, Young Adult
In modern-day England, witches live alongside humans: White witches, who are good; Black witches, who are evil; and sixteen-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 seventeenth 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.
If I had to describe HALF BAD in one word it would be: original. I’m all about a unique storyline, especially in YA, and that is what this book delivered. While it was not without faults, I would definitely say that this is my favorite novel about witches.
Part of the originality comes from its unique POV; it switches back and forth from first (Nathan “I”) and second person (Nathan “You”) with the majority being in first person after a few chapters in second. This will not be for everyone, and while it kind of fits with the way the story is told, I am still not completely sure what the purpose was.
I would say this book is very character driven; this is Nathan’s story and the novel focuses more on him and how he reacts as opposed to what is going on around him. On the positive side, this allows readers to really get to know and feel for the character. On the negative side, not much development is given to secondary characters or events. It comes down to what your preference is.
HALF BAD reminded me how fun the paranormal side of young adult can be. It was the first book in a long while (excluding fantasy books) that made me say:
Most of that stems from the world building and magic system that has the potential to be very complex (in a good way), but not overly so. While we were given the basics, I would have liked to see a lot more. I am very interested in the White Witches v.s. Black Witches concept because I have a feeling there is more to that than meets the eye.
The details given about the world and magic fit in very well with the plot though, and the story never felt like it stopped to explain something, so the pacing never faltered when it came to explanation.
However, there were some slow sections and parts that felt repetitive because the character was put in the same situation multiple times. While the novel has a clear climax and somewhat of a resolution to the problem introduced, not much really happened. It is an entertaining read, but definitely serves as an introduction to the series.
With all that said, I’m excited about this series and am looking forward to the sequel.