Thursday, 6 March 2014

Book Review: Half Bad - Sally Green

Pub. Date- March 4th 2014 Publisher- Viking Juvenile Pages- 398 

Series- Half Life #1 Genre- Urban Fantasy/ Young Adult  Rating- 4 Stars

I received this courtesy of Viking Juvenile through 
Netgalley in return for an honest review.

Half Bad
"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."

Half bad is a breath taking mix of eerie writing, social commentary and a rollercoaster of emotions that carries you along. Set mostly in modern day UK where witches live along side with Fains (or us non-magical folk) and various mixes of the two. Witches are White and good or Black and evil anything more or less is completely undesirable. The White Witches are slowly killing off all Black Witches for the greater good of all White Witches. They have hunted down most of the Black Witches in Europe. Nathan the protagonist is a young boy who was given a terrible lot in all this.

Nathan is Half Bad as the title suggests, he has a White Witch from an upstanding family for a mother, but his father is the worst Black Witch alive. This makes Nathan evil in the eyes of nearly everyone and he’s given the label Half Code. Nathan is the only known Half Code and is monitored very closely by the Witches Council (these are only White Witches but they are the only council).  The Council monitor every aspect of Nathan life from who he can talk to, where he can go and most importantly if he can receive his 3 gifts on his 17th birthday.

This brings us to Nathan’s main challenge, he has to somehow get his gift from his father who he’s never met and has been told is inherently evil or do whatever the Council will him to do and receive the gift from his Nan. This takes us to the point where spoilers start coming in.

Nathan is a really interesting character, he is abused by everyone besides his family but he’s still trusting in a way. I really got drawn in by all the intrigue and fast paced plot that lasted up until the middle. Everything was spaced in a nice flowing manner; I was never over whelmed with the how many events happen even though there was so much happening. 

After getting half way through it, it really hit home that nothing had really happened in the way of concluding the plot. Nothing was drawn to a close if anything, more plot points where being added. Nathan is in practically the same situation as he started in and when the ending does come around it seems to wrap up way too quickly for the amount of things that are going on.

The world building is wonderful in this; it is very vivid and just plain enjoyable. Sometimes it did seem underplayed and over shadowed by the strong plot but it didn’t feel lacking. The new take on Witch folklore felt complex enough to be real but still understandable with all of the new idea. Gift, Hunters, White and Black Witches were all explained with feeling like you were getting an education. 

In conclusion the end was very anticlimactic but still enjoyable and there is a lot deeper meaning to everything. I can’t wait for the second book in the series Half Wild to come out to carry on with everything that happened. This is Sally Greens debut book as well!

Have you read this? Is this on your tbr?


  1. After reading your review and realising that this book is slightly over-hyped, I still really need to get my hands on a copy! Thanks for the great review!

    1. Glad you liked it. It is definitely worth a read, I think the next book in the series would be better now that some of the basic stuff is cleared up.

    2. I think that that's generally the case - do you know when the second book is being published?

    3. Goodreads tells me it's exspected some time in 2015 but I think it's still being edited at the moment.

  2. There were so many up and down reviews on this book that I just had to read it for myself to find out! Now I can see why! I ended up giving it 3 stars. It was just, ehhhh, to me! At first I was zooming through the pages but then it got a bit lack luster. Your right about one thing: hopefully the 2nd book will be better now that the basics are covered!
    Thanks for sharing your thoughts and review!!
    Book Hangovers Blabs Books


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