Author: Sally Green
Genre: Young Adult | Witches | Magic
Publisher: Viking Books for Young Readers
Publication Date: March 4, 2014
Wanted by no one.Hunted by everyone.
Sixteen-year-old Nathan lives in a cage: beaten, shackled, trained to kill. In a modern-day England where two warring factions of witches live amongst humans, Nathan is an abomination, the illegitimate son of the world's most terrifying and violent witch, Marcus. Nathan's only hope for survival is to escape his captors, track down Marcus, and receive the three gifts that will bring him into his own magical powers—before it's too late. But how can Nathan find his father when there is no one safe to trust, not even family, not even the girl he loves?
Half Bad is an international sensation and the start of a brilliant trilogy: a gripping tale of alienation and the indomitable will to survive (goodreads).
Half Bad was nothing I was expecting, and I say that in the best way possible.
Plot: The amazing thing about Half Bad is how time is fluid. In 400 pages, we explore about 6 years of Nathan's life, and I never felt lost once. We start with little Nathan who is suffering both emotional and physical abuse from two separate people. It's hard not to get sucked into this world and I devoured this in just a few days. Plot-wise, we learn very little about Nathan and his involvement with the witches, but his character is well developed in this first installment.
Characters: My favorite aspect of this book is the characters and how I felt a connection to each of them. This was a great feat because Half Bad isn't quite linear; it's not odd to start reading about Nathan exploring something, and then the next chapter will take place two months later. Regardless, each character has a purpose served a purpose and definitely made the story for me. Half Bad's greatest strength is that it explores the gray in a world that only sees black and white.
Worldbuilding: I don't read enough books that take place outside the United States so exploring the United Kingdom was a treat. I liked exploring a new continent and Green used her world well. Nathan covers a lot of ground in his adventures, and each location was vividly described.
Short N Sweet: Half Bad is unlike any witches novel you have ever read. This first novel serves more as set up, but it's clearly setting up something amazing!