Half Bad, Sally Green

Half Bad: cover of first novel by Sally Green, predicted to be next Harry Potter or Twilight Saga

Warning: This one DOES contain spoilers!

Synopsis:

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?  

Review:

I have a love/hate relationship with this book. I loved the idea. Hated everything else. It felt to me like it was too clear cut- you had to hate this character, you were meant to like that one. I like books where you can make your own mind up, where you end up loving the badie because they still had goodness. In this one, Jasmine was just…evil. Arron was just lovely. You had no other way of seeing them so you had no other way of feeling.

I loved the idea of the black and white witches. Because the white’s, they are meant to be good and pure, but are they? As you go through the book, you realise that they may not be as lovely as first thought. I mean, look at the legislations put against our main, Nathan.  First, he’s got to be tested every year to see what he is- yeah, fine- but then it gets worse. No Giving Ceremony without Permission. Every person he talks to must be reported, no matter how little interaction they have. Then his movements are stopped. Everywhere he goes must be reported. Is that really for the safely of the Whites, or another way of isolating someone that’s different.
Another part of this that was good was the ‘nature vs nurture’ aspect of Nathans growing up. What makes him evil- is it the black witches in his family, or is it the way the whites treat him before they even know what he is like?

The plot was a bit of a problem.  Like, here we have a boy whose hated for what he is and there’s been a prophesy where only he will kill his father with a particular weapon so everyone wants him! Hurray! But not for the right reasons…
So we have 380 pages where…he’s running from everyone and refusing to kill people and being beaten up…but not much else. Seriously. There were pages and pages of people being rude to him, or being locked up for ages, but no actual story. I don’t want to read an entire chapter about the mud under his feet as he is ordered to run.
Not only that, but where is the world building? So these witches, right? Where did they come from? Who first realised they needed three gifts? Like, did they all die before this happened? What happened to get the split between the two types of witches? And why are the black ones hated so much (like, the whites seem to kill just as many people…)
And that’s just the background part of the world building…

Although I didn’t agree with the way characters were perceived, I have to say they were all solid in who they were.  I loved that you could see them change their views as we move though the book- take Celia. At first, its clear she doesn’t want to like Nathan. There is a history between the families so (once again) she judges him for his father. However, the more time they spend together, the more she realises that he is not like his father, and she grows to like him. It’s not easy to tell, not until she fights the fact the Council want to take him away.

Let’s talk about the love interest. Annalise. (collective groan from everyone who already knows my view on this). Why? Why is Nathan so obsessed with her- and yes, I am using the word obsessed, since what, they met at eleven, talked like, twice and then they didn’t see each other until the kiss. That’s pretty much it. And then for the rest of the book (where you see her for a single second) he worries about her and thinks about her. Like, come on. You have both grown up, this obsession you have with her is a childish dream. It really really annoyed me, because it felt like Green had gone ‘AHA I am writing a book for teenagers, I must add a love interest!’
NO!
I’m sorry, but romance with characters should not just be on paper. You should see the chemistry as it unfolds and wish that they do get together. With Annalise and Nathan, I just wanted to slam the book shut and scream.
Plus side…I see a bit more from Gabriel, who is one of the few characters in this book I actually really like.

I could go on but I will stop, for my sanity and yours, and I will leave you with this:

The title of the book sums up my thoughts perfectly. It’s a bit more than Half Bad.

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