(Half Life Trilogy # 1)
By: Sally Green
Pub. Date: March 4, 2014
Publisher: Viking Juvenile
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.
This book was very different than anything I have ever read before. Half Bad starts with young Nathan locked up in a cage. He is chained, beaten and starved and neither the reader nor Nathan knows why. Through flashbacks we lean why and how Nathan is in his current condition. Nathan broke my heart. Born to a white witch mother and a black witch father, everyone hates him for being a half blood. He wants to be good, but he has an older sister that treats him horribly and the kids at school never leave him alone. He is very close to his brother and grandmother though. I loved how sweet his brother was to him. It was definitely a nice change of pace for Nathan, having someone care about him. Nathan was a very interesting character. He's been through so much in his short life, but he is still full of love. He also wants to know his father, despite his father being a murderer. The inner struggles of Nathan was fascinating to read.
The first half of the book, where we read about the cage and his life before the cage was amazing. The writing was fast paced and I was not able to put the book down. I needed to know what was going to happen next. The second half dragged on for me though. I stopped caring about Nathan and what he was trying to accomplish. I think if the book was 100 pages less, I wouldn't have anything negative to say, but it was just the same thing over and over again. Nathan had to go here and talk to this person, then he had to go here and talk to this person. Basically, I was just bored at the end, which caused me to drop my rating.
Despite having a slow ending, I still very much enjoyed Half Bad and I am interested to see where this story goes from here.
3.5 stars rounded up to 4.