Half Bad Review

Half Bad
Rating: 5/5
Buy or Borrow: Buy
Source: Christmas Present

Half Bad by Sally Green is a breath-taking debut novel about one boy’s struggle for survival in a hidden society of witches.

You can’t read, can’t write, but you heal fast, even for a witch.

You get sick if you stay indoors after dark.

You hate White Witches but love Annalise, who is one.

You’ve been kept in a cage since you were fourteen.

All you’ve got to do is escape and find Mercury, the Black Witch who eats boys. And do that before your seventeenth birthday.


If that blurb isn’t enough to make you read it already, then hopefully this review will convince you.

When I first started reading this book, I must admit for the first 50 pages I sat thinking, ‘what. the. fuck.’ The narrative of this book is unlike anything I’ve ever read before which not only confused me at first but intrigued me; I’d read half the book within a few hours.

The story starts with the reader being introduced to a character that is in a cage, shackled and badly treated. We don’t know much about him apart from he’s trying to escape. We discover Nathan has a wristband on and his captor has told him that if he tries to escape, acid will leak from this wristband and burn his hand off. (Not the most cheerful of starts to a book!)

Before I explain any more, I think now is a good time to briefly explain some words before I use them:

White Witch – a ‘good’ witch
Black Witch – a ‘bad’ witch
Half code – half black/half white
Half blood – half black/half fain or half white/half fain
White Whet – a witch before their Giving (this happens on their 17th birthday)
Hunters – White Witches that hunt down Black Witches
Gift – once a witch has had their giving, they are given a ‘gift’, which they must find and control themselves

Nathan is a half code and his dad just happens to be the most infamous Black Witch of all-time. His dad is still alive and regularly kills other witches, eating their hearts as he does so to obtain their gifts and use them himself. Nathan is being held captive because the Council know of a prophecy that entails Nathan killing his father and they want him trained and ready for it when the time comes.

Nathan is being trained by Celia (his captor), who regularly beats him and forces him to do gruelling exercises to obtain his fitness and stamina for when faced with his father.

Whilst Nathan is captured, we get told a lot of his background story; about his siblings, Jessica, Debrah and Arran and his Gran, who has looked after him since his mother’s death. Nathan and Arran are extremely close and you genuinely empathise with Nathan at his loss of Arran when he’s taken away from them.

School is hell for Nathan as half-bloods are not seen as pure and they all know Nathan’s father, Marcus. Everyone hates him, all except one…

Nathan falls head over heels for Annalise, and she for him. Annalise is as pure White whet as they come. Will their love conquer all?

When Nathan does escape from Celia, he is left to fend for himself and seeks someone who will perform the Giving for him on his 17th birthday. The Giving is performed by a parent and Marcus is all Nathan has left. That’s his only option, isn’t it?
The rest of the book is the lead up to his 17th birthday and his desperation in finding someone to perform it. Will he find someone before time runs out? Will he get his Gift he’s so desperate for?

I honestly can’t rate this book enough, it is absolutely exceptional! (I’ve also just finished the second book in this series, Half Wild, which I will be posting the review of after this!) It is fast paced and I finished this book in one evening, it’s extremely hard to put down.

Nathan and Gabriel are the central characters for the majority of the book and I have fallen in love with Gabriel (even if he is gay and totally inaccessible!).

I think the author has done such a magnificent job at getting the reader to feel what the characters feel and empathise with them. You find yourself genuinely rooting for Nathan and his friends every step of the way. I love this book and am quite gutted I now have to wait for March 2016 for the end of the trilogy!

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