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Monday, January 19, 2015

Half Bad by Sally Green

I've been thinking about this review for a while now. Although I did like the novel because it's easy to read and the characters are likable, I'm on the fence about this one. I think I read it so fast because I kept thinking something BIG was going to happen, but it feels like nothing ever did. Except maybe in the last 30 pages or so.

On the surface, it's a very simple "boy vs the world" type of story but as you start to piece everything together, the novel is actually quite twisted. Overall, Sally Brown created a very dark and twisted world. In her magical world, witches live within the human society and the humans unaware of their existence. They govern themselves with a Council and as we learn more and more about the main character, Nathan, we slowly realize that this Council is just a bunch of fanatics that want to rid the world of Black Witches. Nathan is actually half White and half Black, and ever since he was born, he's been discriminated against because of his Black Witch father. Nathan has never met his father, yet other witches fear him because they assume he will grow up to be as evil as his father.

One of my major issues with Half Bad is its predictability and the fact that nothing much happens. Much of the book is about Nathan's upbringing. This book is very much like a superhero's origin story. The only way to completely understand Nathan's motives is to know about his childhood, but beyond his character's history, there isn't much of a story. Everything leads up to Nathan's 17th birthday because that is the day a witch is supposed to receive three gifts from one of his or her parents or grandparents, and drink their blood. This allows a witch to receive their "Gift", their one magical ability that defines them as a witch.

Personally, I think Nathan doesn't really help his case because he doesn't really go a long with the Council's wishes. He could have done exactly what they were expecting from a White Witch and his life could have been simpler and he could have avoided a lot of pain and suffering. Honestly, I'm not quite sure why he ends up in a cage. He didn't really do anything that bad, yet he's sentenced to suffering no teenager should endure. Nathan is quite a refreshing character since he's not your poster boy hero. He's awful in school. He's not really a great brother or grandson. He runs off to live and sleep in the woods countless times. He doesn't have much going for him yet he finds the strength to keep going.

Besides Nathan, I found all the other characters superficial. Some of them played a major roles yet weren't detailed enough, in my opinion. For example, Nathan's love interest, Annalise leaves much to be desired. The romance between the two is foolish and almost non existent. There's just nothing there! But Nathan would do anything for this girl. Annalise is simply boring, and it's kind of sad to say, but I really don't care what happens to her. I do love the relationship Nathan has with his brother Arran, however. The two youngest of the family, they get along quite well, and I love how Arran stands up for his little brother, when pretty much everyone else hates him for just being half Black. As for the many antagonists, it's easy to hate them all because they've always been against Nathan and they've all done horrible things to him, but I just wish we could understand their side of the story a little bit more. Are they really so much against Nathan because of half of his biology? Don't they have any hope that with a proper upbringing, the son of a killer could turn out to be normal?

I still don't know what to make of this novel. On one hand, I enjoyed reading it because it felt so natural. Nathan, as a narrator, was so easy to follow and I loved his no nonsense outlook on life. On the other hand, the story felt a little too fake and somewhat forced. It fell short of my expectations, especially since there was so much hype surrounding the book when it first came out. I'll be checking out the rest of the series, especially since the release date of the next book is right around the corner, but instead of purchasing the book, I might just borrow it from the library.

stephsig moon

Tynga is a 32 years old mom of two, from Montreal, working as a lab technician in an hospital specialized in heart disease. In her free time, she enjoys reading all things Paranormal and photography.

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