Review - Half Bad by: Sally Green

by - Tuesday, June 17, 2014

Title: Half Bad
Author: Sally Green
Publisher: Viking Juvenile
Pages: 394
Format: Paperback Turkish translation
Series: Half Life Trilogy #1
Source: Received from Turkish publisher

Half Bad by Sally Green is a breathtaking 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.


My thoughts:

It seems like Sally Green has done a lot in her life except for writing-- she delivered newspapers, worked as a waitress while she was a student, worked as a bartender... Between 1985 and 2001, she worked as an accountant. This woman who's lived in the world of numbers and preferred movies to books even as a child attended creative writing classes at Open University in 2010 and then wrote Half Bad. I can only say WOW.

Viewed as a rival to Stephenie Meyer's Twilight, Half Bad is the story of an England where witches and "muggles" live together. (Green does NOT use this word by the way; I just didn't wanna say "regular people.") White Witches, as the name suggests, are the good witches. Black Witches, on the other hand, are the bad witches. Our main character Nathan is a mix of both; his mother is a White Witch, and his father Marcus is one of the most powerful Black Witches. The council can't tell whether he should be classified as a White or a Black Witch after their evaluations, and knowing who his father is, they're rather scared of him. This is because they think it's likely that he'll follow in his father's footsteps. This is why the 15-year-old Nathan finds himself at the hands of Celia, handcuffed and locked in a cage, waiting to turn 17 and receive his gift. Gift is a cute and happy word, but if these witches don't receive theirs, they die. 

I'm sure the world of witches is no stranger to most readers. Green must be aware of this because she wrote a story that even those who are familiar with witches can read in a single breath, use what they already know and still enjoy the excitement and suspense. First of all, our narrator being a male was refreshing for me because in YA, it's mostly females that tell their story. Also, there are obstacles in every story, yet what Green puts before Nathan are very, very dark, which makes you think about what he must be and will be feeling, how it'll all unravel. All through this, Nathan never seems to lose his sense of humor, which I guess is the only way he can hold on, and that makes you feel even more sorry for the poor thing.

The book is filled with as much light as the darkness. More like a "there's light at the end of the tunnel" kind of story, really. There's a romance when Nathan falls in love with Annalise, and his relationship with his brother Arran was very, very touching; you'll know what I mean when you read it especially if you have a brother or sister. Killing is in Nathan's blood, and most believe that he was made to kill. We will see in the next installments whether he will give in to the urge or not.

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