Rating: 4 out of 5 stars
Summary: “In modern-day England, witches live alongside humans: White witches, who are good; Black witches, who are evil; and sixteen-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 seventeenth 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.” (Summary found on Goodreads).
It was probably a mistake that I started reading this on finals day one and finished it that night when I could have studied a little more for my AP European History final (but I still did well, so do I have regrets? Nope). Anyway, this book was SO captivating that I couldn’t not keep reading. The descriptions were amazing and the plot was so dark and unique. I’ve never read anything written this way or like this before. In the beginning it started with second person point-of-view, which I thought I wouldn’t like, but for some reason it worked. I think the idea was to keep us detached from Nathan, especially during one of the more harsh points in his life.
I think my main complaint is that at some points I felt a little too detached, enough that I couldn’t connect with Nathan too well. I have confidence that the next book will fix this, especially since I think all it takes is getting to know the character more. In such a short book, there’s no way I (or anyone) could be expected to become attached to the characters.
Other than that, I was a little confused by the part when he was locked in the house with the witch. It seemed like it was supposed to be punishment and was very close to torture at some points, but then they would be laughing with each other and telling jokes…so I was puzzled. It was like evil took a break for a minute and then came back a little bit later. Maybe I missed something, but I just couldn’t understand this part.
Anyway, I can’t believe how under-hyped this book is. The plot is creative and entrancing and the characters are dark and mysterious. I also loved that it showed the grey areas between good and evil. Usually the world makes it seem as though everything’s black and white. You’re either good or you’re bad, but there’s always a blend and I loved that it wasn’t really clear what was good or bad here. Sure, people were White (good) or Black (evil) witches, but Nathan was in-between and struggling with the lines between good and evil. I’ve always loved these lessons in books.
I highly recommend picking up Half Bad, it’s a thrilling ride that you won’t want to miss.