Series: Half Life #1
Publication Date: March 3rd 2014
Half Bad by Sally Green was one of those books that I was desperate to get my hands on as soon as I heard about it. The minute I saw the word 'witch' in the synopsis, I was completely sold and was impatiently waiting for it to be released. I ended up picking this one up a lot sooner that I'd intended to because I'd just read and extremely disappointing witch book and I really wanted one that was going to be great - and I'd heard a lot of good things about Half Bad.
Half Bad follows Nathan who is half white witch, half black witch which means he has the potential to be either a good or bad witch. The government are cracking down on Half Code's and Nathan's rights are restricted. The rules keep getting tighter and tighter, and Nathan knows he has to make his escape soon otherwise he might not come into his powers at 17, and he might die.
First off, I just want to say that the only thing stopping this book from being a 5 star for me is that I felt like quite a lot of it was extremely slow paced. As much as I was enjoying the book, I did feel like it was dragging quite a bit and I found myself wishing things were moving faster or that there was a bit more action because I was getting slightly bored. However, that doesn't mean that I didn't completely love this book, because I did.
Nathan is actually a pretty strong main character. The amount of abuse and torture this poor boy is put through during the book was horrible, but he always manages to stay strong and bounces back. He's terrified though - and no wonder. He's feared because his mother was a white witch and his father is the most powerful black witch ever. Most of the time, Nathan just comes across as a regular boy with regular problems like bullies, first loves and coming of age. I really loved Nathan.
I think the main thing I loved about Half Bad was that even though it's about witches, there were also a lot of real life problems incorporated too. Nathan's father has abandoned him and he's determined to do whatever he can to prove himself so that his father will come back; His first love is a white witch and Nathan is supposed to hate them and he's picked on and beaten up for being different. And then Nathan is tortured and locked in a cage by white witches because they're scared of him.
Family is extremely important to Nathan and his relationship with his half brother was so sweet. Nathan and Arran had such a strong bond and Arran was always looking out for Nathan. Deborah was also really lovely, but Jennifer was a complete cow and I really, really hated her.
I loved discovering more about the white and black witches and, like Jess from Jess Heart Books said in her review, the line between good and bad was blurred in this book. You'd think that the white witches, because they're good, would be nice, kind and helpful. You'd think that the black witches, because they're bad, would be evil and trying to kill everyone. However, this isn't strictly the case. There were some pretty horrible white witches in Half Bad who were torturing Nathan and torturing other black witches, and there were some really nice black witches who were helpful and kind. So that was definitely an interesting part of the book.
The ending was definitely my favourite part of the book and I loved seeing Nathan interacting with Marcus. I'm super excited for Half Wild now and I can't wait to see how the story is going to continue.
Overall, Half Bad was a great debut from Sally Green. I adored the world-building, the real life issues and the magic. It was a brutal read, but it was a great one.