Half Bad Review

Sunday, September 21, 2014

School has started and has begun sucking away at everything, but I am serious about it not taking time away from reading. So, Friday when I finished Half Bad by Sally Green (and loved it) I was so enthusiastic about sharing my thoughts on here, but didn't have time till today! Alas, not only is school in full-gear but it's also football season; and although, football isn't my "thing," it is a big part of college life and what my friends do, needless to say every weekend is jam-packed. I know, what a struggle! But in reality, everyday just flies by next to the other with a list of things to do that either gets checked off or doesn't, and in that case I need to work twice as hard to make up for it. Enough of all this chit-chat though, and on to the book!


I feel as though a couple months ago there was a lot of hype surrounding Half Bad, I remember several Booktubers reviewing it and putting it on their TBR piles. And like usual, the more hype there is around things, the more I tend to veer away a bit so that I don't let all those outside opinions affect my feelings (also, because if I really end up loving a certain book, I don't have to wait in agony for the next one- smart I know). I'm so happy that that is what ended up happening with this book because I really did enjoy it so much! This book will be part of a trilogy, the Half Life trilogy, with the second expansion, Half Wild coming out March 2015. That means it's pretty close time wise for its release and I don't have to be waiting around for too long *does happy dance*

I wrote a really quick summary on Goodreads and tweaked it a little on here, so if you have no idea what this story centers around keep on reading! The main protagonist and narrator of the story is Nathan, a half-blood, who is half White Witch and half Black Witch. White Witches are determined by a council called the Council of White Witches (very straightforward) to be the "good" ones of the world, with pure and well-meant motives in keeping witches in line and functioning. Black Witches are unrelentingly persecuted by White Witches, who have deemed them for their entire existence to be horrible and ruthless beings from birth- bringing nothing but torment and malignancy to everything around them. Nathan is the wildcard in this entire witch-world that seems to be confused by his mere presence, perceiving him differently and behaving horribly since his creation. His mother dead, supposedly because of his existence, is something that his family continuously points out and blames him for. His father a notorious and infamous Black Witch has never meet Nathan and is not allowed within any close proximity of him since birth; on the contrary, Nathan has been constantly drilled his entire life on the loathsome kind of person that his father is, taking lives and stealing powers from other witches for his own selfish motives. Following Nathan from a very young age to his present-day 17-year-old self, readers get a sense of how cruel and hurtful the world has been towards him because of the hybrid witch bloodline that runs through his veins. Being able to receive three gifts from someone in his family to procure his witch "power" is the main struggle throughout this first book, as Nathan flees not only his family but the council to survive and maintain some sort of independence.   

If that huge chunk of a plot line didn't pull you in...maybe I should toughen up on my writing skills... What I love about reading is that if you look further into the storyline you can procure really interesting questions and topics, and that's exactly what occurred with Half Bad for me. Already from the title (so I'm not spoiling anything), you can get that Nathan's character will struggle with his "good side," the White Witch part from his mother's part, and his "bad side," the Black Witch side from his father. He has been closely monitored his whole life and kept at arm's length in fear of his unpredictable nature, automatically thought of as being aggressive and prone to do bad. And that brings into question the whole issue of nature vs. nurture; Nathan has this loving quality to him where he breaks down his defensive walls and brings people in, but so few get to experience that because they never give him the opportunity or compassion for him to show it.  As you read on, you really get to see Nathan's complex shell of a being, and how all his emotions have been compacted in his self through the good and the bad.

I also really enjoyed the way that Sally Green presented the story to readers through Nathan's life journey. The writing was very simple and to the point, a bit choppy and dry at times but it added to the dark undertaking that you embark on when reading. Nathan isn't too great at writing or reading, but Green does a great job at using his hardship and difficult life thus far to present this somber, dark world to readers. The witch society that was created was also very unique to the entire book, as I've never really read anything like that before, and its originality helped me in becoming more engaged with the characters and world-building. Overall, this should definitely be added to the top of your TBR! So if you're into magical elements and a bit of a grim undertone to a Young Adult book, be sure to pick this one up! Let me know if you've had a chance to read this- what did you like or what didn't you like? Also, if you're currently in school how's it going? I would love to know!

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