Half Bad by Sally Green
Series: Half Bad,
Also in this series: Half Wild, Half Lies
Published by Viking Juvenile on 04 March 2014
Genres: Abduction, Action & Adventure, Emotions & Feelings, Fantasy, Magic, Mystery & Detective, Paranormal, People & Places, Politics & Intrigue, Self-Esteem & Self-Reliance, Social Issues, Survival Stories, Suspense, Urban Fantasy, Witches & Wizards
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Also by this author: Half Wild, Half Lies
Place(s) Traveled To: London, England // Liverpool, England // Cambridge, England // Geneva, Switzerland // Unnamed places in England, Scotland and Wales
First Line(s): There’s these two kids, boys, sitting close togehter, squished in by the big arms of an old chair.
I wasn’t sure about Half Bad by Sally Green when I first started it and even less sure when it opened in the second person. I’m not a fan of second person narration because whenever the text might say “You would do x” I’m always like…no, no I wouldn’t. Thankfully though the bulk of the book isn’t told this way and that makes when it is told in second person a bit more haunting and real. I’m really glad that I didn’t put Half Bad down when I first saw the second person narration because once Green moved past that I became totally engrossed in this story. I loved how Green wove in the rich history of this hidden magical world without long boring info dumps. In some ways, Half Bad, reminded me of Harry Potter, but a darker story and one where those who are labeled as good may not be as good as you think.
Half Bad is the story of Nathan who is a mixed breed witch. That is his mother is a white witch and his father is a black witch and as the two races don’t exactly get along this isn’t a common thing and people don’t know how to react. So people do what they do best when they fear the unknown. They judge actions before they can be done and they place sanctions and restrictions to further curb any potential wrong doing. In Nathan’s world its guilty until proven innocent and its near on impossible to prove ones innocence.
Half Bad is a fast story and I whipped through the pages which isn’t normally a surprise with me when I love a book. But when I read this I was acting as Primary Minion to the Pig-Tailed Overlord (aka my 4 year old niece) and she wore me out! But I always found time to read this one because I needed to know how it ended. I needed to know how Nathan ended up in a cage and most importantly I needed to know if he escaped. Half Bad kept me on the edge of my seat as it moved from the past to the present and my heart broke over and over for all the Nathan experienced. And yet through out it all Nathan kept his humanity and his soul when it would have been so easy to just give up.
Half Bad has a lot of potential discussion elements to it about just how far humans can go and the power of big brother and the laws they create. How easy it is to give up something small, a little at a time, before realized that all those small things add up to something bigger and scarier than you imagined. Green is a talented story teller and weaves in the big issues that make you think all while not seeming like she’s educating you at all. My main issue with the story is that it took too long for certain things to happen so that when they did it felt rushed and left me a bit unsatisfied. I get that there was a lot of ground to cover with the world building but wish that the story was a little longer to flesh out certain details. Overall though, I really enjoyed this one and am eagerly awaiting its sequel, Half Wild, which is expected to be released in early 2015.