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.
The sign of a good book is when the characters feel as real to you as someone who is actually real.
The sign of a good book is when you can’t stop thinking about it after the last page.
The sign of a good book is when you would die for the sequel to be released the next day.
So you know what? Half Bad = a good book.
I freely admit that it might not be for everyone; the elements of torture inflicted on “children” particularly when written in the second person definitely turns stomachs. I’m no exception, and that’s why I loved it (worried how much that says about me…). Everything was so dark including Sally Green’s writing with the second person that worked brilliantly in involving you in the story. It’s great when books suck you into the story, and I know I won’t be explaining it properly when I say you literally live it.
Another aspect I loved that is always vital for a good book was the world. The background had a rather dystopian feel with the white witches ruling, and basically killing off every black witch who’s unlucky enough to be noticed. Our main protagonist Nathan is half white witch, half black witch on his father’s side; who just so happens to be the most feared black witch in the world. It might have something to do with the touch of mass murder. Might not (but probably is).
Nathan is then feared and hated, forced to endure a life that no one let alone a child should live, so I was overjoyed he could find light in his world through Annalise. She’s sweet and everything but it was hard to get emotionally involved, especially for the amount of time you see her. Nathan on the other hand is so easy to imagine and picture, you can feel his emotions flowing off the pages enticing your own in return. I wanted everything to work out for him so much that every, single time he hit a hurdle his pain mirrored my own.
I can’t wait to see where Sally Green takes his story, and after this brilliant debut I can safely say that I will be in on what looks like a hell of a ride. I just wish it wasn’t so far away…
“The trick is to not mind. Not mind about it hurting. Not mind about anything.”
“The floorboards and I are old friends. I look to them for the answer. They are never much good at stuff like that, though.”
“Never underestimate the enemy, Nathan. Never.”