My rating in stars: 4,5 stars
My rating in words: I loved it!
What it’s about:
Wanted by no one.
Hunted by everyone.
Sixteen-year-old Nathan lives in a cage: beaten, shackled, trained to kill. In a modern-day England where two warring factions of witches live amongst humans, Nathan is an abomination, the illegitimate son of the world’s most terrifying and violent witch, Marcus. Nathan’s only hope for survival is to escape his captors, track down Marcus, and receive the three gifts that will bring him into his own magical powers—before it’s too late. But how can Nathan find his father when there is no one safe to trust, not even family, not even the girl he loves?
Half Bad is an international sensation and the start of a brilliant trilogy: a gripping tale of alienation and the indomitable will to survive.
My thoughts (Spoiler-free):
“I am kept in a cage and I don’t want to die in a cell and I don’t want to be tortured and I don’t want to kill my father. I don’t want any of it, but it just goes on and on and on.”
So, maybe it’s too early to tell, but I think this may just become one of my all-time favorite series. It’s a little different, and I can see how maybe it’s not everyone’s cup of tea, but I FREAKING FELL IN LOVE with this book!
The writing style did take a few chapters to get used to. The first chapter was told in second person, which was a little weird, but then it goes on in first person and it blew my mind. The writing was extremely personal and really made me connect with the main character, Nathan. It even slightly reminded me of stream of consciousness. The writing just completely absorbed me and I have nothing but love for this style.
The plot also spoke to me on so many levels. I love how at first it seems like your standard ‘good guys’ (in this case, the White Witches) versus ‘bad guys’ (in this case, the Black Witches) kind of story, but then it turned out to be so much more. The good guys are not necessarily all that good and the bad guys are not all that bad. And it brings up the question of nature versus nurture. The things the so-called good guys are doing to Nathan are despicable. Because he’s half White and half Black he is put through hell and it is just not fair, guys! Needless to say, I love Nathan and I feel fiercely protective of him.
But other than Nathan, I also did really love the secondary characters. I mean, some of them I loved, and some of them I loved to hate. I LOVED Nathan’s sweet and kind brother Arran. I loved Gran. I loved cheeky Rose and I even loved the creepy Mercury. I adored Gabriel so much, starting from the first page he was on. I actually kind of liked Celia. I hated Jessica and the Council with a fiery passion. (I mean, it was some Dolores Umbridge-level hate there for a second. That’s how fiercely protective I am of Nathan.) But overall, I loved how most of these characters fall somewhere on the morally grey scale. White or Black, they’re all capable of good and bad. (Except for Jessica and the Council – they’re evil for torturing poor little Nathan so much)
The pacing was a little slow overall, but I didn’t mind at all because it meant that the focus was on Nathan and his character development. It felt like an introductory book and I’m sure that what’s still to come will be EPIC!
There is a little romance, but honestly it’s a little bland and insta-lovey. However, don’t let this keep you from reading this, because there are so many more interesting relationships in the book. The relationships Nathan builds with all people around him are intriguing, but none more so than the one with his friend Gabriel. I’m a sucker for friendship stories, so yay for books focusing on friendship (with just a hint of something more)!
Overall, I LOVED this book and would recommend it to everyone. It has a few aspects, like the writing style and the pacing, that I understand if they’re not everyone’s cup of tea, but I would still urge you to give it a try. If you like dark books, with morally complex characters, magic and witches, this one may be perfect for you!
“Let’s suppose Marcus has threatened to kill a member of your family: Arran, say. The only way you can save Arran is by killing Marcus.”
“Let’s suppose something more realistic. The Council threatens a member of my family: Arran, say. The only way I can stop them killing Arran is by killing Marcus.”
“The trick is not to mind.
Not to mind about it hurting.
Not to mind about anything.”
“In both violence and fame, your bloodline outdoes mine”
“I’ve never met my father. Never seen my father. But I know that my eyes are his eyes.”