Thursday, May 29, 2014

Half Bad by Sally Green

Title: Half Bad
Author: Sally Green
Publisher: Penguin
Published: March 3rd, 2014
Genre: Young Adult / Paranormal
Source: Easons

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.

'Half Bad' is the interesting and uniquely written story of Nathan, a witch of half white and half black, half good and half bad descent, in a world where being a black witch, comes with a death sentence. It's the story of Nathan's growth, both literal and figurative, as he fights through the struggles of his life.

This being a very character-based novel, I think it's only right to address that first. What I can definitively say about Nathan, is that I felt he was a confusing character, and rather confused, himself. With the sort of life he's had to put up with, what with being discriminated against, locked up, tortured and all, I understand why he is the way he is. For the most part. He's undeniably violent and fluent in the language of profanity, which was all right; that didn't bother me at all, but I felt there was no growth in his character throughout the book. I felt like young Nathan in the beginning of the book was identical to seventeen year old Nathan at the end, bar a few obvious physical differences. The personality, motives, determination we see in him, while admirable in such a young person, doesn't really change by the time the book ends, which I feel is disappointing and a missed opportunity, because there was such room for it in the book.

Speaking of Nathan in the beginning of the book, I loved how this book started. Writing the first few chapters in 2nd person was a daring choice but I thought it was actually quite engaging. I will say it did take some getting used to, but that, along with Sally Green's interesting writing style in the beginning, varying chapter syntax and such, really drew me into the story.

Unfortunately, while I found the writing style intriguing in the beginning, as the story continued, I felt it grew really repetitive and didn't do much to keep me interested in the story. I felt like the story really lacked a sense of direction for most of the book, and my theory for that is, simply, the story was stretched over way too long a time period.

In the beginning, after the introductory first few chapters of his being locked up, Nathan is pretty young, and over the course of the book, around 5 years pass. The problem, I found, with this was, the author, Sally Green, lingered on every part of these five years, and the result was a lack of depth. I mean think about it, if you attempt to cover 4-5 years in the space of less than 400 pages, no particularly part of those 4-5 years gets enough attention, leaving them all underdeveloped and thus, the lack of depth, which was probably the book's downfall for me.

So yes, while the premise and story in general were really enjoyable, the way in which these were handled proved disappointing. I'd recommend to those who love witch-related books, and have an abundance of patience.

Have you read Half Bad? What did you think of it? Share your thoughts!

Thanks for reading guys!

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