Summary: 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.
Source: I purchased a Kindle copy.
Half Bad wasn’t half bad. It was way different from what I expected reading the blurb, but that’s not necessarily a bad thing. The book was written from Nathan’s very limited point of view. It started with him in a cage, being let out to run around a track, unable to escape. It showed his past, where he grew up with his family. His sister was nasty to him, but his Gran and brother loved him.
Nathan was half Black witch and half White witch and the White Witches were quite upset about it. They forced him to comply with testing. They changed the rules multiple times in order to exclude and seclude him, afraid that his existence was a stain. But what I could see happening was a young boy being isolated, taught to hate the very people he was trying desperately to emulate. It was only a matter of time before he started thinking perhaps his Black witch of a father might be a better alternative to captivity, scrutiny, and prejudice.
I enjoyed the plot because it’s one that mirrors many aspects of society. However, because it does mirror so many aspects and we’ve seen the story in some form or another, it was kind of predictable. Nathan was young, naïve, and he was doing everything I expected him to do. Still, he was not TSTL and he didn’t grow up to be quite as hateful as I thought, so I’m intrigued.
I don’t quite know if this series will wind up disappointing me or not, but it has a ton of potential to explore the nature of a person who is placed in such a position and the writing flowed easily. The narration was great and it sucked me in because it was like this limited glimpse of Nathan’s slice of the world and I enjoyed it. I recommend the book, but my overall thoughts are that I just need to see this through and decide if it’s worth the time. I’m giving it a slightly higher rating on the assumption that the series will lead me somewhere great.
Update: I was originally going to rate the series with 4 stars in anticipation that the next book would be better and help tie in some of the plot points from book 1. However, the entire first chapter of Half Wild decided to handle Nathan’s headache by inserting CHCHCHCHCHCHCHCHCHCHCH everywhere as that’s the noise he was hearing. I decided to return the book after that because I think it’s insane. It’s entirely possible to write about interruption, noise, and an unbearable sound without inserting paragraphs or half pages of two letters.