Summary: A stunning, magical debut. An international sensation.
In modern-day England, witches live alongside humans: White witches, who are good; Black witches, who are evil; and fifteen-year-old Nathan, who is both. Nathan’s father is the world’s most powerful and cruel Black witch, and his mother is dead. He is hunted from all sides. Trapped in a cage, beaten and handcuffed, Nathan must escape before his sixteenth birthday, at which point he will receive three gifts from his father and come into his own as a witch—or else he will die. But how can Nathan find his father when his every action is tracked, when there is no one safe to trust—not even family, not even the girl he loves?
In the tradition of Patrick Ness and Markus Zusak, Half Bad is a gripping tale of alienation and the indomitable will to survive, a story that will grab hold of you and not let go until the very last page.
Review: I think it’s natural and quite inevitable to raise the bar a tad bit higher when all I see are praises. Plus the fact it has undeniably interesting premise. There’s even a note in the book telling the reader a bit of a backstory on how the publisher acquired the book’s right. It is and I quote “Half Bad was THE “buzz” book.” It doesn’t get better than that, right? So I can’t be blame if my expectations were high and I was waiting to be blown away. Well, did I? Sadly, no, but Half Bad was still good.
I’ve always been interested in this kind of plot where the protagonist has qualities that I consider vague, like he was neither one nor the other. That’s Nathan here, he’s a half code, in his world witches are divided into two groups, the White means the good witches and the Black which is obviously not the good ones. And he’s both, his mother was from a well-known family of White Witches and his father, well, people think he’s the cruelest among them Black ones. And because of his reputation, Nathan was in the middle of it. He got brutal treatment from people and I was looking forward on how he’ll face the scorn of the people but still true to his own nature.
In some ways, you will really pity him. Nathan was lost on who he really should be. And it didn’t help that people cast him off, judged him harshly because of his lineage. And the way he was treated was basically heartless. And he couldn’t even get solace to either of the groups because they neither like to acknowledge him when he has part something they detest and fear, hence, the treatment, although I still think it was still inexcusable. So that’s the reason why I was looking forward to Nathan’s action on the predicament he was into; and what he was going to do about it.
There are already characters that I read before that in the same situation as Nathan (like Ichigo from Bleach, he’s both a Quincy and Shinagami (soul reaper), possessing both distinctive and yet very opposite qualities. The sane part of me doesn’t want him having that quality as an embellishment to make him special (although he really is). It needs to be sincere. I wanted him to do something about it without losing what his character stands for. I’m sorry I couldn’t explain properly, I mean since he is both, I wanted him to be both. I know, I’m not making any sense, and somehow I couldn’t put my thoughts in a proper context.
I did like the story but I guess I expected it to be, I don’t know, magical? More action? But it was flat; the story for me dragged on. And while I do feel for Nathan and the things that had happened to him, I still couldn’t completely relate to him. I guess I’ve painted him in very different way and the picture I was hoping for was drastically different than who he really is. But on the other hand, it isn’t entirely a bad thing. I liked Nathan and how he approached things, for me it just needs something…more? It weighed me down a bit that slightly removed the fascination when I first started.
Format: Advance Reader’s Copy
Preview Quote: “You aren’t evil, Nathan. Nothing about you is evil. You will have a powerful Gift—we can all see that—but it’s how you use it that will show you to be good or bad.” — Arran (from Uncorrected Galley Proof)