Half Bad by Sally Green, Book #1 in the Half Life Trilogy. Source: library. Format: Hardcover, 394 pages, Viking, Penguin Group USA, 2014.
This book has gotten a lot of mixed reviews from readers. Some love it, some hate it. I went into Half Bad knowing a little bit about the story and a few of the problems people had with it. Basically, there are White witches and Black witches, and the White witches are the good witches and the Black witches are the evil witches. Nathan is half White and half Black witch, and the society of White witches makes his life miserable because of his mixed parentage. Why? Besides just the fact that he’s half Black witch, Nathan’s father, Marcus, is also the most powerful and dangerous and murderous Black witch alive. I didn’t hate this book, but… it was something I found I had no interest in after getting about halfway through. It became a chore to finish, but I didn’t want to give up on it because I’d already gotten halfway through.
Half Bad is very much Nathan’s consciousness. It is his story completely. And while, yes, his life is made almost unlivable because of being half Black witch, I didn’t have any attachment to him. I did like a few of the supporting characters: Arran, Gabriel, Rose, Mercury. But they all played such small roles because this book is so entirely Nathan. Also, the romance between Nathan and what’s-her-name, Annalise, wasn’t very believable and I just didn’t buy it. It felt tacked on and not plot-related. Plus, Annalise was kinda wimpy, in my opinion. Well, maybe not wimpy, but not very impressive. The book picks up at the very end: Action, death, mayhem, heartbreak! And oh, look, the book’s over. Here come the acknowledgments. Otherwise, it’s kind of slow-going. And while that’s not necessarily a bad thing in books, it just didn’t help Half Bad.
Probably one of the biggest problems with this novel is the, pardon the pun, black and whiteness of the Black and White witches. White = good. Black = bad. Yet White witches are pretty messed-up, too: They do horrible things to Nathan and exile from their witch society any half-codes or White witches who break any of their rules. White witches don’t seem very good to me, and the absolute hate between the White and Black witches isn’t ever explained. Something about Black witches being more powerful than White witches, and them murdering their families… Yet Nathan’s half-sister, White witch and Hunter, Jessica, would be perfectly okay with killing Nathan. There’s no good argument here for what sets the two witch types apart.
What else is there to say about Half Bad? I didn’t hate it so I’m not going to go on an amusing rant about every problem I had with it, but it also wasn’t that good or memorable for me to invest a very long, detailed review on. There are people who love this book. I am not one of those people. It’s up to you to decide if you think you’ll enjoy it.