Half Bad (Half Life #1) by Sally Green | Book Review

Title: Half Bad
Author: Sally Green
Publication: March 4th 2014 by Viking Juvenile
Format: Hardcover 394 pages
Source: Personal Purchase from National Bookstore

Plot in a Nutshell:
Half Bad by Sally Green is a breathtaking debut novel about one boy’s struggle for survival in a hidden society of witches.

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.


Synopsis from Goodreads

Thoughts in General:

A book about witches just excites me in ways that other genre doesn’t, which was why I really wanted to have Half Bad by Sally Green as soon as I saw it on a lot of Booktubers book hauls. Truth be told I had high expectations for this book and after I finished it I wasn’t that blown away by it. Don’t get me wrong, I enjoyed reading this book however I had a few problems with it particularly in the plot department. The characters evoked different emotions in me which was good and the world-building was really fun to behold.
Thoughts in Details (Contains Spoilers):
The book was written mainly in the First Person POV of Nathan but there were chapters that used Second Person POV which was really unique and refreshing. 
I really sympathized with Nathan while I was reading this book. The things he suffered through was just shocking. One just couldn’t help but root for him because of the prejudicial treatment he endures in the hands of the Council of The White Witches. He was so strong, brave, determined and spunky (which got him into a lot of trouble). From the get-go I felt bad for him especially how he was treated by his half-sister Jessica and growing up every bad thing just piles up on him however he did not quit. He pursued to live and strive for his life which was admirable. 
The love interest Annalise was just one of the few charming characters in the book. I totally get why Nathan fell in love with her although the roots of their love story was kind of predictable. She was the only genuine person that saw the good in him which just made me like her. I totally ship these two!  
Thankfully not all of his family members were cruel (I initially thought that he was hated by everyone as I read the synopsis). His Gran was such a nice lady and I was really saddened when the two of them was separated. She was such a wonderful influence in his life. Then there were Arran and Deborah, two of his half-siblings that didn’t treat him as dirt. I really liked the two of them especially Arran, who was basically Nathan’s best friend. 
However this book was just brimming with characters that I despised! I’ll start from the least despicable to the down right horrible.
Celia, Nathan’s warden, was both cruel and compassionate. Yes, the way she treated the protagonist was inhumane but I also got to see that she cared for him and his well-being. She still fed him, taught him and up until they were separated one could see that she has grown attached to Nathan and I liked that about her. 
Mercury this odd witch just confused me because she seems to side with Nathan but her plans for him weren’t pure as well so I can’t decide if she’s a good guy or not. 
Marcus, the most evil of all Black Witches, was such an enigma in this book but the things that I discovered about him doesn’t make him all that bad in my eyes. Yes, he did commit numerous murders but there weren’t enough proof of what really happened and the fact that the Council just hunted down his family kind of clouded my judgement of him. 
Speaking of, there’s the Council of White Witches and let me just say I despised them. They were just a bunch of discriminating, pompous and monstrous individual that does whatever the heck they want. Jessica, Kieran and Annalise’ Other Brothers were just sickening!

Sally Green amazingly crafted these characters that made me feel all sorts of emotions.

Half Bad‘s world is interesting however I had a few issues with it. So basically there are two factions of witches. There are White Witches and Black Witches. So the thing that bothered me (and a few people I have seen on Booktube) is that there weren’t any concrete justifications as to what constitute a White Witch and a Black Witch aside from the mere fact that the whites are supposedly good and the blacks are supposedly bad. However there were White Witches that committed evil acts while there were Black Witches that did good deeds so the argument earlier seems to be filled with nonsense. Also I did not find this book to be witchy because of the lack of a magic system. Maybe everything will develop further in the succeeding books.

Nathan’s journey was just filled with so many horrible events. His story made Harry Potter’s early childhood a walk in a park. But he still grew and became more resilient as his coming-of-age story unfolded. The mythology and facts about the witches piqued my interest and made me clamor for more. The beginning was really slow and it took 110+ pages before I finally started to enjoy what I was reading (better late than never). The ending was satisfyingly done and I am so excited to read the next book.

I am giving Half Bad a…

It has a very intense premise that is just crazy good.
Have you read Half Bad? What were your thoughts? Don’t hesitate on sharing them by commenting down below!

Happy Reading, 

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