Original Title: Half Bad
Year Published: 2014
Published by: Penguin UK
Number of Pages: 380
First Sentence: “There’s these two kids, boys, sitting close together, squished in by the big arms of an old chair.”
Goodreads Rating: 5/5
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?
I hardly even know what to say about this book apart from: It’s bloody fantastic! I first got this as an arc from NetGalley, which I never read, and then bought the first and second book at a meet and greet with the author (who is super sweet). I still didn’t read it until almost 6 months later. Do I regret that now? Yes, although it does mean I won’t have to wait that long for the third and final book.
I will be completely honest though and say that the first few chapters were a little hard to get a feeling for. But stay strong and keep going and it will be worth it. As soon as the story picks up, and it is way before the halfway point so don’t worry, it just gets so very good. The plot is interesting from the beginning, it’s just that the first chapters are a little slower than the rest of the book.
Nathan is such a wonderfully complex character and you will love him. All his life he has tried so hard to fit in and do what is right, but has been fought every step of the way by both family and the society around him. Just because he is a half black witch and his father a notorious criminal, he is believed to be evil. Yes, he has some dark sides but he is a good kid and it is so easy to feel for him and I quickly became very invested in his well-being.
Annalise is the love interest. She is not that easy to like. It is just something about her that makes you want to keep her as far away as possible from Nathan. It’s not only the fact that her brothers and rest of her family are “whites” and share the belief that Nathan is a bad fella, but there is also something else that makes it very hard for me to like her.
Gabriel is just… I love Gabriel. He is such an amazing character. He is tough yet caring and just so easy to love. He truly wants what is best for Nathan and all of his actions do reflect this. I can’t even say more about him because I don’t want to spoil him for you.
The actual plot then. Like I said, the first chapters are a little slow, but it doesn’t mean that nothing happens during them. A lot of the basis for the story is laid down here and it turns out that it is very important to know later on. The plot is fun, filled with action and deeper moments where we have a chance to get to know the characters better. The fighting scenes can be a little vicious but they also reflect the violence found between the white and black witches and just what kind of world Nathan lives in. Be warned, though, it can be a little gory. Overall the plot is entertaining, fast paced and keeps you interested as long as you stay with it through the first few chapters.
Do I recommend it?
Oh my god yes!