Thursday, April 9, 2015

Review: Half Bad by Sally Green

Half Bad
(The Half Bad Trilogy #1)
Publication Date: March 4, 2014
Hardcover, 394 pages, Viking Books
Genres: YA, Paranormal

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.

My Review

The premise of this book sounds fantastic! Good witches vs. bad witches, dark magic vs. light magic, and a boy who’s stuck in the middle. Unfortunately, the concept fell a little flat in the actual writing.

We start out in second-person point of view. I don’t like second-person point of view. I don’t want to feel like I’m getting the crap beat out of me or that I’m stuck in a cage outside. Now my characters can feel this—and of course I’ll feel empathetic towards them—but I read books to get away from my life and my own problems, not to add even worse problems to my head that seriously mess with my mind. Thankfully though, the book switched to first person pretty early in. Then somehow we go from experiencing Nathan’s situation being abused by his captor, to getting the backstory of why he was there in the first place.

This was a very odd way of telling the story, simply because a lot of the scenes were told from his childhood perspective and those scenes ended up taking up almost half of the book, thus there was very little actually happening in the story that furthered the plotline that was mentioned in the first few chapters, the ones that were in second person pov.

This writing style was also rather confusing. At times it was hard to tell exactly what age Nathan was and where he was in time. At one point I thought he was about 14 or so, but he was only 10. That really needs some clarification.

I’ve heard people say this is a character-driven book. I totally disagree. While it is true that we spend a lot of time in Nathan’s head, I just didn’t feel that Nathan developed as a character. I also never felt connected to him at all. Sure, like I mentioned earlier, I empathized with his situation, but I didn’t enjoy his character. And because we’re stuck in Nathan’s head so much, we don’t get a lot of character development for the rest of the characters either.

The plot of the story was just boring. There were pages upon pages where nothing significant would happen, then, when something would happen, it wasn’t all that exciting. I also had to reread some parts simply to figure out what exactly was going on.

Now, the major reason I read this story, besides the fact that it’s a paranormal book and those are my favorite kind, was because I heard there was an LGBT element. Paranormal books with good LGBT plots are rare. (Okay, so they might not be as rare as I make them out to be, I’m just a picky reader.) So I was waiting…and waiting…and waiting for this male love-interest to show up. And when he finally did, I was underwhelmed. He made his appearance in the last 20% of the book and he was a not very well drawn out character. Boo.

All in all, if you’re looking for a good paranormal book, I’d suggest looking elsewhere. This book may have an interesting synopsis, but it just didn’t work well in the actual story.

*Note: I purchased a copy of this book for myself.

P.S. I’m trying out a new font style (Arial instead of TNR, because it’s better for online reading) so tell me if you like it or not. Thanks!

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