REVIEW: (Gameboy Reads…) Half Bad (Sally Green)

My partner (who I’ll refer to as Gameboy as he’s spent most of his week engrossed in the Elder Scrolls Online, with the side of his PC off and a giant fan blowing to cool the PC enough to handle the game…) also reads. He tends to do it in bursts, and then evangelises about his latest read. This is usually followed by trawling goodreads for the next book to read, and ignoring all recommendations I give him. Occasionally, two years later or so, he’ll recommend me a book that I have been telling him since we met to read. This time round, he’s just finished Half Bad by Sally Green.

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Sum it up…

Nathan is a halfblood witch, born to a white witch mother from a black witch father. Surviving in a world where black witches are killed on sight by white witches, he has to find three ‘gifts’ before he turns sixteen or he will die. The person to help him is his father, but the white witches have other ideas. A review I read, which made me giggle because its quite true, is that Half Bad is basically “the adolescent story of Severus Snape.”

What’s good?

It avoids the ‘orphan suddenly discovers magical ability’ cliches; in fact, he barely has any at all. The character of Nathan is flawed and not particularly bright, but is incredibly likable, and you wind up feeling the same kind of protectiveness over him that his family does in the book. It also avoids having any clear-cut good and bad, everyone’s for themselves.

Would have been better if…

For a magic-based world there’s a lot of guns; it might be nice to see a bit more the magic system expanded, although as Half Bad is quite obviously the opening of a trilogy, there’s plenty of time for that in the sequel.

Read this if you liked…

Magician’s Guild (Trudi Canavan), Hunger Games, Divergent…

I don’t read YA. Why should I read Half Bad?

It deals with rape, beatings, forced imprisonment, torture… how YA does that sound to you?


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