Title: Half Bad
Author: Sally Green
Published: March 4, 2014
Publisher: Viking Juvenile.
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.
Oh, Half Bad, I wanted so very much to like you. So many people talked about you, you have glowing reviews, and normally you’d be something that I would reach for. I only finished you because I have completion issues. My major problem with this book is it takes SO LONG for anything to happen, that by the time it does I was bored and wanting to put it away. I felt no connection to Nathan at all. I don’t know if that’s from the first few chapters being written in second persona narration, or if he’s just that flat.
And there’s the other kicker. Nathan is half white witch, half black witch, hence the ‘Half-bad’ title of the book and his branding. He doesn’t distinguish himself from anything else. There’s no swaying to either side, he’s staunchly in the middle, with a supreme (though rightfully earned) hatred of the white witches. I do think it’s a cleaver play that while the black witches are traditionally portrayed as evil–the white side, the traditionally good witches, are vile and disturbing on so many levels. I guess it’s a perspective thing. The best thing about this book for me was Gabriel. He was a breath of fresh air and lightened things up a bit. It’s irritating when the secondary characters are more rounded out and have more of a personality than the main character.
There’s insta-forbidden-love without any context, and fulfillment, and the ‘love interest’ is missing for three-quarters of the novel only to come back in the last few chapters as a pawn/bargaining piece. I wanted so much more from this book, I really did. There’s so much violence and hatred toward the main character, and there’s so little development/action that I find it incredibly frustrating.