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Half Bad Hardcover – 4 March 2014
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An international bestseller, translated into more than 50 languages!
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 his every action is monitored, 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.
"Highly entertaining and dangerously addictive."--Time Magazine
"Genuinely engaging."--The New York Times
"Bewitching."--The Wall Street Journal
"Captivating."-- Los Angeles Times
"A page-turner."--The Boston Globe
"An epic journey."--D.J. MacHale, New York Times bestselling author of Pendragon and Sylo
"Brilliant and utterly compelling." --Kate Atkinson, New York Times bestselling author of Life After Life
"This will haunt you." --Marie Lu, New York Times bestselling author of Legend
"Edgy, arresting and brilliantly written." --Michael Grant, New York Times bestselling author of Gone
* "A thrilling tale . . . Unforgettable." --Publishers Weekly, starred review
* "Marvelous." --Booklist, starred review
* "A unique take on witches." --Library Media Connection, starred review
A Spring 2014 Kids' Indie Next List pick
A 2014 Booklist Top 10 SF, Fantasy, and Horror for Youth
A Publishers Weekly Best Young Adult Book of 2014
A YALSA 2015 Best Fiction for Young Adults pick
Holder of two Guinness World Records
Optioned for film by FOX 2000
Rights sold in 50 international markets
About the Author
- Publisher : Viking Books for Young Readers (4 March 2014)
- Language : English
- Hardcover : 394 pages
- ISBN-10 : 0670016780
- ISBN-13 : 978-0670016785
- Reading age : 12 years and up
- Dimensions : 14.61 x 3.23 x 21.59 cm
- Best Sellers Rank: 776,427 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
- Customer Reviews:
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Top reviews from Australia
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The young lad (Nathan) in question is a witch. Boys with magical powers are called "witches". His father is / was a black witch. Nathan has not seen his his father for many years. He was brought up with feelings of hatred and repression toward this man. But as he matures he develops the instinct and ability to recognise truth and thus is able to see the wood for the trees when it comes to dealing with the emotions and potential relationship with this figure that he knows nothing about.
Only white witches are "approved of" in this world in which the book is based. Half whites are ok but black witches and half black witches are not. Aaron's mother committed suicide before the book had started (why am i not surprised?) and we learn via a series of relatively interesting flashbacks that he was raised by his Gran (also a witch) and had allies in a brother (Aaran), one nice sister (Deborah) and one seriously sick and evil sister called Jessica. Who hates Nathan.
The author's writing style is certainly compelling. The story and plot line are original (up to a point) and there is no humour in the book. Characterisation is excellent and of course you can't help but become attached to the characters. Some you feel for immediately, and some you hate, instantly. Naturally once you reach the end of part one you want to see how it all develops, comes together and ends. The book is entertaining enough to make it difficult to stop reading.
And then we meet Annalise. The enjoyment factor of the book picks up considerably when Nathan meets his Juliet. She is beautifully portrayed and realised whenever she makes an appearance. The writing and descriptions used when these two interact are electrifying and beautifully depicted, and are perfectly pitched given the book's target audience.
And of course with a love interest involved, the stakes for Nathan (and the reader) are now a lot higher. He suddenly has more to lose.
I shall say no more of the book at this point. Read this glorious tome for both the young, and the young at heart for yourself. Enjoy the good times, weep for the sad times but don't forget it. Read it, keep it, look after it. Pass it on to your kids. It is a classic book for the ages that should be recognised by fans and the industry it comes out of.
In summary, then: I can't award this book five stars. It is dark, violent snd disturbing. At times it is bound to make the reader feel uncomfortable. Parts of it are stunning, and exciting and suspenseful, and despite the elements of light and love that you will come across, the book is not quite the fairy tale ride the publishers are promising. A very good start to a rumoured trilogy, but its not quite perfect.
The book is very well written and the character development was flawless. The story built well and never seemed to drag. I was particularly impressed with the way the main character grew and developed through the series.
Do yourself a favour and read the entire series now.
Top reviews from other countries
The far superior White Witches or S***es(I love this!) as they become to be known through one character, have control of much of the UK and are in the process of hunting down and seemingly culling Black Witches.
Black witches are attuned to the night, have vastly more powerful gifts but have a tendency to kill each other, and more often that not, their family.
One Black Witch in particular is Marcus, who has killed a lot of witches, white and black alike for his own survival. It just so happens, that through illegitimate courtship with a white witch, he has a son.
That’s bad news for Nathan.
Being a ‘half-code’ as the Whites put it, he can choose either side, though he is constantly monitored, disciplined, isolated and point-blank treated as a criminal although he is just a child.
After years of captivity, caged, cuffed, assessed and punished for minor indiscretions, the Whites offer him a deal.
White code status in return for his assistance in killing his own father.
Naturally, he refuses, though he has no real reason to, his Father is as illusive to him as he is to anyone and hasn’t attempted to make contact.
After this refusal, Nathan was literally branded as a criminal. He is marked as a Black Witch, he is marked magically, all the way done to his bones. Tattoos that cannot be removed no matter how deep you skin the flesh…
Circumstances come to light in which Nathan makes his grand escape, and sets off on his mission to find Mercury, a witch who can give him his three gifts before his birthday, as he fears without, he will die.
This one book has a hell of a lot to digest. It’s a brilliant read, a bit slow in places as the world of witches is built up and explained chapter by chapter, following how Nathan ended up in his cage but we are spared no expense when it comes to the plot kicking off.
We see Nathan’s insecurities, lack of respect for authority, his dreams and hopes for his Father and his capacity to believe there is good in White Witches despite that fact that for 90% of his life, he has been shunned, shamed and tortured by them.
The acts that take place in the book by both adult and teen White Witches are brutal, calculated and cringe-worthy. Not what you’d expect from the self-proclaimed heroes of the Witch world, though we quickly understand that nothing is as it seems.
The hunters are ruthless and don’t let up on Nathan, sparing him no mercy from their hacked up supremacist retorts and punches.
And when we finally encounter Marcus. He seems like a puppy by comparison. Did I mention he eats the hearts of Witches’ by the way?
Come here boy!
Despite his obvious flaws, Marcus is definitely going to be a baddie that you just love to love. Besides, accounts of his attacks are publicised by who? You guessed it, the White Witches. For all we know, they could have killed them and blamed Marcus to save their own skin. It certainly wouldn’t be the first time. Half Bad definitely has a thing for making you doubt even the solidarity of proven facts.
I have extremely high hopes for Half Wild as we delve further into this mysterious world of treachery, darkness and ultimately Nathan’s gift, which judging by the cover, may take after his father’s.
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I think it’s fairly safe to say that this isn’t a problem Half Bad has. And I loved it!
Half Bad is set in our world, but a version where Black Witches and White Witches have their own society and live (kind of) alongside fains (non-magical people). On their seventeenth birthday they receive three gifts (normal presents) and drink the blood of one of their relations (mmm...yum) and then they receive their Gift (psychic power). This could be anything from telekinesis to the ability to control the weather. White Witches use their Gift for good (and their version of good involves torturing Black Witches to death) whereas Black Witches... Well, it just sounds like Black Witches take their Gift, give the Council of White Witches the finger and spend the rest of their lives being persecuted by the Council’s Hunters.
I’ve read reviews that have compared Half Bad to Harry Potter. Well, I guess if you’re talking about a version of Harry Potter where Harry is kept in a cage in the garden instead of the cupboard under the stairs, and he regularly gets the crap beaten and stabbed out of him instead of being educated at Hogwarts, and where people try to force him to murder, and instead of having loads of really nice mates he has no one at all and instead of his dad being a hero he was basically Voldemort, then yes, in that case I’d say Half Bad is exactly like Harry Potter.
So yes, I’d say that Sally Green took away her (possibly imagined by me) feedback and definitely came up with something edgy. And well written. And fun. And heart-rending.
Can’t wait to read the next one.
The sign of a good book is when you can’t stop thinking about it after the last page.
The sign of a good book is when you would die for the sequel to be released the next day.
So you know what? Half Bad = a good book.
I freely admit that it might not be for everyone; the elements of torture inflicted on “children” particularly when written in the second person definitely turns stomachs. I’m no exception, and that’s why I loved it (worried how much that says about me…). Everything was so dark including Sally Green’s writing with the second person that worked brilliantly in involving you in the story. It’s great when books suck you into the story, and I know I won’t be explaining it properly when I say you literally live it.
Another aspect I loved that is always vital for a good book was the world. The background had a rather dystopian feel with the white witches ruling, and basically killing off every black witch who’s unlucky enough to be noticed. Our main protagonist Nathan is half white witch, half black witch on his father’s side; who just so happens to be the most feared black witch in the world. It might have something to do with the touch of mass murder. Might not (but probably is).
Nathan is then feared and hated, forced to endure a life that no one let alone a child should live, so I was overjoyed he could find light in his world through Annalise. She’s sweet and everything but it was hard to get emotionally involved, especially for the amount of time you see her. Nathan on the other hand is so easy to imagine and picture, you can feel his emotions flowing off the pages enticing your own in return. I wanted everything to work out for him so much that every, single time he hit a hurdle his pain mirrored my own.
I can’t wait to see where Sally Green takes his story, and after this brilliant debut I can safely say that I will be in on what looks like a hell of a ride. I just wish it wasn’t so far away…
Posted on: http://enchantedbyya.blogspot.co.uk