Half Bad

half bad.jpgfive stars

Publication Date: 03/03/14

Author: Sally Green

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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 a unique novel. Unlike many modern day urban fantasy books, Half Bad doesn’t just add its mythology to the regular world; it creates its own complex world chock full of customs and laws, then seamlessly merges it with our reality. The characters are, for the most part, wonderfully well rounded. Nathan’s character is especially interesting. He is so clearly shaped by all of the pain of his childhood, but not in such a way that it makes him bitter and unlikeable. He is not infallible, nor invincible, nor all-powerful like many other urban fantasy protagonists. Rather, he has innate talent in some areas while lacking in others, just like a normal person (he is also practically illiterate, which is an interesting choice and rounds out the character very well).

The story begins with sixteen-year-old Nathan, trapped in a cage, remembering his childhood and all the events that got him to that point. This lasts for half the book. Unlike many other novels with long flashbacks, this one was so captivating that I forgot that it was even a flashback. The writing is superb, and the characterization is brilliant. I can’t share anything more, in fear of spoiling the book, but suffice it to say that I highly recommend this novel to anyone, whether they enjoy urban fantasy or the contemporary genre. Half Bad incorporates just the right amount of both, and will not leave you disappointed. Half Bad is the first book in the Half Bad Trilogy.