Thursday 12 February 2015

Book Review - Half Bad

Title: Half Bad
Author: Sally Green
Series: Half Bad (book 1)
Publisher: Penguin
Release Date: 3 Mar. 2014
ISBN-13: 978-0141350868

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?

My Review
This book hit the shelves with a storm last year, I remember everyone talking about it, it was nominated for a YA book prize and you couldn't go to a book store without seeing it. And a lot of people were raving about it, I will admit I picked it up back then, but didn't like the narrative style at the start of the book and put it down. I never intended to go back to it, putting it down as another craze.
However this book then appeared on our 'Children's Book Day' list for work, one of a bunch of title we have to read and then discuss. So here I was - faced with it again. I usually like fantasy, magic books but something wasn't jumping out at me with this one. But I knew I had to read it so I sat down determined to give it a good go.
The story starts off in 2nd person (i believe) and I really don't get on with that, I find it annoying and slightly confusing, instead of absorbing me and making me feel like part of the story it actually does the opposite for me. I silently prayed that it wouldn't be that way through the whole book and I am pleased to say that after the first chapter it changes to first person which I am a lot more comfortable with and find it much easier to read.
We follow Nathan, a young boy who is different to those around in. In a society divided into Good witches and Bad witches there is a clear line. The Good Witches are the accepted ones, the regular, the norm. Whereas the Bad are outcast and shamed. Nathan is of course half and half. When he turns 17 his powers will come into effect, and no one knows which side he will go towards, we follow him on the years, months and weeks leading up to his birthday.
There were some really good parts of this book but there was also some really slow parts too. This book is almost 400 pages long and for me it just went on a little bit too long. There was far too much build up, then when it finally starts to get really exciting and the pace picks up - the book ends. I suppose it's a way to make you want to read the sequel but it's also a bit annoying. 
I liked Nathan as a character and could really feel his struggle and you really see him change and develop throughout the story but there were times when he was whiney and a bit pathetic and I wanted him to just get on with something. 
There is a lot of back story and bits of information which may turn out to be relevant in the following books but right now I'm not sure it all is. 
I am not saying it's a bad book though - not at all, just too long for what it is. In fact if you peel back all the moments of walking across countrysides, sitting and waiting and exercising, what is left is very good. I liked the idea behind it and thought it was put over very well. All the characters play important roles and i like the interaction between them all and how it changes. I hope we see more of Nathans brother - I liked him and feel like he may be a pivotal part. 
So whilst I struggled with this book for quite a while I did enjoy it overall and I dare say I will probably give the next one a go just to find out what happens to everyone. 

My Rating
I would actually say this was slightly higher than an Average, but not quite as high as 'Really Enjoyed It' so call it an 'Average +'

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