Monday, 3 March 2014

ARC Review: Half Bad

Half Bad (Half Life Trilogy #1)

Publication Date: March 3rd, 2014    
~A proof copy was provided by Penguin in exchange for an honest review~


A stunning, magical debut. An international sensation.

In modern-day England, witches live alongside humans: White witches, who are good; Black witches, who are evil; and fifteen-year-old Nathan, who is both. Nathan’s father is the world’s most powerful and cruel Black witch, and his mother is dead. He is hunted from all sides. Trapped in a cage, beaten and handcuffed, Nathan must escape before his sixteenth birthday, at which point he will receive three gifts from his father and come into his own as a witch—or else he will die. But how can Nathan find his father when his every action is tracked, when there is no one safe to trust—not even family, not even the girl he loves?

In the tradition of Patrick Ness and Markus Zusak, Half Bad is a gripping tale of alienation and the indomitable will to survive, a story that will grab hold of you and not let go until the very last page.

Oh, Half Bad, you were delightfully cruel. I may love you a little. A lot.
I read quite a few "witches" in the genre last year that really just didn't do it for me, even with the ones that were supposed to be to do with witch hunts,  but ended up being about love and love triangles and all that sappy stuff  that made them fall flat.
But this. This.

Everything I wanted was here.

It's inevitable that it's going to get compared to Harry Potter, but let's be honest, most things get compared to Harry Potter, especially in the YA genre, even if it doesn't include magic, just like all dystopian get compared to The Hunger Games or Divergent, and I mean come on. Half the time you wonder why it's even compared to it because it's an insult to be compared to the original. But, there's these rare ones, that stand on their own.
And this is one.

Half Bad will be compared to Harry Potter, but it is the only one I can say deserves to be compared to Harry Potter because it is brilliant. Hell, It could be He-Who-Must-Not-Be-Named early years.
It's pretty old school though, the original and best of good versus evil.

We have White witches and Black witches, the supposed good and the supposed bad, we also have Half Codes, (which are half white and half black genes), half witch half human, and Fains who are human, underage witches are also called whets. Then, we also have the Hunters: White witches who are trained after their 17th Birthday, to catch Black Witches. And, the Council, who ordain Half Codes on whether they'll become White Witches, or a Back Witch.
On a whet's 17th birthday they perform a ceremony to become full witches, they are given three gifts, one being blood, to which they drink the blood of their ancestors that will bring forth their magical gift, whether it be strong or weak. If the ceremony isn't performed and the blood drunken, their gift will stay dormant.

However, with Black Witches, they need the ceremony and blood on their  17th birthday or it'll drive them crazy and die.

What I always love about these types is the blurred lines between good and evil. The "white" witches, are good. But, some of the things they do are vile and disgusting, and are not very "good" at all out of trepidation and fear. They crave to spill blood of Black Witches, especially Nathan's, who hasn't done anything wrong,  but just because he's the son of an notorious Black Witch that's still out there . Nathan hasn't been branded a Black Witch yet, yet he get's beaten and cut because he fell in love with Annalise, and her him, and Nathan's crime? Annalise is a White Witch, and interactions between Black and White Witches are extremely limited and falling in love with one is strictly forbidden.
After being caught, Nathans captured and kept in a cage like an animal, and is pretty much treated like one, too. Nathan may not be able to read, but he's not stupid. He's clever and calculated, even at that age, because he's had to be. He's learned to be. He's been looked down upon his whole life, treated like a criminal because of his Black Witch line, and abused because of it, when he  was just a baby, a kid, he'd done nothing wrong. He's strong, and has a plan, to find his father before his seventeenth birthday. And from there, the journey begins.

Half Bad is a clever old school compilation of prejudices' between races and witches,  between loyalty and love, the blurred lines between what is good and what is evil, and fear, and all in-between, written in a way that's completely fascinating and addictive and can I have the next one, now, please?



Rating: 5/5