Author: Sally Green
Series: Half Life Trilogy, #1
Nathan has grown up knowing he is different. Raised in a world where White Witches rule and Black Witches are hunted, Nathan has been caught in the middle, having a White Witch for a mother and a Black Witch for a father. He is watched closely by the Council of White Witches who is convinced of the darkness of the Black Witches and its own superiority. Nathan is desperate to be designated a White Witch, but the older he gets and the harsher the prejudice against him becomes, the more Nathan wishes someone would rescue him, someone like his father. As the Council tightens its hold on Nathan, he must find a way to escape or risk losing his life under the thumb of the tyrannical leaders bent on riding the world of Black Witches.
“Now that I’m no longer a whet, I need to find out what my Gift is.”
She stares at the picture and then at me. “I’ll have to practice on something.”
And all I can do is sit there and hope that she never finds her Gift…But I know there is no point hoping for that. I know she will have a strong Gift like most women, and she will find it and hone it and practice it. And use it on me.
From half-sisters to legal guardians, Nathan is put through an insane amount of abuse by people who believe that because of his lineage, he is inherently evil. The irony of this underscores the principle in Half Bad that it is not our genes that makes us evil but our choices. Despite the maltreatment Nathan endures, he is resilient and intelligent, though perhaps not in the most conventional way. Ostracized and mistreated, Nathan finds solace in his brother Arran and the secret friendship he forms with Annalise, a girl from a family of prominent White Witches. Both characters are juxtaposed with their siblings who are the epitome of rottenness, convinced that Nathan isn’t worthy of any form of compassion.
Half Bad employs second-person POV for a limited time and though not my favorite POV, functions as a barrier between Nathan and the horrific situation he is put in. In a way I’m a little disappointed Sally Green didn’t return to this unique narration because it is so compelling and I fell easily into Nathan’s mindset. Where I felt Half Bad fell short was in its development of minor characters. I feel that I know Nathan, but lack a similar understanding of anyone else, even of those sympathetic to Nathan’s situation. More than this is the lack of an adequate account of the history between White Witches and Black Witches, not necessarily the story of their origin but how this animosity could continue for so long without any sort of strong opposition. There seems to be too many characters who hate Nathan simply because that is the way the story goes which feels a little too easy.