Half Bad

Half Bad

Book - 2014
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In modern-day England, where witches live alongside humans, Nathan, son of a White witch and the most powerful Black witch, must escape captivity before his seventeenth birthday and receive the gifts that will determine his future.
Publisher: New York :, Viking, published by the Penguin Group,, 2014.
ISBN: 9780670016785
Branch Call Number: TEEN FICTION Green Sally
Characteristics: 394 pages ;,22 cm.


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DNF at 76%


After enjoying Green's "Smoke Thieves" series (what's been released as of now), I figured that I'd delve a little deeper into some of her other works. I discovered that this was her debut novel, and, I hate to say it, but...it shows.
I will say, kudos to Green for trying her hand at 2nd person in her first novel. That's certainly pretty hard to pull off. Unfortunately, it didn't quite work in her favor, as the placing of said perspective felt disjointed, distant, and out of place. To be fair, it's incredibly hard to make it work, and I've only seen it well executed by one author. Just one.
The plot of "Half Bad" was primarily character-driven, focusing on Nathan's growth from age 11, almost to adulthood. (I didn't quite see how old he was when the book ended, as I'd gotten frighteningly bored, but that's my best guess.) Though I found many of the scenes quite intense and emotional, it didn't seem to have much of a plot, other than following Nathan through his formative years. Granted, it was depressing and relatively well-written, but other than that, I just felt myself saying "Oh God, here we go again..." every time a new part began.
One aspect of this book that I did like, however, was the world-building. As with "The Smoke Thieves", there was so much care put into the complex societal structure and history of the Black and White witches, and I enjoyed delving into their intricate stories. Unfortunately, that wasn't enough to make me like the book.

Overall, the dry plot (or near lack thereof) and the failed 2nd person muddied a novel that had lots of potential otherwise.

Sep 20, 2019

Entire trilogy is incredible and intense, made even better by maybe the best audio narration I've ever heard. I'm listening to it for the second time and HIGHLY recommend.

Aug 13, 2018

A great book with good detail and imagery. Some grammar issues but it's easy enough to understand the meaning. The character is a half code (half black witch half white witch) and takes after his father especially in apperance. As black witches have been hunted and brutally tortured to either death or suicide since the beginning this puts our character in quite a pickle. And by a pickle I mean horrendus trauma, deep segregation, absolutely zero long standing joy of any kind, etc. The book almost makes you yourself go through the experience with him due to the narrator in the beginning referring to the main character as 'you' and instead of there being a main character, it is literally you. Then the book is continued in the mind of the character but you never really seem to step out of the main character slot which makes it impossible to distance yourself when the onslaught happenes. I cried at the atrocities multiple times and it was too real. It is an amazing book but i sincerily want to warn off anyone that has instability issues or issues related to abuse or issues with reality or ptsd or depression. This book may either, cause you to experience some flashbacks, or make you go into an episode. Read with caution.

DCLadults Apr 05, 2018

Brutality and violence seem to be the main focus in shaping this story. The desires of the main character are repeated over and over, forming a sort of desperate war chant as he endures more and more degradation and pain. A thankless job being this character, and a rather thankless job reading along with his plight. Just not my cup of tea.

Jan 14, 2017

Amazing book!
and very well written. I can hardly wait to get the second book in the trilogy. Stories about witches are pretty common, but this premise is totally original & held me spellbound.
Excellent read - well rounded characters - excellent story line

CRRL_AdrianaP Dec 16, 2016

Nathan's experience as a "half code" - half white witch, half black witch - is horrific in a world of extreme prejudice where he is subjected to various forms of torture. He makes a compelling and very sympathetic narrator. A dark alternative for fans of Harry Potter books.

Aug 11, 2016

a very good book. i requested that the library get the last 2 books so hopefully it wont be long. it ends at a cliffhanger i cant wait till i can get book 2

Aug 08, 2016

The Half bad series if by far my most favorite book.
Going on to the second novel, it was simple breathtaking how the love story element takes a sharp turn into the LGTB comunity.

Simply a work of art. Keep on reading the series, for sure, it just keeps on getting better!

A thought that keeps coming back, is that this would be the "what if Hogwarts didn't exist" the wizards and witches would definitely be a reality like this book.

Jul 28, 2016

'Half Bad' is one of my top reads this summer. Highly recommended, I'm looking forward to the second book!

Apr 30, 2016

I unfortunately didn't, and couldn't see what people have seen in this book. The story was alright for the most part, but I guess that Half Bad just wasn't for me.

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Add Age Suitability
ArapahoeDonna Aug 19, 2016

ArapahoeDonna thinks this title is suitable for 11 years and over

carol2882 Jul 20, 2014

carol2882 thinks this title is suitable for between the ages of 14 and 30

Mar 22, 2014

rem85 thinks this title is suitable for 14 years and over


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ArapahoeDonna Aug 19, 2016

A great book to introduce the possibility that you don't have to be a girl to be a witch. A boy, Nathan, has mixed parents and he is trying to find out weather he is a witch or wizard. This novel may be about magic, but it opens the door for discussion about gender identity and prejudice. The first book is great!

Jul 02, 2015

This novel follows a boy named Nathan that lives in a world where White and Black Witches exist among humans. Nathan is unique in the fact that his mother is a White Witch and his father is the most notorious Black Witch alive. Due to his father, Nathan faces constant prejudice from all sides and tries to survive until his 17th birthday to receive his three gifts to become a full fledged witch.

carol2882 Jul 20, 2014

Nathan is son of a black with and a white which. He is considered as half-bad, but never half-good. He longs that his past be forgotten and he become a white witch, but part of him also wants to find his father and become a black witch. But the council is keeping a close eye on him. Nathan is convinced he needs to find his father so he may get three gifts and become a witch.


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Frightening or Intense Scenes: Several scenes of brutal abuse to the protagonist

carol2882 Jul 20, 2014



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Jul 02, 2015

"The trick is to not mind. Not mind about it hurting, not mind about anything."

carol2882 Jul 20, 2014

"Trust no one."

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