My rating: 2 of 5 stars
This was the book hyped up at the last Penguin Teachers’ Academy meeting I went to back in March, so I made it my business to get my hands on it asap. What a disappointment it was. Half Bad is exactly the right title for this book. I found the writing derivative and lacking in figurative language, which meant many of the scenes just died on the page. When I was supposed to be shocked and moved by Nathan’s treatment in captivity I really just shrugged my shoulders. Also, the second person narrative style at the beginning was very off-putting. I nearly bailed right there. However, since I was the librarian who recommended this to Matt (a colleague) I thought I should at least finish it so we could compare notes. Central character Nathan is completely unlikable. I know he is a black (bad) witch, but I felt no sympathy for him at all. The more interesting characters were the people around him. Gabriel is the character I most want to find out about, and Rose, despite being duplicitous and manipulative, is a character I wanted more of – but Nathan? Nope.
And worst of all….where the hell was the magic? For a book about witches (and some of them supposedly badass Black Witches) there was very little magic taking place.
I will read the sequel to see where Sally Green is going to take this, but at the moment I feel like it’s not somewhere I want to go.
My verdict? It’s harmless enough but I wouldn’t break any records getting your hands on it. I just hope Matt still respects my recommendations!