Tuesday 11 March 2014

Half Bad - Sally Green

I've had a good reading day today; this is the third book I've finished. OK so I also started this one today, but what can I say? Each one has been a really enjoyable experience and each on is totally different to the others that I've stormed through today. Shortly I will have to get on with constructing a new bookcase, as I have finally had enough of the insane heaps that have been threatening to take over the world, but for now here are my thoughts on Half Bad.

Half Bad is the first book in another YA trilogy that is keen to take the mantle from The Hunger Games. I really regretted not grabbing a proof copy of this a few months back when I got the chance, so was very pleased when a friend insisted that it was something I had to read, and thrust a copy into my hands. She was right; it really is a very good read. The story throws you right into the action from the start, where we meet Nathan a teenager who seems to be spending his life like a modern day Hansel. He is living in the middle of the woods, where he is kept locked in a cage by a hideous witch. The story follows his attempt to escape from captivity, an attempt that prompts his tracking bracelet to release acid which almost removes his hand. So far, so horrific. What we get next is a flash back to the events that led him to be trapped in his cage.
We learn that Nathan is a witch; his whole family are witches. Unlike most however Nathan is a half blood, his mother was a White Witch, and his father is a Black Witch. We discover that half bloods are treated with suspicion by the White Witch society that governs the British community of witches. Every aspect of life is regulated, and as a potential Black Witch Nathan is shunned by the rest of his community. It is only later that we discover just how unique Nathan really is, as his life takes an even more dramatic turn for the worst.
  Reading this does feel a little as though you are reading a slightly more adult Harry Potter. The world that Nathan inhabits surely owes a fair bit to the Potterverse; however this has the feel of the later books. There are no fun childish times in the school dorm. Here, instead we are thrown pretty much into the same kind of bleak and unforgiving world that you find from The Deathly Hallows. It is hard not to draw comparisons really, but that shouldn't be seen as detracting from this as a separate entity. It is very much strong enough to stand apart as well.

 The writing for most of the book is compelling and well done, there was a point during the section in Geneva where I though the story lost focus and simply drifted for a wee while. It did focus again after a chapter or two, but it was a little annoying at the time.
Mostly I thought that this was a really strong start to what should be a great new series. I hope that the second book lives up to the promise of this one.

Watch a great video for this book here.

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