- Age Range: 12 and up
- Grade Level: 7 - 12
- Lexile Measure: HL680L (What's this?)
- Series: The Half Bad Trilogy (Book 1)
- Hardcover: 416 pages
- Publisher: Viking Books for Young Readers; First Edition edition (March 4, 2014)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 0670016780
- ISBN-13: 978-0670016785
- Product Dimensions: 5.8 x 1.3 x 8.5 inches
- Shipping Weight: 1.2 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
- Average Customer Review: 248 customer reviews
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #396,803 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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Half Bad (The Half Bad Trilogy) Hardcover – March 4, 2014
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From School Library Journal
Gr 8 Up—Good witch or bad witch? This is the question that plagues 17-year-old Nathan, the product of two witches, one white, and one the infamous, hated black witch, Marcus. Readers will be intrigued by this work from the very beginning, as it opens in medias res, with Nathan living in a cage but attempting at every opportunity to escape, being submitted to beatings and ill treatment from a strange woman. Soon, flashbacks reveal Nathan's backstory: his precarious position in society is a result of his mixed parentage, and their hatred for his father Marcus, who murdered many white witches, led to the council of white witches taking the boy from his home with his grandmother and half-siblings to a life as a prisoner. While these characters inhabit a world that melds the supernatural with real life, the plot centers primarily on witchcraft, and there are few non-witch characters (or fain, as they are referred to). Nathan's feelings of self-loathing that grow as a result of the ostracism he experiences from those around him, coupled with a yearning to know more about Marcus, will resonate with readers; the first-person narration expertly conveys his anguish and alienation, as well his search for a sense for identity. Other characters tend to be sketchier by comparison, especially as the pace picks up after Nathan escapes and his journey takes off. Some of the violence (beatings, bullying, and even torture feature here) may be off-putting to more sensitive readers, but lovers of dark fantasy should enjoy this energetic, gripping volume.—Mahnaz Dar, School Library Journal
*Starred Review* Black and white, good and evil. Is it really that straightforward? For 16-year-old Nathan, it is not; he is neither. Born the illegitimate son of a white witch mother and a black witch father, he is a Half Code, kept in a cage, beaten regularly, and toughened up for when he turns 17 and receives his three gifts. Both black and white witches want him, hoping he will lead them to his father, the most powerful, evil, and reviled of all black witches. Both plan for Nathan to fulfill his vision and their ultimate goal: he will kill his father. But Nathan has no desire to kill anyone; he wants only to escape his shackles and gain his freedom. First-time author Green has written the first in what looks to be a horrifying, compelling trilogy that pushes the boundaries of what we believe to be good and evil. With racial overtones of such diverse titles as Roots (1976); Uncle Tom’s Cabin (1852); Run, Boy, Run (2003); and the Harry Potter books, this will stretch the reader’s tolerance for graphic torture while mesmerizing with mystery and heart-stopping adventure. Nathan’s survival is tenuous and marvelous—and only just beginning. HIGH-DEMAND BACKSTORY: Green’s debut was optioned for film by Fox 2000, and rights have been sold in 27 countries. If that’s not enough, an extensive national marketing campaign is in the works. Grades 9-12. --Frances Bradburn
Top customer reviews
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The story starts a little confusingly with action that is occurring around half-way through the novel while the main character, Nathan, is being held prisoner somewhere. I would liken it to a POW camp with the stuff he goes through. He then begins to fill in the story with his own memories of his life as he continues to deal with the current conditions that surround him.
Nathan is a type of half-blood in a world that holds an underworld population of witches: White and Black. The color designation is not about skin, but about magical abilities. Nathan's mother was a powerful white witch with amazing healing abilities while his father was a very dark black witch who killed a lot of bad people and ate their hearts to absorb their magical "gifts" (ala Syler from the original "Heroes" television show). Despite this, with Nathan's mother deceased and a society of witches that hate him simply because of his birth, he truly has to fight for his existence.
He lives his young life with his grandmother and three siblings that are from a different father. One sibling hates him and blames him for their mother's death while the other two love and care about him deeply. His grandmother also loves him and wants him to have a happy life. Unfortunately, the rest of the world seems against that idea except for those of black witch blood and one white witch who Nathan falls in love with.
It is an amazing story about a young man who has to become more than he or anyone expected without knowing who in his life is friend or foe. Despite the bad things Nathan does and the anger he feels at the world, you can't help but root for him and wish him success. He's a wonderful character and I enjoyed this story immensely. So much so that I immediately ordered book two and preordered book three (which is now available). I will likely be adding reviews of those two books very soon. If they are anything like this one, there will be two more 5-star reviews for this author.
That said, anybody wishing to read this series should be aware that there is extensive and graphic child abuse, and that the book is more or less in first person, in the perspective of the child receiving the abuse. The core issue at hand is a parable for racism and the way that racist attitudes being normalized and perpetuated by a society that doesn't question racist behavior can lead to gross mistreatment of citizens not matching the desired genetic make-up of those in power. Nathan struggles in an unfairly oppressive world that ultimately has been literally crafted to penalize him specifically, as the story unfolds. It's gripping, indeed, as the reviews suggest, but can be a little exhausting, emotionally-- it seems that nothing ever goes right for Nathan.
Overall, I enjoyed the book and would recommend it, with the above warning for the abuse.
Author: Sally Green
Age Group: Teen/Young Adult
Series: Half Bad Trilogy, book one
Star Rating: 4 out of 5 Stars
I bought a copy of this book and reviewed it.
We are currently in the process of moving, and a lot of my books have been packed away. I still have my library stack, but I decided to pick a book I'd bought on my Kindle to mix it up a bit. I bought Half Bad as a Christmas gift to myself back in 2014, and it's been sitting on there ever since, waiting to be read. I knew that the book was a series debut from a brand new author, and that it revolved around witches. It is both of these things and so much more, I really enjoyed it!
Nathan is the son of the most dangerous, notorious Black Witches in Britian. His mother was a powerful White Witch, but despite that, Nathan is viewed with fear and disgust by most, even by some members of his own family. Forced into servitude to White Witches who seek to use him for thier own ends, Nathan is forced to leave his family behind and search for what it really means to be himself, as well as a human being. But he soon discovers that to embrace his magic may mean paying the ultimate price...
Half Bad is a volatile, exquisitely written story, told through several strange lenses. The narration bounces from one point to another, depending on where you are in the story. It jarred me before I really got used to the pacing; nonetheless, it was refreshing, even if it was hard to follow at first. Once the book really hits its stride, I couldn't put it down--I was captivated by Nathan's dangerous world, where Black and White witches live in war and secrecy, rife with intrigue and betrayal. It was so much fun, and that ending freaking killed me. I need Half Wild immediately! Strange, captivating, and heartbreakingly human, Half Bad has got to be one of my more recent favorite books; I can't wait to finish this series! Next on deck: Until You're Mine by Samantha Hayes!
Most recent customer reviews
Moving at a pace that was informative, developed, and not in any rush for the sole purpose of dazzling its readers, HALF BAD manages...Read more