Sixteen-year-old Nathan lives in a cage: beaten, shackled, trained to kill. In a modern-day England where two warring factions of witches live amongst humans, Nathan is an abomination, the illegitimate son of the world’s most terrifying and violent witch, Marcus. Nathan’s only hope for survival is to escape his captors, track down Marcus, and receive the three gifts that will bring him into his own magical powers—before it’s too late. But how can Nathan find his father when there is no one safe to trust, not even family, not even the girl he loves?
Half Bad is an international sensation and the start of a brilliant trilogy: a gripping tale of alienation and the indomitable will to survive.(Synopsis taken from Goodreads)
The funny thing is, is that when I picked up this book I didn’t expect to like it. I grabbed it because of its cover, and normally when I do that I end up with some stupid sappy romance trying to masquerade as creepy. But this book…this was incredible. Nathan is the poor, twisted little antihero I’ve been waiting my whole life to read about.
Nathan is Half-White, Half-Black. That mean’s his mother was a White (or “good”) witch, his father was a Black (or “evil”) witch. He lives tormented by his older half-sister, who blames him for their mother’s death, and by the bullies at school.
When a witch turns Seventeen, there a ceremony that is conducted that involves the blood of a parent of grandparent, and three gifts being given. If that doesn’t happen to Nathan…he’ll die.
And the world of witches is overseen by the Council of White Witches, who, not trusting “half-code” Nathan, constantly sends restrictions.
-Any contact Nathan has with a white witch has to be reported
-He goes to the council for yearly assessments, where he is questioned about the father he’s never met.
-He can’t have his Giving Ceremony with out permission
-He can’t travel anywhere without first having permission
Nathan for the most part ignores the first and last ones, and the yearly assessments are more of an annoyance, but it’s the one about the Giving Ceremony that he is worried about. The Council is so sure he’ll end up like his father, Marcus, the feared black witch who can transform into animals and eat witch’s still-beating hearts to gain their powers.
But the Council, the entire world of witches, seem to have a twisted view of good and bad. Nathan, the kid who just wants to hang out with his crush, Annalise, and explore the Welsh countryside is listed as “bad”, but a white witch who hunts down Nathan and carves the letters BW into his back is “good”.
See what I mean?
Even the Council, who are supposedly good, hunt down Nathan and tattoo the code “B 0.5” (Half Black Witch) into his bones.
I had two problems with this book. The first was for a book about witches, there is very little magic going on. It could partly be because our narrator is sixteen, not seventeen, and doesn’t officially have his powers yet, but still. I wanted just a little bit more.
Also, we never find out what the witch/fain (human) relationship is. Do they know about the witches? Do they not? I want to know!
And I adored the writing style. Mostly because it’s how I write. Short sentences, lots of tortured characters and blood everywhere.
This book is super unique because it starts out in second-person. At first I was worried it would be that way for the whole book, but just as I started to like second person it switched to first person. But it was interesting, and it only added more depth to the story.
In other news, I am not looking forward to Biology today because we are going to be dissecting a sheep’s brain and eyeball. This might be the one where I faint/throw up/run from the room, or all three.
On that note, Happy Wednesday,