Half bad by Sally Green
In modern-day England, witches live alongside humans: White witches, who are good; Black witches, who are evil; and fifteen-year-old Nathan, who is both. Nathan’s father is the world’s most powerful and cruel Black witch, and his mother is dead. He is hunted from all sides. Trapped in a cage, beaten and handcuffed, Nathan must escape before his sixteenth birthday, at which point he will receive three gifts from his father and come into his own as a witch—or else he will die. But how can Nathan find his father when his every action is tracked, when there is no one safe to trust—not even family, not even the girl he loves?
On the surface the story could sound like many others out there; an orphan child famous because of his lineage is caught between good and evil with a prophecy lurking in the background. Luckily this book has so much more depth to it.
You know that kid in school who everybody just knows is trouble. His father is out of the picture which everyone agrees is good because everyone knows his father is trouble. Maybe he drinks, gets int trouble with the law, is overall bad news. And you and everybody else knows that when it comes to this kid the apple didn´t fall far from the tree. Everyone knows there´s just a little too much of his father in him. Everyone expects him to get into trouble. Everyone is just waiting for it. And it makes the kid angry. If everyone has already made up their minds about him why bother to try to be any different? And that´s when everyone can nod their heads and say “see, we told you so. He´s bad news. Just like his father”.
For me, much of this story is about just that. About destiny and nature vs nurture and being an outsider. But everything is set in an alternate modern day England with witches!
“I have this idea that somehow my father is watching me. He sees everything I do. He nods his head wisely at the discoveries I make….smiles approvingly…but he shakes his head at the bad decisions I make.”
Even though he´s never met him, Nathan´s father is ever present in his mind. This was kind of heartbreaking. Nathan feels so alone in the world and this dream he has that his father cares for him and would be with him if he could is I´m sure very real to many children. And it hurts.
Black is not necessarily bad and white is not necessarily good. Nobody is purely good or purely evil. The “good” white witches do atrocious things to Nathan and his like. And Nathan is both gentle and volatile. There is potential for both in all of us.
The hype for this book has been huge with publishers putting huge stock in it. Lines such as “predicts it will do for witches what Twilight did for vampires.” And calling the author “the new JK Rowling”. Much of the attention is due to the fact that it is author Sally Greens debut, she hadn´t written a word three years ago, and a very impressive debut it is.