This review is spoiler free.
“The trick is not to mind. Not to mind about it hurting, not to mind about anything.”
Series: Half Bad Trilogy
Published: 2014, by Penguin.
Genre: Fantasy, Young Adult, Paranormal, Magic
Contains: Violence. Implied Strong Language, Torture, Blood/Gore, Child Abuse, Abuse, Death, Bullying
‘Half Bad’ follows Nathan Byrn, a half-code witch, who happens to be the illegitimate son of Marcus Edge, the most feared Black Witch in England. The story follows his life up towards his seventeenth birthday, where each witch will inherit three gifts, allowing their magic to become fully formed. If not, the witch will die. However, the council of White Witches refuse this due to his code, leaving him for the majority of the novel to seek Mercury; a powerful black witch who he believes will give these gifts regardless.
This book has been one of my favourites since its release in 2014, but it’s been a few years now since I’ve last read it, so considering it’s my birthday month I thought I’d give it another go and see if I still love it as much as I used to. Needless to say, I devoured it.
Nathan is an incredibly interesting protagonist, being cast aside for his parentage since he was born within the witch community. He’s tortured, broken down, beaten and despised within his world, and yet he continues to stand and force his way through their cruelty. It’s so inspiring to read as he fights against everyone’s hatred; I absolutely adore his character. Being the first half black, half white witch was a fascinating concept in this world, and it was a joy to read about from start to finish.
Gabriel, however, has always been a ultimate favourite of mine. Not introduced until over halfway through the novel, he was an immediate light guiding us through all the darkness in Nathan’s world. He’s intelligent, strong, and incredibly brave and is one of the first people Nathan is capable of trusting in his life. It was breathtaking watching their relationship develop and I loved every interaction between the pair.
There are very few characters to dislike within this novel, finding each secondary character fascinating in their own ways. Arran was heartwarming, Jessica was heartbreaking, and Annalise intrigued me. There was a brilliant mix.
The writing itself is unique and interesting, drawing you in with Nathan’s choppy narrative and his blunt dialogue. His character shines through with the use of language and highlights Green’s talent for writing. The story is fairly fast paced with short chapters to keep you engaged and dying to know more.
Overall, I adored this novel. It’s been a favourite of mine for years and I can’t wait to return to the rest of the trilogy.