March 11, 2014

First to Read Review: Half Bad by Sally Green

I was instantly swept up into this fast-paced story of a Nathan, who is half white witch and half black witch.  He is living with his white-witch grandmother and half-siblings, but he is being watched incessantly and is being hunted because he is part black witch.  The problem is that he doesn't know if he feels more like a white witch or more like a black witch.  

His mother has died and he longs to meet his black witch father, but that isn't going to happen anytime soon.  In the meantime, he worries what is going to happen to him as he has to be evaluated every year on his birthday to see if black witch traits are coming out.  One year, they take Nathan from his grandmother and imprison him with a white witch who keeps him in a cage and teaches him to fight.  Although he is not necessarily the most intelligent (he can't read, or be taught to read it seems) or the strongest or most gifted witch, he is passionate, brave, and, above all, a survivor. He fights for everything, hard-scrabble style. 

The only issue I had with the book was the ending is so obviously a ploy to get you to read the second book in the series.  That is so irritating.  I would have picked up the next book anyway, but I find it to be a cop-out non-ending.  

Overall, however, I thoroughly enjoyed the book.  Very unlike me, I devoured it in just a few sittings.  I recommend it to anyone who wants to lose themselves in a magical, fast-paced, twist-filled, root-for-the-underdog story.

“His next joke he says quietly, just sharing it with me. ‘What’s the difference between a Half Code and an onion?’  He lifts my shirt up.  I feel his fingers scratch over the lower part of my scars, his scars, as he says, ‘Cutting up an onion makes you cry.’” (pg. 219)

“What will you do after you get your three gifts?”
I say, “I will develop my Gift.  I don’t want to get stuck as a dog.”
“Yeah, being a fain (human) is bad enough.  And what else?”
“What makes you think there’s something else?”
“The way you go all…there’s an English wordmopey?  Yes, I think that’s it.  You are mopey sometimes.”
“I think you’ve got the wrong word.  Thoughtful is more like it.”
“No, I think the right word is mopey.” (pg. 325)

*Thanks to Penguin Books' First to Read Program for the copy of this book before it hit the shelves.

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