Published: March 2014
Publisher: Viking Juvenile
Copy Provided by: Borrowed
A stunning, magical debut. An international sensation.
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?
This really was like the summary - a stunning, magical debut. I LOVED it. Throughout the novel I had so much compassion for Nathan. He was born to a family that didn't want him. His father was an evil tyrant and his mother died when he was young. Plus she has an older sister that treats him like he has the plague and blames him for their mother's death. Sound dysfunctional enough? Luckily, there were 3 people in his life who loved him and did not think him to be a monster. His brother Arran, sister Deborah and grandmother love and care for him. They constantly made an effort to make him feel loved and safe.
Despite having a father who is considered evil and feared, Nathan still feels the need to discover his roots as he grows older. The actions of the witches who ostracize him from society only feed his desire to be connected. Hunters capture him and begin tests on him like an animal because of his black witch side. Caged like an animal, he is tested physically and mentally. And the torture...oh the torture they put him through. I'm not sure how he managed to keep his temper in check and his sense of humor around but it just made his character stronger in my mind.
While this first book explored Nathan's abilities as a witch and was used for character building, there was plenty of action to keep me as a reader entertained. His trials to survive were intricate enough to move the story at a quick pace while allowing the reader to identify with the main characters.
The author also injects a little bit of her own humor into this novel. For instance, during on scene, Nathan finds a cottage in the woods where he finds porridge...just like Goldilocks and the Three Bears. Hilarious!
There is some language in this novel so it might not be good for a younger audience.
Overall rating? Half Bad was ALL GOOD!! Fantastic debut!!