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In the tradition of Patrick Ness and Markus Zusak, Half Bad is a gripping tale of alienation and the indomitable will to survive, a story that will grab hold of you and not let go until the very last page.
Publishers Weekly® Reviews
- Reviewed in: Publishers Weekly, page .
- Review Date: 2013-12-23
- Reviewer: Staff
Nathan is the Half Code son of a White Witch and a Black Witch, and no White Witch will let him forget it. While Whites try to fit in amid normal "fains," secretly manipulating society, the Blacks are dangerous loners who, according to the Whites, have no purpose but murdering other witches to steal their powers. Nathan, whose father is Marcus—the most hated of Black Witches—falls in love with a White Witch girl, is taken into custody by the all-powerful Council, and, for years, is both tortured and trained in secret to murder his father. Then, just before Nathan's 17th birthday, he escapes, with only months to find someone to help him receive his own magical gifts. This grim and thrilling tale, first in a planned trilogy, features understated prose that lets readers' imaginations fill in the blanks, as well as a well-developed sense of Witch culture. Nathan, the damaged survivor of horrific abuse, is an unforgettable protagonist, and Green expertly captures his torment at being caught between the mutually hostile sides of his heritage. Ages 12–up. Agent: Claire Wilson, Rogers, Coleridge & White. (Mar.)
Powers of good and evil
If Lily Potter and Voldemort had a love child, he would be Nathan Byrn. Born out of an illicit love affair between a White Witch and a Black Witch, Nathan is an abomination, a Half Code. His father, Marcus, is the vilest Black Witch in all of Great Britain. His White Witch mother committed suicide in shame.
Two years before Nathan’s 17th birthday—when he will receive his inherent magical powers—the Council of White Witches imposes harsh regulations on him: He’s not allowed to leave his home without permission; he can’t be in the same room with White Witches; and he can’t be with the girl he loves without the threat of death. The Council kidnaps him and takes him to Scotland, where he is caged, studied and trained as a weapon to kill his father. But Nathan is not a killer—yet.
The first in a trilogy, Half Bad is a fast-paced, compelling story about the many shades of good and evil. The White Witches are considered to be the good guys, but the Council spends much of its resources seeking out Black Witches for torture and death. Nefarious characters and a cliffhanger ending will entice readers and leave them wanting more.