Monday, 5 May 2014

Half Bad by Sally Green

A fantasy coming-of age story that wraps itself around you and pulls you in. You have to be a fan of first person narrative to really get this book. Nathan delivers his tale in a punchy fashion flitting back and forth between past and present. It’s an off-beat story in style but I really enjoyed that aspect of it.

Nathan has lived in a cage since he was 14; he is there because of his parents. In a world full of witches and fains he is still unique. He is what the council fear because he could be good or evil. Does he take after his good White Witch mother or does he share the traits of his Black Witch father more. The council do not know, they cannot decide on his code but one thing they do know is they need him.  They need him to destroy the father he has never met. So they train him, push him and even brand him trying to turn him into that weapon. Yet he is not to be manipulated, he is strong, defiant and he must find who he is. So begins his journey of escape and discovery. He seeks out Mercury, the one who eats boys to give him three gifts, to help him discover what he is capable of.

For a debut novel I think its an ambitious plot and one that I have found some of my teen readers fail to grasp (hence 3 star rating). It’s not overly complicated it is just flits along a bit fast for some of the younger teens. However ambitious as it is Green delivers. Yes it is another set-up book and for me I did not feel like it finished due to this but at the same time I am intrigued to read the sequel.  Cleverly the main action of the story takes place in a few days the flashbacks to the past give insight into the character and make the plot much richer.

I personally loved the Hunters! One of the things I sometimes think is a bit soft in young adult fantasy is the bad guys. These Hunters however mean business they are brutal and actually pose a real threat and are not some easy push overs. For a gritty coming-of-age story that is set in a well crafted fantasy world this is must read. 

Impressive for a debut novel, hard to grasp in places but an gripping read.

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