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Thursday, February 12, 2015

Half Bad by Sally Green Review

2/5 Stars
Details of the book:
ebook, 417 pages
Published by Viking, an imprint of Penguin Group
Publication Date: March 3, 2014

I read in other reviews that others have found this book to have many similarities to the Harry Potter series, and I agree with them. There is a Lucius (Soul O'Brien) with slicked back blonde hair and who has a hatred for "half-bloods", and Ministry of Magic (The Council) that keeps track of all of the witches,  and a very Harry Potter-like protagonist with the exception that he goes through immense torture. There is one thing that steps away from the Harry Potter franchise though, this book has very little magic considering that it's all about witches. 

I think that this book has a really interesting story but it lost me in its writing. It lacks the depth of feeling that is required for me to become emotionally invested in the characters. Although I had a lot of insight into Nathan's mind, I felt his relationships with the other characters were described in a very detached way. Therefore, I felt very detached from those relationships as well. The setting and most of the details in the plot are really vague. For example, it's really unclear as to what makes a person a Black Witch and what makes a person a White Witch. At first, it seems like it's in their blood and then at the same time it seems like it has to do with their choices of how they use their magic. Basically, Half Bad is written like a sequel, where you already know all of characters and setting that you don't need a full explanation for everything but it's not. I don't regret reading this book but it's not something I wouldn't recommend.


1) I really like Gabriel. I want to know more about him. 

2) I think the story itself is very interesting. 

3) I like Marcus. I'm not usually into villains but he seems to be the most interesting character in this entire book.

4) All of the details of Nathan's torture is pretty extreme. I've read plenty of YA books where characters are "tortured" and it usually has me rolling my eyes. Not in this one. 


1a) Where this book lost all of my affection was in its writing. Details such as the Nathan's family history and what his daily routines are written out like a list. That's not writing. It's just like reading a shopping list or a text book full of dates. 

1b) When it comes to the writing involving feelings there is no passion or any trace of emotion. The reader is aware of the moments when he/she should feel bad or upset but the writing doesn't manipulate your feelings to feeling any of them. 

1c) Most of the details in this book are written as if the reader already knows everything about the world and the people so it gives the reader very little description. 

1d) The book is primarily written in first-person but has sections written in second. Although it was interesting it didn't make sense as to why it was written that way. It didn't add anything to the plot, if anything it made it more confusing and more vague. 

2) What makes a White Witch and what makes a Black witch. As I said above it seems it has to do with the blood line but then it also seems that it's to do with a person's choices. It's confusing and vague. 

3) There is a surprising lack of magic in this book considering it's all about witches. 

4) Nathan's relationship with Annalise. There is no passion or development. They aren't together for most of the book and yet I'm supposed to believe that they are in love. 

Favorite Quotes/Moments:

1) One evening Deborah comes into our bedroom, sits on Arran's bed, and reads her book. It's just the sort of thing Deborah does; she crosses her legs like Deborah does, has her head to one side like Deborah does, but still I'm suspicious. She listens to Arran and me talk for a minute or two. She seems to be reading the book; she turns a page. 

Arran goes to brush his teeth.

I sit next to Deborah, not too close. But I can smell her hair isn't right.

I lean toward her, saying, "Let me tell you a secret."

She smiles at me.

I say, "Your smell is so revolting, Jessica. I'm going to be sick if you don't leave...."

She spits in my face and walks out before Arran comes back in. 

2) Later that night, when I am getting undressed, Arran has a go at talking to me. I guess Gran has asked him to try. He says I should "rethink," perhaps ask permission to go to one place in Wales," and some other stuff like that. Adult stuff. Gran's stuff. 

I just say, "Can I have permission to go to the bathroom, please?"

He doesn't say anything, so I throw my jeans on the floor, get on my knees and say, "Can I have permission to go to the bathroom? Please?"

He doesn't say anything but drops to his knees with me and hugs me. We stay like that. Him hugging me and me still stiff with anger at him, wanting to hurt him too. 

After a long time I hug him back, just a little. 

3) "Let's suppose Marcus has threatened to kill a member of your family: Arran, say. the only way you can save Arran is by killing Marcus."

"Let's suppose something more realistic. The Council threatens a member of my family: Arran, say. the only way I can stop them from killing Arran is by killing Marcus."


"I won't kill my father."

"All your family. Your grandmother, Deborah, and Arran are being tortured."

"I know the Council would kill them all. They are murderers. I'm not."

Celia raised her eyebrows at that one. "You would kill me to escape from here."

I gave her a big smile.

She shook her head. "And if they threatened you? Tortured you?"

"They threaten me constantly. Torture me constantly."

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