In Nathan’s world, there is only Black or White witches, magic for good and for evil. Nathan is an enemy of everyone as the son of Marcus, the most powerful black witch in England. Nathan struggles to survive to his 17th birthday when he hopes his father shall pass unto him 3 gifts which will make him into a true witch. While Nathan is chased all over modern day England by a group of psychotic white witches named Hunters who are trying to kill him, he begins to question who really is Black or White. It is the choices he makes that defines him rather than the magic he is given.
Sally Green’s novel is haunting, a level beyond the world of Harry Potter, she creates a novel where the supposedly “white” are corrupt and just as vile as the black. I mean seriously vile and corrupt. As a child and through his teenage years, the council of white witches are hell bent on restricting Nathan and following him by sending professional stalkers named Hunters. This all in the name of “protecting” the society of white witches. There’s a different type of social Darwinism in this novel, the proudest families are pureblood white witch families, families who intermarry with fains or humans are regarded as shameful. Hunters are professionals specifically with the sole purpose of killing all black witches. Really quite cheery. (So the book could be summarized as: A boy runs from a council of crazy social Darwinists who don’t want him to become the fittest when he receives his super powers.) Anyways, in the novel, readers find that many black and white witches have redeeming qualities compared to their ill-behaved peers. You might consider them the gray between the seemingly stark Black and White in Nathan’s world.
I love Nathan’s character. Quite simply put he has an “indomitable will to survive” that shows his strength of character. As a child, he is bullied, harassed, and violently abused at home and at school because of his parentage. Growing up doesn’t get any easier when he is forced from his home and family to be taken care of by a white witch. Or actually better put, is held in captivity by a white witch. While held captive it doesn’t stop him from trying to escape which makes Nathan almost lose some dear appendages to his body. Hand versus freedom, what to choose is the question sometimes.
Sally Green makes this novel feel more physiological than really adventurous. The 1st half of the book is unexciting as it focuses more on Nathan’s developmental years at home and also in captivity. Now the second half gets a little more exciting and violent as Nathan gets into close encounters with Hunters. Whether you agree or not if Half Bad is exciting or boring, readers cannot deny Sally Green’s brilliant writing that breathes this magical world into life. And it’s, even more, amazing because this is her first novel and Half Bad is COMPLETELY badass. XD