Fantasy, young adult

Book Review: Half Bad by Sally Green

Half Bad by Sally Green

Title: Half Bad
Author: Sally Green
Publisher: Viking Books for Young Readers
Length: 394, hardback
Genre: Young Adult, Fantasy
Rating: 4 folded pages

Wanted by no one.
Hunted by everyone.

Sixteen-year-old Nathan lives in a cage: beaten, shackled, trained to kill. In a modern-day England where two warring factions of witches live amongst humans, Nathan is an abomination, the illegitimate son of the world’s most terrifying and violent witch, Marcus. Nathan’s only hope for survival is to escape his captors, track down Marcus, and receive the three gifts that will bring him into his own magical powers—before it’s too late. But how can Nathan find his father when his every action is monitored, when there is no one safe to trust, not even family, not even the girl he loves?

Half Bad is an international sensation and the start of a brilliant trilogy: a gripping tale of alienation and the indomitable will to survive.


For future reference, I absolutely hate the second person as a point of view while reading stories. It just feels extremely awkward and immediately puts me off. Which is why I wasn’t necessarily loving the beginning of Half Bad. The first part, which is immediately like 20 pages tops, was in second person. It just immediately put a bad taste in my mouth about this novel.

Luckily, by about 40 pages in I had gotten over my initial dislike of the book. After those first 40 pages, I couldn’t put the book down. Half Bad is definitely unique. The chapters vary in length and it deals with abuse, bullying, and overcoming it. The main character is also illiterate. He can’t read very well, but he’s still smart and I think we need more books like that.

I was able to understand those first 20 pages after learning about Nathan and I’m glad I didn’t decide to put the book aside when I was thinking about it. Everything is seen through his eyes so it can be hard to get a feel for other characters but I think it actually added to the story in this case. Because Nathan didn’t get a lot of the characters either.

Half Bad is nothing like I thought it would be but definitely what I needed. I’m not sure how else to describe it. I think it’s a book everyone should at least try to read. Needless to say, this book really surprised me and in a good way. I can’t wait to get my hands on the second novel, Half Wild, to see where Sally Green takes us next.

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