Title: Half Wild
Author: Sally Green
Publisher: Viking Books for Young Readers
Length: 432, hardback
Genre: Young Adult, Fantasy
Rating: 4 folded pages
Warning: The blurb contains spoilers!
“You will have a powerful Gift, but it’s how you use it that will show you to be good or bad.”
In a modern-day England where two warring factions of witches live amongst humans, seventeen-year-old Nathan is an abomination, the illegitimate son of the world’s most powerful and violent witch. Nathan is hunted from all sides: nowhere is safe and no one can be trusted. Now, Nathan has come into his own unique magical Gift, and he’s on the run–but the Hunters are close behind, and they will stop at nothing until they have captured Nathan and destroyed his father.
I’m going to try and keep this spoiler free. So you will get ample warning if I spill one (though I’m not likely to). Sally Green’s writing is unique. I enjoy the way she writes but it always takes me at least 50 pages to start enjoying her books. That being said the themes and the way she immerses you in the world are absolutely amazing.
I enjoyed that unlike the first book, there was no weird second person chapters told in snippets. There is just something about second person in a novel that annoys me endlessly unless the book is told so that the narrator is trying to make a point to the reader. Still despite the fact that the first few chapters weren’t in second person it still took me a while to get into and I think it’s because Nathan is a difficult character to understand and relate to when you first start reading his narration.
Nathan is quick-tempered and impulsive and although these are flaws they also make him very loveable. Nathan has become one of my favorite characters because he’s so misunderstood by those around him and he has a hard time communicating.
I also like how Sally Green plays with love interests without making the story about love. It’s just side notes that add more depth to both Nathan and the other characters in the novel.
I enjoy the way Green builds her witch world as well. It’s completely believable and I don’t find myself randomly breaking my suspension of belief like I do in other fantasy novels. I think it’s because her witch world parallels the “real” or fain world. There’s no unnecessary belief that fain technology shouldn’t be used or understood by them.
I have to say my favorite part about Half Wild (and the trilogy thus far) are the themes Green effortlessly weaves into the story. She touches on racism through Nathan being a half black, half white witch and how others treat him as well as how the Black witches and White witches treat each other. It’s incredibly obvious how it relates to current race issues. But I also like how she handles Nathan’s reaction to being labeled and others hating him purely for his label.
The only downfall I found with Half Wild is that the last 100 pages or so felt like it should have been the start of the next book. The climax and resolution happened pretty early in the book I think and the way she finished out the last 100 pages tended to err slightly on the side of boring and repetitive. It was still captivating but I found myself skipping a lot of paragraphs as I progressed through the last 100 pages and I never want to do that with a novel.