Half Bad

Posted: Tuesday, May 20, 2014, 8:37 am

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Half Bad

Sally Green

2014

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Kate F

Teens, Adults

Fantasy

In brief

4

Witches living among humans, in England, undetected. A teen boy with magical powers. Thinking of Harry Potter? Think again.

Before we get started, let's get one thing straight. This is a dark, dark book. It's tough to read and it hurts, but it's worth it.

Trapped in a cage, brutalized and trained to kill, all Nathan wants is to find his father, get his three magical gifts and become a real-deal Witch. The Council of White Witches has other things in store for him, though. They want him to kill his father, whom he's never even met.

In Half Bad, White Witches are "good," and Black Witches are "bad." They live alongside Fains (regular humans) in modern-day England. Nathan is the son of a White Witch who fell in love with the most feared and infamous Black Witch, Marcus. That makes Nathan a Half Code-– half White, half Black. It also makes him pretty much a social pariah. The last Half Code left in England, he is isolated from his peers, or worse, beaten up by them. It's like everyone is just waiting for him to reveal himself as evil, which he's not. The Council of White Witches creates increasingly harsh regulations for Half Codes, and Nathan ends up captured by them, living in a cage and desperate to escape.

Like I said, this was a tough book to read, but it's got real substance and complexity. It's not just a hypothetical tale about witches-– it's an unflinching look at the ideas of good and evil, and what can happen when those ideas get the best of us.