Half Bad

( 25 )

Overview

In modern-day England, witches live alongside humans: White witches, who are good; Black witches, who are evil; and sixteen-year-old Nathan, who is both. Nathan’s father is the world’s most powerful and cruel Black witch, and his mother is dead. He is hunted from all sides. Trapped in a cage, beaten and handcuffed, Nathan must escape before his seventeenth birthday, at which point he will receive three gifts from his father and come into his own as a witch—or else he will die. But how can Nathan find his father ...

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Half Bad

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Overview

In modern-day England, witches live alongside humans: White witches, who are good; Black witches, who are evil; and sixteen-year-old Nathan, who is both. Nathan’s father is the world’s most powerful and cruel Black witch, and his mother is dead. He is hunted from all sides. Trapped in a cage, beaten and handcuffed, Nathan must escape before his seventeenth birthday, at which point he will receive three gifts from his father and come into his own as a witch—or else he will die. But how can Nathan find his father when his every action is tracked, when there is no one safe to trust—not even family, not even the girl he loves?

In the tradition of Patrick Ness and Markus Zusak, Half Bad is a gripping tale of alienation and the indomitable will to survive, a story that will grab hold of you and not let go until the very last page.

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  • Half Bad - Trailer
    Half Bad - Trailer  

Editorial Reviews

From Barnes & Noble

Nathan is a witch who lives in a modern-day England where witches live alongside humans, but even in his own community, he is an outsider. Nathan is a Half Code, the offspring of a white witch and a black witch. As such, he is tormented and abused; handcuffed or kept in a cage; beaten and encouraged to plot the murder of his father. He escapes, but his newfound freedom brings no relief, only the realization that he is being hunted by witches of every stripe. Sally Green's debut effort is already stirring excitement among teen readers in the know. Watch it rise on the hit lists.

Publishers Weekly
★ 12/23/2013
Nathan is the Half Code son of a White Witch and a Black Witch, and no White Witch will let him forget it. While Whites try to fit in amid normal "fains," secretly manipulating society, the Blacks are dangerous loners who, according to the Whites, have no purpose but murdering other witches to steal their powers. Nathan, whose father is Marcus—the most hated of Black Witches—falls in love with a White Witch girl, is taken into custody by the all-powerful Council, and, for years, is both tortured and trained in secret to murder his father. Then, just before Nathan's 17th birthday, he escapes, with only months to find someone to help him receive his own magical gifts. This grim and thrilling tale, first in a planned trilogy, features understated prose that lets readers' imaginations fill in the blanks, as well as a well-developed sense of Witch culture. Nathan, the damaged survivor of horrific abuse, is an unforgettable protagonist, and Green expertly captures his torment at being caught between the mutually hostile sides of his heritage. Ages 12–up. Agent: Claire Wilson, Rogers, Coleridge & White. (Mar.)
Voya Reviews, April 2014 (Vol. 36, No. 1) - Meghann Meeusen
In a world divided by two factions at war, Nathan is caught in the middle, for he is neither a White Witch nor a Black Witch, but a Half Code—half White and half Black. Nathan must overcome more than the tyrannical ordinances that govern his life and separation from the girl he loves, for destiny has ordained that he must kill his evil Black Witch father, a man who, more than anything, Nathan just wishes to know. On his journey to escape from the Hunters, cruel White Witches who cage and torment him, Nathan searches to understand his past and find a way to receive the three gifts that will allow him to come into his power, gifts only a family member can bestow. Yet family is something Nathan both desires and fears, for he also seeks to understand his own nature and if he is truly a White or Black Witch. The first in a trilogy, Half Bad follows the beginning of Nathan’s journey for self-understanding and escape from persecution as he struggles to decide whom he can trust. Told at times in first- and second-person, the story allows unique insights into Nathan’s perspectives, including the fast-paced escapes and heart-wrenching torment. An interesting spin on the paranormal that runs adjacent to some important social issues, Half Bad leaves readers questioning if the division between good and evil is ever as simple as black and white. Reviewer: Meghann Meeusen; Ages 15 to 18.
School Library Journal
04/01/2014
Gr 8 Up—Good witch or bad witch? This is the question that plagues 17-year-old Nathan, the product of two witches, one white, and one the infamous, hated black witch, Marcus. Readers will be intrigued by this work from the very beginning, as it opens in medias res, with Nathan living in a cage but attempting at every opportunity to escape, being submitted to beatings and ill treatment from a strange woman. Soon, flashbacks reveal Nathan's backstory: his precarious position in society is a result of his mixed parentage, and their hatred for his father Marcus, who murdered many white witches, led to the council of white witches taking the boy from his home with his grandmother and half-siblings to a life as a prisoner. While these characters inhabit a world that melds the supernatural with real life, the plot centers primarily on witchcraft, and there are few non-witch characters (or fain, as they are referred to). Nathan's feelings of self-loathing that grow as a result of the ostracism he experiences from those around him, coupled with a yearning to know more about Marcus, will resonate with readers; the first-person narration expertly conveys his anguish and alienation, as well his search for a sense for identity. Other characters tend to be sketchier by comparison, especially as the pace picks up after Nathan escapes and his journey takes off. Some of the violence (beatings, bullying, and even torture feature here) may be off-putting to more sensitive readers, but lovers of dark fantasy should enjoy this energetic, gripping volume.—Mahnaz Dar, School Library Journal
Kirkus Reviews
2014-01-29
A teenage witch persecuted from birth must find his father, the most notoriously evil witch alive, or die. Nathan Byrn grew up hearing tales of how his father, the famed Black Witch Marcus, murdered his mother's husband and caused her to commit suicide. By age 11, he's been designated a Half Code due to his mixed parentage, a status met with fear and disgust by most. Viewed by the Council as both a threat and a key weapon against Marcus, Nathan is caged by his 16th birthday. Nathan knows that as a Black Witch, he'll die if not given three gifts on his next birthday by a blood relative; Marcus is his only hope. After a palpably grueling ordeal in the cage, Nathan finally, too easily, escapes and resolves to find Marcus. Green propels Nathan forward with the help of often underdeveloped secondary characters, who are overshadowed by the imaginary relationship Nathan builds with his father; it is this that keeps both Nathan and readers going. Readers will hope for Nathan's sake that the fantasy father he's built from stories he's heard and his own imagination won't let him down. A cliffhanger indicates that the arc of Nathan's emotional trajectory will continue. Nathan's harrowing quest to build a father-son relationship will compel readers to the sequel even if the slim romantic subplot and looming threat of the Council do not. (Fantasy. 12 & up)
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780670016785
  • Publisher: Viking Juvenile
  • Publication date: 3/4/2014
  • Series: Half Bad Trilogy Series , #1
  • Pages: 416
  • Sales rank: 20,662
  • Age range: 12 - 17 Years
  • Product dimensions: 5.80 (w) x 8.40 (h) x 1.50 (d)

Meet the Author

Sally Green lives in north-west England. She has had various jobs and even a profession but in 2010 she discovered a love of writing and now just can’t stop. She used to keep chickens, makes decent jam, doesn't mind ironing, loves to walk in Wales even when it's raining, and will probably never jog again. She really ought to drink less coffee. Half Bad is her first novel. 

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Read an Excerpt

     Kieran says, “You know what this is, Connor?”
     Connor has to think about it, but eventually says, “A hunting knife.”
     “Yes. To be exact, it’s a French hunting knife. They make great knives, the French.
Look at that blade.’
     I squirm and grunt and curse them.
     ‘Hold him still, Niall. The blade folds away beautifully into the handle. Great design.
The Swiss go for all the fancy gadgets in their knives, but all you need is a good
blade.”
     I hear the rip of my T-shirt and feel the cool air on my back. I buck and curse again.
     “Hold him still.”
     I feel the blade brushing over my back and now I hold still. The knife stops in the
middle of my left shoulder blade. The point goes in.
     “I’ll start here. This half is the Black half, I’d say.”
     And slowly the blade cuts down my back.

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Customer Reviews

Average Rating 4.5
( 25 )
Rating Distribution

5 Star

(15)

4 Star

(5)

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(5)

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See All Sort by: Showing 1 – 20 of 25 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted April 18, 2014

    I'd like to begin my review by commenting that I haven't been so

    I'd like to begin my review by commenting that I haven't been so enraptured with a world of witchcraft and magic since I read J.K. Rowling's beloved Harry Potter septet. Now, don't misunderstand me, Harry Potter and Nathan Byrn are in no way similar to one another, and if you go into this novel expecting to visit the wizarding world of Harry Potter, I'm afraid you'll be thoroughly disappointed. Instead, this planned series offers an entirely different, and somewhat more sinister, world where Nathan is forced to endure pain and persecution inflicted on him by both family and foes alike for being something he had no choice in being, something he was born as: a halfcode. In short, I commend Sally Green on her debut novel and I eagerly await what she has in store for Nathan next. 

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted March 10, 2014

    I am a very fast reader, and I read this book in under 3 hours I

    I am a very fast reader, and I read this book in under 3 hours I enjoyed it so much. The entire story had a lot of well thought out characters and interesting story lines. I very much enjoyed the last half of the book, but the first half was also really well written. Of all the characters I love the friendship between Gabriel and Nathan. I almost find it funny how protective Gabriel is of Nathan, and it reminded me a lot of this "mother bear" friend we had in high school that was also very protective. I found a lot of interesting links in my life to this story. An A+ story, and I am painfully waiting for the next book. I am very sad it isn't scheduled to be out until FALL of 2015!!!
    #TeamGabriel

    1 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted March 8, 2014

    Quite Enjoyable

    This book was fast paced and leaves you eager for the next one.

    1 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted July 13, 2014

    Thoroughly enjoyed this book, I can't wait for the next one  

    Thoroughly enjoyed this book, I can't wait for the next one
     

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  • Anonymous

    Posted July 4, 2014

    Join clan

    Grassclan at rand
    Rockclan at ko (become deputy)
    Windclan at wynd(become deputy)
    Trey clan at trey
    Seasonclan at season

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  • Anonymous

    Posted July 4, 2014

    An annoucement!

    ADVERTISE!

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  • Anonymous

    Posted July 2, 2014

    Not your ordinary teen trilogy.

    I finished it too quickly, truly a wonderful read. Very raw, but totally worth your time.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted July 2, 2014

    Amazing

    A slow but intriguing start to a great series.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted July 1, 2014

    More than i expected

    This book, was more than I expected because I am not much of a witches novel reader and I actually don't like reading them, but I gave myself the oppotunity to read Half Bad, and from the beggining got cought in it and was desperate to finish it and see how would it end. I recomend this book for all the people who want a good twist and adventure read. You can easily become the characters in the book, I was really touched by Nathan (the main character), I laughed with him and even cried with him. Books that can make you laugh or crie or make you think are the best books ever and this is one of them. I'm expecting the second book despretly and the third one too. Hope is as good as the first one. You won't regret reading Half Bad.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted June 17, 2014

    Cate

    Where is camp?

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  • Anonymous

    Posted May 16, 2014

    Very quick read and I love the story line. But the character jus

    Very quick read and I love the story line. But the character just felt simple to me very cut and dry, and it wasn't until the end that I connect with the main character Nathan.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted May 14, 2014

    Very good read!

    I was completely immersed in the story through the whole book! I loved the storyline and the ending kept me wanting more!

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  • Anonymous

    Posted May 7, 2014

    Anonymous

    First saw this book advertised in Entertainment Weekly with great reviews. Read it without putting it down. AWESOME. Sally Green you have found your calling. Waiting patiently for the second of this trilogy.

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  • Posted May 1, 2014

    The story in Half Bad is one bursting with emotion and tension.

    The story in Half Bad is one bursting with emotion and tension. The writing is thoughtful, and Nathan's character stayed with me long after I finished reading this book.




    Reasons to Read:




    1. A story that simmers (slowly):




    The main character, Nathan, is absolutely filled with pent up emotions but the plot progression is fairly slow - don't expect action-packed excitement. Despite the external circumstances endangering Nathan, much of the story revolves around his internal struggles. I found that worked very well for the story in Half Bad, but you have to prepare yourself for a slow-moving plot.




    2. Harry Potter (without Hogwarts):




    Let me explain what I mean by this: Half Bad is not at all the same story as Harry Potter. However, it felt to me like it could very well be set in a similar type of world - but not Hogwarts. Think of the United Kingdom where there are social divides between witches, and the magic is subtly woven into the real world. More like the later books in Harry Potter where the Ministry of Magic takes a more prominent role in the story. The way the magic works is interesting as well, because it isn't exactly something that can be learned but more like a skill inherited or gifted to the witch. 




    The story isn't quite told in chronological order though, and I found it jarring at times to jump around in the book's timeline. There were some ways in which it was effective and kept my focus narrowed on certain aspects of the plot. But overall, it felt mostly jumbled to me as a reader. 




    I was most confused by the second person narration used briefly on occasion. Second person narration is so hard for me to connect with as a reader! And it didn't feel like it added anything to the story. I had no problem relating to Nathan's character or his circumstances otherwise and the second person narrative was just confusing. And the use of this technique was so minimal, it seemed out of place.




    That being said, Half Bad is a remarkably emotive book. Sally Green's storytelling is beautiful, and she touches on a wide range of issues and feelings with it. I felt a complete connection to Nathan and I was fully invested in what happened to him. For that reason alone, I would recommend reading Half Bad along with the benefit of a curious magical world. This story is utterly heartbreaking and the events endured by Nathan are horrific and shocking - which is why his story has stuck with me. 




    ARC received from Penguin Canada for review; no other compensation was received. 

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  • Anonymous

    Posted April 30, 2014

    The Next Big YA Series?

    Maybe. This is a very strong 1st book. It was quick paced and enjoyable throughout - no slow or boring parts at all. The characters were likable - especially Nathan himself. And the narrative was spot on. However - comparisons to Harry Potter are going to happen. And there are times that the book reads like a Harry Potter fan fic. - mostly within the first parts of the book. But it never felt like a 'copy'. Bottom line? One of the best YA books I've read post-HP and I'm looking forward to the 2nd book.

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  • Posted April 22, 2014

    This series has definite potential.  I'm a little miffed at wher

    This series has definite potential.  I'm a little miffed at where the first book left off but then again, cliffhangers always bring you back to read more. I am going to reserve any further judgement until I can finish the other(s) that have yet to come out because sometimes, an ending can ruin an entire series for me.  I do, however, have high hopes for this one!

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  • Anonymous

    Posted April 19, 2014

    This is a pretty good book. First book of a trilogy in a world o

    This is a pretty good book. First book of a trilogy in a world of modern-ish witchcraft.This book does reminds me a bit of Harry Potter but more sophisticated way with a bit more violence/physical fights. It also gives me the atmosphere of the last book of Harry Potter series when Harry and his friends are on run being hunted by the bad guys while at same time visit different places and strangers/friends helping them along the way.   I def. recommend this book! Did not expect to enjoy this book so much. Can't wait for more!    

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  • Anonymous

    Posted April 11, 2014

    From the very beginning you start to feel inside the story and h

    From the very beginning you start to feel inside the story and how Nathan copes with everything that life throws at him. The characters are lovable and well thought. What i liked even more is that the fact that it talks so much between good and bad, white vs black, you see a lot of gray. Also, great points for actually developing the relationships between the characters, romantic, friendship and even enemies. 

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  • Anonymous

    Posted April 8, 2014

    OMG

    I absolutely loved this book it was never a dull moment I read this all night I seriously cried like omg i can't deal lol. I loved how well written it was. You can really invision every single scene like its so descripted and i feel like I know what every character looks like and acts like. Im so eager for the nect book I can only imagine what is goi g to happen next. And last but not least #TeamGabriel by far my favorite character

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  • Anonymous

    Posted April 8, 2014

    Interesting

    I liked the book and it had good ideas it just was not my fave

    0 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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