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The Quilty Reader

Lawyer, mother, avid reader. Game host extraordinaire! Partner in crime to Obsidian Black Plague! My bookish weaknesses include classics, fantasy, YA, and agreeing to read more books than is even remotely possible.

Half Bad by Sally Green

Half Bad (Half Life Trilogy) - Sally Green

I whipped through this one.


Plot summary from Goodreads:


You can't read, can't write, but you heal fast, even for a witch.

You get sick if you stay indoors after dark.

You hate White Witches but love Annalise, who is one.

You've been kept in a cage since you were fourteen.

All you've got to do is escape and find Mercury, the Black Witch who eats boys. And do that before your seventeenth birthday.



Half-Bad is the first installment in Sally Green's "Half-Life Trilogy". I feel like the book has some pacing issues. The first half dragged for me although it did pick up in the second half. It is written primarily in first person present, although there are two brief sections that are written in second person. I don't enjoy second person, and didn't really feel that those parts added much to the book. However, neither of them is very long, so they didn't distract me, either.


So, while this book had weaknesses, it had more strengths, mainly Nathan, the main character. Nathan is a Half Code witch - his mother is a white witch, his father, a black witch. White witches control most of Britain, and are bent on exterminating the "evil" black witches. Unfortunately, there doesn't seem to be much good in white witches, and we see so little of black witches that Ms. Green has definitely built a huge amount of ambiguity into her story. It is hard to imagine that black witches are more evil than white witches, given the events in this book. If the white witches are actually the "good" witches, holy shit, are we ever in trouble. White witches are cruel, violent, occasionally sadistic, and not above a spot of torture and maiming.


The book does end on a bit of a cliff-hanger, although there is resolution to this part of the story. I am already looking forward to the next entry in the series.