Half Bad by Sally Green is set in a modern day world in which witches live secretly alongside human beings (known as fains). In this world you are born either a White witch (who are perceived as good) or a Black witch (who are bad, of course), or in the main character’s case, you are both. Black witches are hunted down and killed by law, so you can imagine that Nathan’s life is heavily regulated. He’s beaten, kept in a cage, and mistreated all around. For me this book showcased the heavy prejudices that society can develop across any spectrum. Being a white or black witch shouldn’t mean you’re automatically good or bad, it should be about your innate character. In fact, many of the White witches showcased were anything but good. The lengths they went to to abuse Nathan were appalling. But they were backed by their excuse that what they did was for the greater good. But I wonder how the Black witches would behave if they were treated with human decency and allowed to live and thrive. I don’t blame them for all they have to do to just survive. I’d always be on the defensive too if I were them. Ms. Green’s book read like an allegory for real life prejudice in our world today and in the past. Speaking specificaly about racism, it’s always something: The mass murdering of Native American people, the Holocaust, and the treatment of Muslim people today are just a few things that ring a bell.
In any case, I really enjoyed the story. It felt very stream of conciousness. Like we were just along for the ride and watching something unfold before us. I was never bored or felt that it was dragging in any way. I cared about the main characters, and meeting the people he met along his journey. I loved the dark tone that it had overall. There was so much cruelty, really shining a light on the few bright spots in his life. Nathan’s father, Marcus was like a shadow clinging to and hovering over every single thing that happened. It was so well done that I was just always was watching for him. Wondering when he’d turn up. Wondering when Nathan would finally meet his father. Is he truly evil? Does he love his son? Where has he been all this time? So many questions!
I’ve been debating whether or not I want to continue with the series. And honestly, I could take it or leave it. But after writing this review, I may have talked myself into finishing it. I really want to learn what Nathan’s power is and more about his dad.
I give this book 4/5 stars and recommend it to those who enjoy supernatural YA novels.