Half Bad by Sally Green

I’d heard a lot of hype about this book but also not a lot of hype at the same time and I really wasn’t sure what to expect.

Nathan is half black witch half white witch. His dad is Marcus, the most feared black witch to exist and this makes him basically a black witch in the eyes of the white witch government. As Nathan grows up the government brings out numerous laws to basically imprison him in his own house then they have him sent to the care of a white witch who keeps him in a cage. Eventually the government imprisons him and he has to escape or he will not be able to become a full witch if he doesn’t find someone to give him 3 gifts on his 17th birthday.

At the heart of this book is a discussion of good vs. bad; whether someone is inherently bad just because of who their parents are and what race they are. Nathan is half black witch, the government is made of white witches so they do everything they can to stop him gaining his full powers. The white witches think they are the greatest and they’re good and that the black witches are all evil, but throughout we are shown they are not good, the way they treat Nathan, who is a child, shows you that they aren’t who they think they are. Black witches are more powerful than white witches so the white witches do all they can to keep them oppressed because they are scared of them. Remind you of anything?

There’s very good world building throughout the novel as you learn about how the government is run and how it polices people just through it’s actions towards Nathan. Not much actually happens for the first half of this novel just because it’s recounting Nathan’s childhood and how he has been treated just because of his parentage, but that didn’t make it difficult to read.

Another element to this book that really made me happy was that Nathan’s best friend in later parts of the novel is not straight, and there’s a lot of confusion about sexuality which I think we all know is sorely lacking in fantasy books.

Overall this was a really interesting book, I don’t often read antihero books so this was like a breath of fresh air. The writing was really weird at times, but not in a bad way, and Green managed to make me feel tense often from the way she wrote.

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