The saying goes ‘never trust a book by its cover’. I am a firm believer in this, but for Half bad, I am going to adapt the saying. ‘Never trust a book by its blurb’.
Nathan Byrn is half Black Witch and half White Witch. His father is the most powerful Black witch in existence, but they have never met. His mother committed suicide when he was a child, but there might be more to her story. So, what does that make Nathan? This trilogy is about self discovery, romance and a battle between what is right and wrong. Despite the cliche themes, the trilogy itself could not be more different.
First, the basics. A blurb is meant to give you an insight in to the book you are reading. It is designed to give you an idea of what is involved. The blurb for Half Bad is not only short, but also provides very limited information. It reveals very little about the plot line and the journey the characters take. I know many people who hate it when the blurb reveals too much, but I think the blurb doesn’t reveal enough (but some people don’t mind this). For weeks I was going in to Waterstones or WhSmith, picking up the book, reading the blurb and putting it back on the shelf simply because I had no idea just what the book was about. Self-discovery? Romance? Did it involve battles? Was the character, Nathan Byrn, on the run? I just was not sure.
Now, the series is set in a magical modern day Britain, yet there is very little magic used until the end of the trilogy. White Witches hid behind their councils and rules until the third book. Nathan and his friends are supposedly big bad witches, yet they are hiding from White Witches that claim to fear them. The actual magic does not appear in the trilogy until the council of White Witches’ true intentions with Nathan are revealed.
Once you get in to the book there really is no stopping. The plot line is fantastic, but the book is written in what appears to be a fast pace. The Half Bad triloy could have been extended to potentially five books. The chapters would jump from one place to another with a very simple description of how the characters came to be there. It is written in brief, precise and eloquent sentences that will captivate any reader undoubtedly. Though, it is this short type of sentence structure that can make the book appear fast paced. The reason for the brief sentences however, lies in the difficulty the author would have writing from a characters perspective that has trouble reading and writing. Nathan is often better with maps and images as opposed to words. The real description comes in the form of these images, the scenery as opposed to the characters feelings or conversations. This can make it difficult for a reader to connect with Nathan as a character. It took me a while to really feel like I knew him.
What makes this trilogy completely unique is the relationship dynamics. I said there was romance within the book and it is very much true, but it is a romance unlike any you have ever read. Nathan is in love with his childhood sweetheart, Annalise. To him, she is everything. Although, like all relationships in books, things get complicated and fast for these love birds. While Nathan is discovering himself, he is also on the run. He cannot be sure who to trust in a world that is hunting him.One person who will not leave his side is his best friend. Does he fall in love with his childhood sweetheart? Or perhaps he will develop feelings for his best friend? Did I mention his best friend is a guy named Gabriel? Nathan and Gabriel meet purely by chance, but Gabriel does not trust Annalise one bit. Thus, we have an interesting spin on a traditional love triangle. Nathan Byrn was raised very differently to others. He doesn’t think about whether the person he likes is female or male. He simply looks at their personality. He likes them for who they are not their genital parts. Nathan can appear to be quite feminine at times despite his masculine character building. It is the gentleness in which he treats his friends and family. When having to leave his half brother, Arran, Nathan kisses his fingertips and places them to Arran’s forehead. It is as if he does not want to break him. I have read plenty of books and I can say with certainty that in the Young Adult genre, I have never come across a relationship dynamic that is even remotely similar. It is something I truly love about this series and thoroughly enjoyed reading.
The violence increases throughout the trilogy; from carving letters in to a person’s back, to eating human hearts. This series is dark, gory and tragic. It does have its delicate and more romantic moments, but these are short lived due to the books fast pace.
Half Bad ends with a cliff hanger that leaves you wanting to know more about what happens to the characters. There are many questions that have been left unanswered. If you want to read Half Bad, make sure you read the entire trilogy.
The ending to the trilogy is also quite unique. I have only ever come across one other book with such an ending. It is a sad yet happy moment for the characters. The most memorable part of the trilogy is the ending to Half Lost, the last instalment. It is a scene that you will not be able to forget. It is heartbreakingly unique, sad and beautiful. It is a scene that will either leave you screaming in frustration or leave you in tears.
The entire trilogy is not the best I have ever read, but it is by no means the worst either. One of the books can easily be read in half a day. I finished two in one day during the summer time. It is definitely a highly recommended read.