Review: Half Bad by Sally Green

Author: Sally Green
Series: Half Life #1
Genre: Young Adult, Fantasy 
Publisher: Viking Juvenile
Expected Publication: March 4, 2014

In modern-day England, witches live alongside humans: White witches, who are good; Black witches, who are evil; and fifteen-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 sixteenth 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?

Imagine an unwanted child living in a world where witches and wizards exist. Your mother and Father have given their lives so that you might live. Yet from birth your treated as an outsider by the community because your a half blood see and in this magical world being pure is what reigns supreme. But as you age things get worse, naturally, and now your on the run from the Witches supposed to protect you and who uphold magical law. Sound familiar? That's because it is and therein lies most of my problems with Half Blood.

Listen I'm a huge Harry Potter fan and maybe that is why Half Blood ultimately didn't connect with me on the level I wished it had. Half Bad read like Fanfiction instead of a book unique to the Author who wrote it. Nathan is clearly a mix of Severus and Sirius, Celia is Dolores Umbridge, Jessica is Draco, Annaliese is Lily and so on... I literally could find parallels for almost every character in Half Bad and once you start looking it becomes incredibly hard to stop.

Now while I didn't particularly care for Nathans attitude, I did understand where he came from. A person can only be treated like garbage for so long before starting to believe it about themselves. Nathan was an incredibly broken character and I pitied him. He was my Severus. I desperately wanted Nathan to receive his gifts just so he could finally be recognized and accepted by his peers but alas that was not to be. He's too hated, too feared, too Different. Yet amongst a few,their remains hope and while that exists he might find redemption and the love he so desperately craves.

Despite some of my initial hesitation I did end up enjoying Half Bad. The book was incredibly fast paced and I even read it straight through the Olympics broadcast which is a huge thing for me. I also found the Authors writing style to be pleasing with the exception of the beginning of the book where were locked into Nathans pov. That I did not like one bit. I also commend the Author for talking about such hard hitting topics like gender inequality, social and political injustice and also racism. It never felt "preachy" to me despite those underlying themes being present.

Final Thoughts
Maybe my expectations were too high but is it so wrong to not want to settle for good? To paraphrase Barbara Streisand "Being good just won't be good enough. I want
the best or nothing at all." Herein lies my disappointment. I liked Half Bad, I'll continue the series and even follow it closely. However, it had the potential to be great, something really special and when it counted, it failed to be that book for me. With that being said, I have but no choice to rate Half Bad by Sally Green ★★★.

 *Copy reviewed  through Netgalley. All opinions are my own and I was not compensated in an which way  for providing them.

About the Author
SALLY GREEN lives in north-west England with her husband and son. 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.

Follow Sally: Twitter / Goodreads / Website


  1. Interesting. I'm dying to read this book. I was actually turned down TWICE to review it, which bummed me out, but maybe that's not such a bad thing? I hadn't realized the HP similarities were so strong. Well, I'm going to give it a shot anyway because now I'm really curious!

  2. Oooh... you are a little conflicted by this one due to it's similarities to HP but the pace was good. It is great to see that you want to continue in this series regardless though! Fab review!!

    Naomi @ Nomi’s Paranormal Palace

  3. Ugh, I wasn't incredibly excited about this book like everyone else, but now I'm even less so. If I wanted to read HP, I'd grab the book off my shelf, not read some hybrid version of it. Thanks for the honest've cemented my decision not to pick this one up.

    1. Exactly, it is really disappointing how similar characters and situations seemed to those in HP.


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