Half Bad (Half Life, #1)

First Lines: There’s these two kids, boys, sitting close together, squished in by the big arms of an old chair.  You’re the one on the left.

One of my friends has been pushing me to read this for a while (mostly because she got the book for free and wanted to know how it was).  And I admit, it was a book I was pretty excited about myself.

Nathan was born half bad, or so the White Witches say.  Nathan is half White Witch, half Black Witch.  No one knows if he’s actually bad or if he’s good inside.  Few are willing to find out.  He’s been kept in a cage since age 14, as everyone assumes he’ll take after his Black Witch father.  But Nathan doesn’t want to be bad.  He wants to be good, good enough for Annalise, the White Witch girl he may love.  But how can Nathan prove he’s not dangerous when no one is giving him a chance?  Is he really evil after all?

You guys, I have seriously mixed feelings about this book.  I’m constantly flipping back and forth between “That wasn’t too bad” and “Oh my God, what was the point of that?”  Hopefully, I can explain that better in the coming paragraphs.

One of the hardest things to get through was the use of 2nd person narration.  Oh my.  No.  Just no.  Books should never ever use 2nd person narration.  (If you’re confused on what 2nd person is, it’s when someone says “You sit on the fluffy chair, then you turn and talk to the woman on your left.”)  The book starts out this way and then has one random chapter that uses it again after that.  I didn’t understand why it was used, nor do I understand why anyone would want to do that in the first place.  Ugh.  Pet peeve.  2nd person works great for giving directions, not for stories.

Also, it took a long time for anything to happen.  It spends quite a while in flashback mode, giving us Nathan’s life story.  Which is fine, we needed it, but it was so slow.  The prologue tells us what’s happening in the present, and I just wanted to get back to that, not spend 100 pages going on about Nathan’s awful sister.

Eventually, though, things did pick up.  It got more exciting once we got back to the present.  Once Nathan’s life gets more dangerous, the action picks up.  And after that, it was a lot easier to read.

But still…I couldn’t determine what exactly the plot was.  You know how sometimes you watch an action movie and can’t quite pin down what it’s about besides big explosions?  That’s pretty much what this book was.  Lots of fighting, bad guys, and action, but I couldn’t tell you what it’s about beyond that.

Generally, I liked the premise of this book.  The author uses a Shakespeare quote, but I thought it was more of a “nature vs. nurture” thing.  With Nathan being half and half, he could really fall one way or the other on things.  It’s just interesting to see how those around him deal with that, what they think.  It really shows more about them than it does about Nathan, and that was cool.

There were a lot of problems that I think could be attributed to a debut author rather than real issues with the story.  I mean, I’m willing to give some benefit of the doubt there.  Like how the setting is really never defined.  It’s a lot of forests and countrysides, but it’s never really made clear that this is supposed to be England.

It was a rough read at times, and a fun one at others.  In some ways, I guess you could say it was a lot like Nathan, half bad.  Oh my, I swear, I had an even worse pun on my Goodreads review but I can’t stop saying them!

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One thought on “Half Bad (Half Life, #1)

  1. I actually really enjoyed this book, but I do see where you’re coming from with many of your points. It’s nice to see a different perspective on this book!

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