Tuesday, 27 May 2014

Review: Half Bad by Sally Green

Publisher: Penguin
Format: Paperback / eBook
Released: March 3rd, 2014
Rating: 4/10

Amazon summary:

You can't read, can't write, but you heal fast, even for a witch. You get sick if you stay indoors after dark. You hate White Witches but love Annalise, who is one. You've been kept in a cage since you were fourteen. All you've got to do is escape and find Mercury, the Black Witch who eats boys. And do that before your seventeenth birthday. Easy. 


You know when you hear about a book and are really, really excited to read it; promotional campaigns are huge, hype is off the charts and reviews are five-star odes to how amazing said book is? Yes? Well I had that prior to reading Half Bad. And things started off great. The first eighty or so pages were quite amazing and I thought "Yes! I know what all the hype is about!", but it didn't last. The book quickly became a chore for me to get through and I almost didn't finish it amid my crushing disappointment. I hate to be disappointed by an anticipated novel, but unfortunately I was.

I don't want to be mean here at all; I won't be and I never am when it comes to writing reviews for books that weren't my cup of tea, but I honestly do not understand all the hype surrounding Half Bad. For me it was slow, plodding and short of any interesting goings on. I liked Nathan at first but then just seemed to lose all interest in him and his plight. I loved the sound of the premise too - the white and black witches, the fast healing, a boy on the run from powerful witches who want him dead. It all sounded good on paper (or rather, the back of the book), but it never seemed to amount to anything in the actual book. There was hardly any action and characters I can only describe as two-dimensional. Obviously I just didn't connect with them on a personal level, which is all down to me and how I was feeling at the time of reading.

One aspect of Half Bad I did enjoy was the opening fifty pages. They grabbed me, promised excellent things and introduced me to a world I instantly wanted to know more about. Sally Green's writing is good, unusual without being too out of the ordinary, and infused with many an exciting idea. Whether these grand ideas will be better utilised in the second book is a question I'd like to know the answer to, because it will determine my decision to pick up future books in the series. Right now I'm not planning to, but never say never.

Half Bad was a book I looked forward to for months and really thought I'd love. That wasn't the case for me, but I know of lots of other readers and bloggers who have adored it, liked it and thought it was an okay read. As always I'd still recommend it, based on the fact that every reader is different and no one person can like every novel they ever read. Half Bad honestly does have some fantastic ideas within its pages, ideas that may prove more successful in a sequel and will probably translate better as a movie script. I'm still sad I didn't enjoy this one in the end, but I'm glad I read it and found out for myself whether all the hype was worth it.

1 comment:

Daisy Chain Book Reviews said...

We have such similar thoughts on this one, Jenny. Only difference is that I actually didn't finish the book - I abandoned it three-quarters of the way through. Like you, I thought the first fifty pages or so were great, but it all went downhill from there for me and I just don't understand the hype surrounding it at all. That said, a lot of people seem to love it.