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Publisher Description

“An enthralling fantasy in the Harry Potter tradition.”— Time magazine

“A bewitching new thriller.” — The Wall Street Journal

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

In the tradition of Patrick Ness and Markus Zusak, Half Bad is a gripping tale of alienation and the indomitable will to survive, a story that will grab hold of you and not let go until the very last page.

Young Adult
March 4
Penguin Young Readers Group

Customer Reviews

Heyyhay ,

Great book!

This was a great read! A little hard to get into at first but I'm definitely glad I did! I quickly moved onto the next one and I am excitedly waiting for the last!

bowfin24 ,

Half Bad

This story of Nathan, a mixed-blood witch who is not trusted by either white or black witches, unfortunately had resonances of racial prejudice, even though the author goes to lengths to make it clear that 'white' doesn't equal good and black doesn't equal bad. Apparently being mixed blood IS a problem, however. The story is told rather simply and with sympathy for Nathan, who has never known his black witch father, Marcus. Raised among his dead mother's white witch family, he is accepted and loved by all but one of his half-siblings, but he is marked by the white witch leadership as one who must be suspected and evaluated each year for evidence of black witch tendencies. The police-state mentality of the white witches, who obviously think they are the good witches, shows many ugly ways to disregard the rights of Nathan, the mixed-blood 'freak', in order to protect the white witch population, who live amidst the fain (normal human) population of England and Europe. We never learn much about the society of the black witches, but apparently they try to kill white witches. In turn the white witches have a class of witches called Hunters who are skilled at locating, tracking and killing black witches. Somehow Nathan manages to fall in love with a young white witch named Annalise, getting them both in trouble. Soon Nathan is taken from his grandmother's care and isolated as a prisoner of a guard-witch who confines him and regulates his life with reward and punishment conditioning. As his 17th birthday nears, and he will become a full witch, is he being trained to kill his own father? This is one of the threads of storyline that keeps this plot moving and makes the reader engage in the book. Does Nathan even know his own mind, and what kind of witch he will become? Does his father even know about his son's life of doubt and torment? Does he care? These are ingredients that work to keep the pages turning quickly. There seems no doubt that a sequel must be in the works.

Faeriehunter ,

It wasn’t half bad

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