The inspiration for the Netflix series The Bastard Son & The Devil Himself
“An enthralling fantasy in the Harry Potter tradition.”—Time magazine
“A bewitching new thriller.”—The Wall Street Journal
In a modern-day England where two warring factions of witches live alongside humans, one sixteen-year-old boy is trapped between the two sides. Nathan's father is the world’s most powerful and cruel witch, and his mother is dead. Both groups of witches see Nathan as their greatest threat—or their greatest weapon. Trapped in a cage, beaten and handcuffed, he 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.
Now streaming on Netflix as The Bastard Son & The Devil Himself.
Cover may vary.
APPLE BOOKS REVIEW
A stellar debut, this thrillingly original teen novel has been published in more than 40 countries. Half Bad—the first book in a trilogy—is the story of Nathan, a boy who threatens the fabric of a society divided into the ruling white-witch caste and the outlawed black witches. This beautifully written tale does for witches what the Harry Potter series did for wizards, hooking us with an unforgettable protagonist and nail-biting action.
Nathan is the Half Code son of a White Witch and a Black Witch, and no White Witch will let him forget it. While Whites try to fit in amid normal "fains," secretly manipulating society, the Blacks are dangerous loners who, according to the Whites, have no purpose but murdering other witches to steal their powers. Nathan, whose father is Marcus the most hated of Black Witches falls in love with a White Witch girl, is taken into custody by the all-powerful Council, and, for years, is both tortured and trained in secret to murder his father. Then, just before Nathan's 17th birthday, he escapes, with only months to find someone to help him receive his own magical gifts. This grim and thrilling tale, first in a planned trilogy, features understated prose that lets readers' imaginations fill in the blanks, as well as a well-developed sense of Witch culture. Nathan, the damaged survivor of horrific abuse, is an unforgettable protagonist, and Green expertly captures his torment at being caught between the mutually hostile sides of his heritage. Ages 12 up.
It wasn’t 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.
Better than I was expecting. I can't wait to read the sequel.