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Half Bad
Cover of Half Bad
Half Bad
Half Bad Trilogy, Book 1
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"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.


From the Trade Paperback edition.
"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.


From the Trade Paperback edition.
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Copies-
  • Available:
    1
  • Library copies:
    1
Levels-
  • ATOS:
    4.5
  • Lexile:
  • Interest Level:
    UG
  • Text Difficulty:
    3

Recommended for you

Excerpts-
  • From the book Kieran says, "You know what this is, Connor?" Connor has to think about it, but eventually says, "A hunting knife." "Yes. To be exact, it's a French hunting knife. They make great knives, the French.Look at that blade.' I squirm and grunt and curse them. 'Hold him still, Niall. The blade folds away beautifully into the handle. Great design.The Swiss go for all the fancy gadgets in their knives, but all you need is a goodblade." I hear the rip of my T-shirt and feel the cool air on my back. I buck and curse again. "Hold him still." I feel the blade brushing over my back and now I hold still. The knife stops in themiddle of my left shoulder blade. The point goes in. "I'll start here. This half is the Black half, I'd say." And slowly the blade cuts down my back.
Reviews-
  • Publisher's Weekly

    Starred review from December 23, 2013
    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. Agent: Claire Wilson, Rogers, Coleridge & White.

  • Kirkus

    February 15, 2014
    A teenage witch persecuted from birth must find his father, the most notoriously evil witch alive, or die. Nathan Byrn grew up hearing tales of how his father, the famed Black Witch Marcus, murdered his mother's husband and caused her to commit suicide. By age 11, he's been designated a Half Code due to his mixed parentage, a status met with fear and disgust by most. Viewed by the Council as both a threat and a key weapon against Marcus, Nathan is caged by his 16th birthday. Nathan knows that as a Black Witch, he'll die if not given three gifts on his next birthday by a blood relative; Marcus is his only hope. After a palpably grueling ordeal in the cage, Nathan finally, too easily, escapes and resolves to find Marcus. Green propels Nathan forward with the help of often underdeveloped secondary characters, who are overshadowed by the imaginary relationship Nathan builds with his father; it is this that keeps both Nathan and readers going. Readers will hope for Nathan's sake that the fantasy father he's built from stories he's heard and his own imagination won't let him down. A cliffhanger indicates that the arc of Nathan's emotional trajectory will continue. Nathan's harrowing quest to build a father-son relationship will compel readers to the sequel even if the slim romantic subplot and looming threat of the Council do not. (Fantasy. 12 & up)

    COPYRIGHT(2014) Kirkus Reviews, ALL RIGHTS RESERVED.

  • School Library Journal

    April 1, 2014

    Gr 8 Up-Good witch or bad witch? This is the question that plagues 17-year-old Nathan, the product of two witches, one white, and one the infamous, hated black witch, Marcus. Readers will be intrigued by this work from the very beginning, as it opens in medias res, with Nathan living in a cage but attempting at every opportunity to escape, being submitted to beatings and ill treatment from a strange woman. Soon, flashbacks reveal Nathan's backstory: his precarious position in society is a result of his mixed parentage, and their hatred for his father Marcus, who murdered many white witches, led to the council of white witches taking the boy from his home with his grandmother and half-siblings to a life as a prisoner. While these characters inhabit a world that melds the supernatural with real life, the plot centers primarily on witchcraft, and there are few non-witch characters (or fain, as they are referred to). Nathan's feelings of self-loathing that grow as a result of the ostracism he experiences from those around him, coupled with a yearning to know more about Marcus, will resonate with readers; the first-person narration expertly conveys his anguish and alienation, as well his search for a sense for identity. Other characters tend to be sketchier by comparison, especially as the pace picks up after Nathan escapes and his journey takes off. Some of the violence (beatings, bullying, and even torture feature here) may be off-putting to more sensitive readers, but lovers of dark fantasy should enjoy this energetic, gripping volume.-Mahnaz Dar, School Library Journal

    Copyright 2014 School Library Journal, LLC Used with permission.

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    Penguin Young Readers Group
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Half Bad Trilogy, Book 1
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