Book 51 of 2015
I don’t really know what to say for this blog post; shocking, I know. I’m left a bit mystified by Half Bad. Here’s the thing: I have seen the trilogy covers marketed broadly in bookstores for quite some time now, and I’ve read reviews that state Green is the “next J.K Rowling.” Well, let’s be honest: it’s never a good idea to call someone the next anyone, because it’s setting expectations way too high. If I hadn’t read those reviews, I may have an easier time summarizing my feelings on Half Bad.
Half Bad is book one of (currently) three and jumps into seven-year old witch Nathan’s life. Nathan is a half white, half black witch, meaning he was born from two conflicting ‘witch races.’ (In Harry Potter terms, think of it as a Death Eater and a member of the Order of the Phoenix hooking up and giving birth to a son.) Nathan has never met his black witch father, who is legendary for being the most evil black witch of his era. Nathan’s mother committed suicide, so he lives with his loving Gran, and half siblings (his half siblings have a different father and they are seen as full white witches).
The witching government has decided that on top of trying to capture all black witches, they also decide to constantly put restrictions on half white, half black witches as well. (In Harry Potter terms, think of this as restricting Mudbloods or “Half Breeds” like Professor Lupin from equal opportunity). These rules apply to Nathan, even though he is a small child. Growing up, he is ostracized and made to feel terrible about his heritage and namely, his father.
Green takes us through Nathan’s adolescent life, his first love, and ultimately his capturing. Nathan has grown into a self-sufficient, hot-tempered young man, and I found that as the story went on, I did empathize with him a bit more.
There are definitely a lot of Harry Potter similarities, although the story is very different. Beyond the similarities, I did find it challenging to get into the tale immediately, as Green wrote the beginning from ‘second person perspective’ which I am not used to reading. It almost felt like a ‘Choose Your Own Adventure’ story in the beginning to me.
The trilogy itself has been translated into 47 different languages, so clearly there is a thirsty audience for it; it’s just that I’m not drinkin’. Down the road, I am willing to give the second book in the series a shot, but I am in no rush to read it.
I’m eager to hear your thoughts on this series, so drop me a line to let me know if you think I’m totally off the mark, or if you agree.