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This review is from: Half Bad (Paperback)
The main reason I couldn't give this book more than 3 stars was that none of the actions of the adult White Witches made any sense. Fantasy means bending the rules of nature, but no book works when the characters don't think and behave like people in the real world. There wouldn't have been much of a story to Half Bad if any of the White Witches had stopped and thought to themselves "Gosh, maybe the reason that Nathan [main character] hates us is because we mistreated and tortured him from childhood."
Deal-breaking flaw aside, there's a decent story lurking in Half Bad, with decent writing - although the use of "cos" instead of "because" when every other word appears in full smacks of trying to be down-with-the-kids-yeah
One of the first things that struck me once I started reading was that the prose does remind of Patrick Ness' style. So the publishers got that right. Half Bad is also compelling, and there were true moments of white-knuckle horror. But the horror started to flatten out after a while, because of all the torture porn. Seriously. Most of this book is nasty things happening to Nathan.
Actually, there is another logical flaw to Half Bad - that Nathan is the only-ever 'Half Code', offspring of a Black and a White Witch. Apparently, the only differences between these two is eye colour and a tendency towards violence on the Black Witches' part. Except that the White Witches are happy to indulge in senseless torture so that doesn't even make sense. Basically, I have difficult believing that only one child in the history of time has ever been conceived by a Black and White witch. Unless in the next book it turns out that Nathan isn't alone.
If you're looking for a stand-alone book, veer away from this one. There is practically no resolution. I personally don't have too much of a problem with that, and I will probably read the sequel - though I think I'll wait for the price to go down rather than buying it straight away.
Not worth the hype, but just about worth the read.