Before reading this book I’d heard that you either love it or you hate it. I’m sorry to announce that I definitely didn’t love it. This book is truly very unique in many ways and I thought I’d really enjoy reading something a bit outside the normal box but I guess I really like the box as everything about this book that was unusual I just couldn’t get around.
For majority of the book the writing is like strung together dot points. There are breaks where Nathan will be very eloquent but really like 80% of the book is very short precise sentences. Which I honestly never thought would be an issue with me until you’ve actually read an entire book like that. After a while though you do get used to it – like you become desensitised. I do however think I understand the reasoning behind this writing though, is it because Nathan has a reading and writing disability, so that transcended into a very simplistic thought process? (If that insults anyone know I truly didn’t mean it that way and that I’m only trying to understand why Green would write that way.) Also the first couple of chapters at the start of the book are written in second person!!! I spent every second of those chapters thinking please stop.
I thought the pacing of the book was really off – a lot of the book dragged for (what I thought) was an unnecessary amount of time. The flashback, when you learn how he ended up in the cage, could have been condensed instead it took up more than 15% of the book. I actually have the opinion that the book dragged all the way up to when Nathan is in London which is about 70% into the book.
I could never connect with Nathan, I don’t know if it’s because he’s a he and I don’t usually read books solely from a guy’s perspective or what but I just never really liked him. I understand that he has had the world against him since he was a child but instead of pitying him (like I’m sure I was supposed to) and finding his will to fight the people who keep him down commendable, I just kind of found his tedious. Majority of the books is inner monolog instead of dialog and I just grew bored with Nathan’s thoughts.
Instead of finding the side characters in Half Bad quirky and eccentric I just got the sense Green was trying too hard to make them this way. I really felt that the only characters I could view as having an authentic personality are probably Gabe and Annalise, which is a great thing because these two are some of the most important people to Nathan. However, doesn’t matter how much the description of Nathan’s brother being ‘calming’ over his lifespan up until this point confused me with how someone apparently doesn’t change and grow, I really liked the way he treated Nathan, and Nathan looked up to him.
One thing you cant critique this book on is the brilliance of the idea behind the plot – a story about a boy who is born the son of the most evil black witch of all time (hey there Voldemort) into a world governed by white witches and his journey to learning who he truly is. I really, really find this idea to be intriguing, it’s just too bad the follow through was lacking to me.
Overall, I thought this book had the potential to be amazing but it just didn’t mesh well for me. It had a couple of very unusual elements and instead of thinking these quirks made the book I thought they really damaged it. However, I have read reviews by people who absolutely loved the book so truthfully I think Half Bad this is a book you need to make your own mind up about.