Published by Penguin on March 29th 2016
Genres: Young Adult, Paranormal
Buy on Amazon
The magical, stunning conclusion to the internationally acclaimed Half Bad trilogy.
The Alliance is losing. Their most critical weapon, seventeen-year-old witch Nathan Brynn, has killed fifty-two people, and yet he’s no closer to ending the tyrannical, abusive rule of the Council of White Witches in England. Nor is Nathan any closer to his personal goal: getting revenge on Annalise, the girl he once loved, before she committed an unthinkable crime. There is an amulet, protected by the extremely powerful witch Ledger, which could be the tool Nathan needs to save himself and the Alliance. But the amulet is not so easily acquired. And lately Nathan has started to suffer from visions: a vision of a golden moment when he dies, and of an endless line of Hunters, impossible to overcome. Gabriel, his closest companion, encourages Nathan to run away with him, to start a peaceful life together. But even Gabriel’s love may not be enough to save Nathan from this war, or from the person he has become.
“I’ve killed fifty-two people. But really all I want is to get my hands on her. I’d be happy with fifty-three. Just one more and I’ll be satisfied.”
I liked this book more than Half Wild. I liked the gay romance. I liked that Nathan is a true antihero with a murderous mean streak that he actually acts upon – in other words, he isn’t just one of those characters who’s sold as an antihero but never does anything questionable.
But I have a theory. The same theory I have about series like Ee’s Angelfall: the author came up with a fascinating and exciting premise – good witches! bad witches! magic! misunderstandings! inner struggle between good and evil! – and then lost it when it came time to turn that premise into a compelling story arc.
I really loved Half Bad. Not everyone did, but I thought the writing and the idea were instantly engaging. I enjoyed reading about how Nathan grew up as a problem kid and everyone expected the worst of him because his father was a black witch – and, in the end, was it nature or nurture that made him the way he was? The story was realistically frightening and unfair.
But that story started to wander in circles in both Half Wild and Half Lost. I lost count of how many times Nathan’s inner narrative repeated his feelings about his father and how alike they are, his feelings about Annalise and how he must find her, and his feelings about Gabriel.
The plot itself also moves in a pattern of:
1) Find the bad guys
2) Infiltrate bad guys hideout
3) Kill bad guys
As I said, I enjoyed this book more than the last one, but I still find myself looking back over Half Lost and wondering what it really contributed to the series and story. There is literally one “big” and memorable occurrence near the end and, truth be told, it was just kind of disappointing.
This isn’t even a case where the story feels dragged out longer than necessary… rather, it feels like the author wrote it with no idea where it was going. It doesn’t really seem to have a climax and the ending kind of fizzles out.
If you read and enjoyed the first two books, then it makes sense to read this finale and get your closure. But if you’ve been skeptically raising an eyebrow for a while now, you’re honestly not missing much.