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Sunday, 17 April 2016

Half Wild by Sally Green (Half Bad, #2) - Book Review

5/5 Stars

White Witches hunt him.

Black Witches hate him.

Nathan Byrn is on the run...

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Edition: Paperback
Pages: 400
Chapters: 62
Publisher: Penguin Books

Book Links: Goodreads
                      Amazon
                      Author's Website

Review

That cliffhanger is sick! (And I mean that in the best way possible because it is awesome.)

Half Wild completely blows my expectations out of the water. Ms Green keeps her action-packed and fast-paced storytelling alive and well, but this entry feels way more emotional and has a surprisingly high gore level (which, of course, I love). This series is shaping up to be a fiery, slick and magical conspiracy thriller. And all the components work.

There are a few cons of course, like leaps in logic that the plot hasn't earned and iffy writing in places, but overall Half Wild continues the addictive trend of mystical drama in a way that has me begging for the final book Half Lost.

Which I have and will be reading as soon as I get myself some sleep.

SPOILER WARNING

Synopsis (Not a copy from the book, but I always keep my interpretations close.)

Nathan Byrn is alone...
He's now a full witch with a powerful Gift, but his friends are few and even they're gone.
In hiding and on the run, the future looks bleak.
But a war is brewing, a powerful and prejudiced White Witch has taken the reins of power and is intent on eradicating the Black Witch race and anyone who stands in his way.
And there are plenty on both sides who intend to do just that.
Pulled into the Alliance, an army of White and Black Witches risking all to end the current regime, Nathan is torn between both sides.
But can Black and White really work together, and if they can't, what does that mean for Nathan?
The only existing person who's both Black and White...

Plot - 4.5/5 Stars

Green starts us off by using the second-person narrative, much like she did in the first book, bringing us in to the story with a very personal flourish. We feel a part of the drama and despair, and, boy, is there plenty of that to go around.

The beginning is more contemplative than the rest of the novel, but there is plenty of action and intrigue to keep the reader going. We also get more grit and emotion as the author builds this big battle of politics, extremism and magic. There are bigger bad guys to worry about than the simmering tension between White Witches and Blacks, and as that big bad is a White, it further underlines just how murky the divide between good and evil truly is.

Then comes the mythology and lore, which are fantastic. Half Wild offers much more of the supernatural than its predecessor, but it does it in a way where it doesn't overwhelm the overall plot. It's grounded and has boundaries, leaving the cast room to use their intelligence and experience.

There are a few aspects that leave me a little miffed. Such as some leaps that either haven't been built well enough or even at all. One such instance is near the start, when Nathan meets Van. Van waxes on about Nathan's plans in great detail, and our protagonist agrees that what she's guessed are in fact his plans. The problem with this is it's the first time the reader has heard anything about it. It leaves the reader feeling like they've missed a few chapters.

The same can be said for the 'big threat', although I feel the last quarter rectifies this. For a large part of the story we're told of the awful things the new leaders of the White Witches are doing, and how this has provoked a revolution of sorts. Initially it's hard to swallow, I mean, a lot of the bad stuff they're doing they've been doing for decades, and apparently with a lot of support. So what has changed?

Luckily, as I said, Green elaborates later on and manages to underline the severity, bringing the war into a new and thrilling light.

But it's probably the last quarter of the book that truly elevates Half Wild in my opinion. It brings it straight to Full Wild. It's full of action, drama and betrayals that sting right down to the heart, and then some. It's epic and magical and full of promise for the future (and when I say promise, I really mean chaos and catastrophe).

Pace - 5/5 Stars

Just phenomenal. Half Wild's addictive narrative and story combine with the action and suspense to form an exceptionally quick read.

Characters - 4.5/5 Stars

The author nails her cast on the head. Such a good job is done portraying each individual's personality, quirks and motivations. The chemistry bubbles and each conversation between various cast members is rife with different reactions and attitudes. It's major fun to read.

Nathan continues to be a solid lead character, and with a horrific history under his belt, he's taking no prisoners. In a way, as he fights to determine who he is, he already is his best version. He's not wholly good and he's not wholly evil, he's a mix, and a darn great one at that. I love him, I love Van, I freaking love Gabriel, I love Marcus... I love, I love, I love.

But you wanna know who I don't love? Annalise. God, they really should have just left her in her coma. I don't know if it's deliberate, but she just feels so empty, so lacking in everything. Nathan's love for her is a mystery, although, that could be because I'm Team Gabriel.

Writing - 4.5/5 Stars

Odd in places. I feel like there's something trying to come through, to be conveyed at those points, but it never reaches fruition.

For the most part Green excels with whatever scene she writes. Be it action or exposition or character progression, it's on point. And while we get brief chapters done in the second-person narrative, Green sticks to the first-person for a smooth, but still personal, experience, with the present tense to push it forward with urgency.

Overall - 5/5 Stars

Half Wild has left huge boots to fill with its concluding entry, but if anyone can pull it off, Sally Green can.


Previous Instalment: Half Bad
Next Instalment: Half Lost


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