I'm very confused as to why anyone would compare Half Bad by Sally Green to Harry Potter. How did this occur? There is literally nothing here that is in any way similar in the slightest to Harry Potter. Like, not even a little bit. Not even a microscopic piece. Therefore, being disappointed in Half Bad because you were expecting Harry Potter is really rather bizarre. Yeah. Don't do that.
So I took my horse up onto the hills the other week. This is the first time I've been able to do this with him in a long time as the weather had been bad. When I talk about my horse I'm not talking about a little smiling, round-bellied pony. My horse is a fire breathing dragon - a pumped up, arrogant show jumper with an opinion that is unfortunately often different to my own. As soon as his hooves hit the grass at the bottom of the first hill he was bouncing, every muscle coiled, a mad glint in his eye. What happened next was purely a lack of judgement on my part. I said to him you wanna go, you go - I dropped the reins slack and booted him in the ribs. Please don't ask me what the hell was going through my mind when I suggested that this 1500lb creature with a wicked sense of humour and a responsibility for my well-being aim for a flat out gallop, but I did. Unfortunately horses are highly unpredictable and instead of riding off into the sunset with the wind in our hair my horse decided he was going to pretend he was at the rodeo and proceeded to kick and buck like there was no tomorrow. I'm talking back hooves over his head, twisting every which way, just broncing. For some reason I was taken completely by surprise and didn't have a hope in hell staying on the madman's back and therefore went sailing off rather ungracefully, landing in a very awkward heap on the ground while my now ecstatically pleased with himself horse disappeared over the horizon, leaping about triumphantly. I was black and blue. Nobody ever told me that there are rocks on that hill. And when you fall onto rocks it hurts.
Reading Half Bad felt like falling hard onto those rocks all over again. This book beat me up. It punched me right in the feels.
Half Bad is the rather brutal story of Nathan, a boy half white witch, half black witch. In this reality witches live alongside fains, or regular people (muggles if we have to go there) and consist of white witches - the supposed good guys - and black witches - the feared and ostracised. Nathan is the first of his kind and labelled a half code. His mother was a much respected white witch, his father the most hated and murderous black witch in English history. The witch's government is wary of Nathan, afraid of what he will become and hellbent on imposing suffocating controls on him. Nathan must escape the clutches of the white witch government before his seventeenth birthday in order for him to receive three gifts and the blood of his ancestors or he will never grow into a mature witch, instead becoming sick and dying a horrible death. There's many scrapes along the way - lots of running and jumping, gunshots and knives.