The Half Bad Trilogy // A Gritty World & Unique Magic

Author: Sally Green

Publisher: Viking Books

Genres: young adult // LGBT+ // urban fantasy > magic, witches

Half Bad synopsis and other information. Also includes synopses for Half Wild and Half Lost.

About 3 months ago, I returned from a year in Japan (woo!) for study abroad. And I came back seeing all of the novels I’ve missed out on, that I was behind on, and I just couldn’t wait to start devouring again! And in my quest to see if there were many male/male YA novels, I came across Half Bad. I saw that the final book was on its way the next month, so I began reading…

And it was quite a ride.

So, I will admit that, the writing style is…odd. It doesn’t flow like the average novel. It felt like a book draft many times. And there were definitely slow parts and repetitive moments that I kind of sped through. However, it grew on me a little. Maybe because I thought that this is what real thought may look. Human thoughts aren’t automatically stylized in fluid, coherent sentences. No, it’s more like Nathan’s irregular, unstable thoughts in moments of emotion. So that made Nathan a little more real for me. The narration makes you see the realities of his complicated mind as he tries to find himself, find a way to just live peacefully. You are there with him through the pain, the anger and bloodshed, the decisions, the loss, and the love.

And, though he can be a ruthless killer, he has other sides to him that make it hard not to like him. I loved that he wasn’t portrayed as another typical anti-hero that still doesn’t do many questionable things. He actually acts upon his ruthlessness. He fights for what he believes is right, but he still has doubts about himself and wonders about his identity. He made for such an interesting character because of his depth and I loved him for it all.

The other characters were well done, seen them from the eyes of Nathan. Gabriel…oh, such a kind character. A perfect fit for Nathan: his more stable half. I loved him just as much as Nathan. Their moments held such tenderness that had me rereading them a couple more times.

And, man, were the battles brutal sometimes. I appreciated the rawness of the fighting portrayals. The magic was unique and intense. The first book didn’t have much action; it introduced the world of the witches and their politics. And of course it introduced many important characters and the structures of magic. The second book definitely picked up the pace, heralding a bigger threat and the battles in Nathan’s mind. Then the final book was an action-packed finale.

And what a heart-wrenching finale it was. I was in tears (but I may be biased in this case; can’t say why here). It stayed with me for several days, but that’s what I love to find in books. I really don’t cry often for books. This was only the 2nd time (not counting a few manga).

I recommend this series to any YA fans who like:

  • a darker, grittier world with nothing held back when it comes to bloody violence
  • unique magic – like, the whole eating hearts thing is awesome, the Gifts, and a wide variety


My rating out of 5 dragon scales: 

my rating of 3.5/5




A LITTLE SOMETHING EXTRA – I thought this song went really well with this at the very end. What do you think??

Thanks for reading!

Did you try this series out? What did you think of it? Comment below! (Careful of spoilers, though)


3 thoughts on “The Half Bad Trilogy // A Gritty World & Unique Magic”

  1. I keep seeing this series everywhere, but I still haven’t got round to it yet. Your review has made me really want to read it soon though! Characters are always the most important part of a book for me, and it sounds like the characters in this book are really interesting and complex.
    Great review!


    1. Thank you! I hope you enjoy it! I hope the writing doesn’t deter you because it does take some getting used to, but still a good read ^_^


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