Half Wild, the sequel to Half Bad, picks up right where its predecessor left off. Nathan has received the three gifts he needs to become a full-fledged witch from his father, the Black Witch Marcus, but now he’s on the run, with nowhere to go and no way to control his terrifying new Gift – the ability to turn into an animal. A very dangerous animal.
The beginning of Half Wild is a little disorienting, but it fits nicely with Nathan’s current state of mind when the novel opens. He’s delirious, exhausted, and scared, not just of the Hunters who are coming after him, but of the animal he can’t help himself from transforming into when he engages in combat. He keeps waking up next to mutilated bodies, with blood all over himself, but with only hazy memories of what occurred. Nathan may be trying to resist becoming a killer like his father, but the beast inside him has no such qualms.
Also on the forefront of Nathan’s mind is Annalise, his childhood sweetheart who’s being kept in a death-like sleep by the Black Witch Mercury. After he reunites with Gabriel, who Nathan feared was dead, rescuing Annalise is his sole objective. But it’s going to be an uphill battle – first they’ll have to find a way to restore Gabriel’s Gift, then locate Mercury’s top-secret home, then find a way to get Annalise free of her clutches. And once – if – that happens, those that help him are going to want something in return: for Nathan to join the violent rebellion against corrupt White Witches in power.
I really enjoyed this book, which is just as violent and unconventional as Half Bad. It’s so refreshing to read about a protagonist who truly does have darkness inside of him, and must not only face his enemies, but the darker parts of himself. Some fans may be disappointed that Half Wild doesn’t move quite as fast as Half Bad, which had years worth of action stuffed into a single novel, whereas its sequel only covers the span of a few weeks. Personally, I’m wondering how Green will wrap everything up in the final installment of the trilogy, due out next year – she’s left herself a lot of ground to cover.
The only thing that really nagged me about Half Wild is Nathan’s seemingly inexplicable devotion to Annalise. In my opinion, she’s one of the least interesting characters in the book, and I feel that Green does little to help the reader understand just why he cares about her so much. But then again, he is a teenage boy, and teens don’t always have really good reasons for falling in love; it’s just something that happens. Plus, Green hints in Half Wild that she has something much more interesting in store for Nathan’s love life!
If you haven’t already started reading this series, I’d highly recommend it. It’s a fun and original variation on a magical world full of witches – one that doesn’t sound nearly so nice to visit as Hogwarts would be.
A copy of this book was provided by the publisher for review.