Alright, so here's the deal: Half Bad wasn't necessarily a bad book, but I felt slightly let down because I heard lots of great things about it. I was not expecting it to be a three-star book for me. It wasn't good enough to make me want to read the sequel.
Then I finished the book. Curse you, cliffhanger ending! Now I feel compelled to read the next book because I want to know what happens to Nathan and all the other characters.
There's a few reasons why I only gave Half Bad three stars: 1) The slight romance between Nathan and Annalise. Come on, really? So predictable. Annalise is bland and boring and too perfect. You know who I'd like as Nathan's love interest? Gabriel! Gabriel and Nathan! I SHIP THEM. 2) The torture scenes. None of them are extremely gruesome but there are at least three of them and I'm a very squeamish reader. Perhaps that won't bother you. 3) This is the big one. The main reason Half Bad gets only three stars from moi. THE LACK OF MAGIC aka The lack of world building and setting. I have read other reviews about this and I agree; In a book with witches, I WANT ME SOME MAGIC!
But like I said, it wasn't completely unenjoyable, so here's what I liked:
Firstly, I felt sorry for Nathan and couldn't believe the "good" White Witches would torture him like that. I was extremely angry at the unfairness of it all. Then I cheered when
he escaped from captivity.
[/spoiler] And he's kinda funny. So overall, a nice protagonist.
And then there's Gabriel!! As I said above, I totally ship Gabriel and Nathan.
Also, I liked Nathan's relationship with his family, excluding that horrid bitch Jessica. Arran, Nathan's brother, was really sweet, and I liked their bond. As I mentioned in another review of mine (can't remember which), I do love me a sweet brotherly relationship.
Overall, I think there's a reason why opinions are so divided on this book. If you like stories more centered on action and adventure, and aren't bothered by scenes of torture, you might enjoy this. But if you're looking for a book focused on magic and witches? You might be disappointed by Half Bad.