Half Bad by Sally Green

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The unexpected son of a white witch mother and the most dangerous black witch father, Nathan finds himself a pariah in white witch society. Told his entire life that he is the cause of his mother’s death, that he is less than other white witches, and that he is unwanted, Nathan struggles to deal with the consequences of his birth. As his seventeenth birthday draws near, Nathan knows that he must receive three gifts from a family member in order to access his true magical powers. But, as Nathan is half black, the white witches fear he will unleash dark magic upon the white witch world. Persecuted by white witches and seemingly abandoned by his black witch father, Nathan must carve his own way in the world and find some way to receive his gifts — before it’s too late.

I listened to this as an audiobook, and it was excellent! The reader was probably one of the best I’ve heard — I kind of just want him to come read me things everyday. While the reader was amazing, the story was so-so. Better than ok, but not super great. Nathan experiences a huge amount of persecution because of his parentage, and that persecution involves torture — a lot of it. I don’t mind reading violence, but I thought the torture happened a bit too often. Somehow, because the torture was a regular occurrence in the novel, it made the instances less meaningful. I don’t know — maybe I feel this way because I listened to the book instead of reading a physical copy. If you’re looking for a fantasy series about witches, give this one a shot. There’s a ton of action, and I really liked hearing Nathan’s history. If you can, get your hands on the audiobook — you won’t regret it!

This one has a book trailer!

*Rating: 3.5/5

*YALSA Amazing Audiobooks, 2015

For full analysis (including flags and SPOILERS) click here.

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Bone Gap by Laura Ruby

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Nothing happens in Bone Gap. That is, until Roza, a mysterious girl with a Polish accent, stumbles into town and brings it to life. Especially touched are the O’Sullivan boys, Finn and Sean, near orphans who adopt Roza as much as she adopts them. But, when Roza goes missing, no one searches for her. Sean believes she has just drifted away, as all people do who come into his life. Finn, though, knows she is gone — kidnapped. He just can’t describe the man who took her. Somehow, Finn must find a way to convince the town she was really taken and to rescue her. But such a quest will push Finn to limits he never imagined, jeopardizing all his relationships and even his sanity along the way.

This book is just wow. It’s kind of weird, and there’s definitely a lot going on, but I haven’t read a book this good in a while. I really appreciated how unique it was, and the mystery/magical elements kept my attention through the whole book. I was dying to know what happened with Roza and whether Finn was going to find her. There’s great character development in this book (Ruby is excellent at creating interesting backstories), and the dialog is extremely fun to read. It’s hard for me to say much without giving away major spoilers. Just know that if you’re into slightly magical, kind of weird books with excellent twists, this one is for you! I loved it! Read the spoilers if you want to know more — but don’t actually. Just read the book.

Rating: 5/5 

*YALSA Best Books for Young Adults, Nominee, 2015 

For full analysis (including flags and SPOILERS) click here. 

The Thief by Megan Whalen Turner

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Gen, a thief who takes great pride in his profession, is finally caught — left to rot in a jail cell at the king’s command. Though he fears a worse fate than imprisonment, Gen is approached with an interesting offer. The king’s right hand, the Magus, informs Gen that the king wishes him to steal a priceless item. Succeed, and Gen will become the King’s Thief, a coveted title and a way out of prison. Fail, and die. For Gen, both the choice and task seem easy enough — he is, after all, the best thief in the kingdom. But soon, even Gen’s expert abilities will be put to the test, and he must succeed to survive.

Good not great. I heard a lot of complaints that Nielsen’s The False Prince ripped off this book, but I just don’t see it. The two are similar, but not so much that I felt like I was reading the same book. If you’ve read False Prince and liked it, definitely give this one a shot. Keep in mind that it is an older book and has a bit of a slow pace, but it is entertaining. For me, it was just nothing special. If you like fantasy, adventure, and books with plot twists at the end, give it a try. I’ve heard the other books in the series are great.

Rating: 3/5 

* Newbery Honor Book, 1997

For full analysis (including flags and SPOILERS) click here.