Monday, 31 March 2014

What I Read: March Wrap-Up

As March was the last month of my first year at university, it was very busy indeed. Therefore I did not get in as much reading as I would have liked. I read 5 books for school and only one for myself and that one I only managed to find time for was by reading it on the bus to uni.

News from Nowhere and The Time Machine were both for my Victorian Lit module, as we were discussing utopias and dystopias. I liked The Time Machine much more than News From Nowhere, as it was not only more scifi-ish but a lot more happens.

I found Invisible Cities beautifully written but incredibly boring. I read it for my Creative Writing module, to help give an idea in how to write in a postmodern way. Did it help? Not really.

I read The Things They Carried for American Lit and I loved it, it is the best thing I have read for the whole module. I even wrote an essay on it and I still love it, thats says a lot because usually writing an essay on something makes me hate it (or at least like it less).

Small Island just may be the most mainstream book I read for university this year. I read it for my Post-War and Contemporary Lit class while we were looking at postcolonialism. I love the book and really enjoyed studying postcolonialism - so much that I am doing a whole module on it next year.

The one book I read that is not for school is Half Bad by Sally Green and I really enjoyed this and already posted a review.

Even though I have finished all my classes, I still have one more essay to write and two exams to revise for, plus I am moving house and will be looking for a job. Therefore, I won't have loads of free time but just enough to get in a lot more reading than I have had since I started university. So hopefully there will be quite a few more posts going up. Happy April everyone.

Friday, 28 March 2014

Review: Half Bad by Sally Green

Half Bad (#1 Half-Life) by Sally Green
Published March 3rd 2014 by Penguin 

Goodreads Synopsis: Half Bad by Sally Green is a breathtaking debut novel about one boy's struggle for survival in a hidden society of witches.

You can't read, can't write, but you heal fast, even for a witch.

You get sick if you stay indoors after dark.

You hate White Witches but love Annalise, who is one.

You've been kept in a cage since you were fourteen.

All you've got to do is escape and find Mercury, the Black Witch who eats boys. And do that before your seventeenth birthday.


My Review: I bought this book because it has been super hyped on BookTube and also, I love the cover. Is it worth the hype, um? Tough one. It is a good book, I really did enjoy it, and I read it in just a couple of sittings and was thinking about it when I wasn’t reading it. So maybe, read it and decide for yourself.

Half-Bad tells the story of Nathan, a half-code witch – his mother is a white witch and his father a black witch. This does not bode well for him, as the council of white witches pretty much hate anything to do with black witches. White witches are supposed to be the good guys and black witches are the bad guys, but it doesn’t take too long to find out that this distinction is not so black and white (like what I did there?).

My least favourite thing about the book is the ending; it is anti-climactic and doesn’t feel like the end at all. I know it is the first in a trilogy but there is just no closure, not even a cliff-hanger. I guess this lack of closure will ensure that I will pick up and devour the second book (Half-Wild) as soon as it is released. Something that other readers seem to have a problem with in this book, is the couple of places where it is written in 2nd person and how slow it is to get going but neither of these bother me. I found the 2nd person POV interesting and the slow and steady start allowed me to really get to know Nathan and his world.

I loved Nathan as a character, he isn’t some whiny little brat who just complains about what’s happening to him, well, he does a little bit but that is highly understandable. I really connected with him and I felt so bad for everything that was happening to him; I wanted to swoop in and rescue the poor fella. I think he reacted to his ill treatment in a more realistic manner than some protagonists in other books, where they just take everything in their stride.

A couple of thing that separate this book from a slew of other YA novels, aside from the male protagonist,  is that there is no insta-love or a love triangle. The romance is slowly developed, naturally and they are friends for a long time before they become a couple. It makes a nice change to read about two people coming together in a realistic manner.

Overall, I real enjoyed this book and I look forward to continue Nathan’s story. I hope he gets a happy ending – he deserves it.