Monday 23 March 2015

Book Review - Half Wild

Half Wild
Author: Sally Green
Series: Half Life #2
Genres: Paranormal, Fantasy | Young Adult
Release Date: 24th March 2015
Publishers: Penguin
No. Pages: 384
Source: Review Copy - Penguin
After finally meeting his elusive father, Marcus, and receiving the three gifts that confirm him as a full adult witch, Nathan is still on the run. He needs to find his friend Gabriel and rescue Annalise, now a prisoner of the powerful Black witch Mercury. Most of all he needs to learn how to control his Gift - a strange, wild new power that threatens to overwhelm him.

Meanwhile, Soul O'Brien has seized control of the Council of White Witches and is expanding his war against Black witches into Europe. In response, an unprecedented alliance has formed between Black and White witches determined to resist him. Drawn into the rebellion by the enigmatic Black witch Van Dal, Nathan finds himself fighting alongside both old friends and old enemies. But can all the rebels be trusted, or is Nathan walking into a trap?
The following review may contain spoilers concerning earlier books in the series.
If you have not read the previous installments, please proceed with caution.

Never before have I wanted a book or a series to have no faults, never. None have ever felt so me, so perfectly written, so beautifully heartbreaking, so realistic, raw and so damn good that if I could, I would never read anything but the series. There has never been a series I've felt so in tune with, felt was so addictively passionate and so immensely good. Half Life is a series that has surprised me at every turn, and Half Wild continued where Half Bad left off, and yes, there were a handful of issues, but believe me when I say, this book and this series is too good not to read.

One thing that disappointed me more than I thought would was the timing and speed of Half Wild in comparison to Half Bad. While both books are similar in length, they are very different in the period of time that's passed throughout them both; where Half Bad's installment took place over many years, Half Wild's installment took place over many months, and the change was a little.. difficult to come to terms with. It definitely felt as though a lot less happened in a lot less time, and this can be a good thing, you can explore character depth and really take note of the details surrounding the character's and the world they're in, but it didn't feel as though Green used that time, and length wisely. I'm also not sure why Green didn't capitalise in on Nathan and his gift much more; it's such a central, important part of the series, and this installment, and it really defines who is as a character, and who he has strong relationships with, and it felt as though every time there was an opportunity to explore this wild side of him, to explore his gift and what he could do, Green glazed over it, and it's such a shame because Green has the talent and the ability to explore it, and explore it well, in detail, and make me feel like I am Nathan in her second person prose, she could very well have done it and done it brilliantly, but she didn't, and I think that is a great loss to Half Wild.

This installment wasn't all doom and gloom though, in fact, this installment was in some ways, everything I wanted it to be. Right from the start, Green put us, Nathan, into a scenario (that was never actually resolved in Half Wild) that is enough to freak out even the most calm of people, and reading in Green's second person prose again was a breath of fresh air - she's got a skill of writing in that point of view that many authors only dream of, and she utilises it so perfectly and so brilliantly, I was absorbed as soon as I stepped foot back into her world. Granted, the following 40+ pages were a little.. non-moving and stationary, will memories of scenes in Half Bad that we didn't read about previously, more than likely because they weren't of much importance, and still weren't, or because Nathan was doing very little else other than.. well, nothing. It's definitely not as initially enticing as Half Bad; there's moments that feel familiar from other reads, and there were definitely times when I felt as though specific traits and features were being used that didn't have to be, such as the 'stumbling across people who just happen to want to help you, but are keeping secrets' and 'turns out the nasty enemy you thought you had was actually only worthy of a two page battle' - it wasn't Half Wild's at it's best, and it did bring the overall feeling down, but what was good about Half Wild was really really brilliant.

Nathan was always a really fascinating character who I was instantly connected to in Half Bad; I felt his emotions and his feelings and his confusion and his pain, and his hatred and loneliness, it's one of the many features Green is superb at writing, and Half Wild was no different, except this time, I appreciated and adored how Green explored not only the struggles of being a half-code, highlighting racism and abuse, but also that of seuality and emotional feelings, experimenting and finding the lines between friends and more becoming blurred, she executed this feature absolutely beautifully and honestly, and it really hit close to home. The honesty and beauty with what Green did, creating that relationship between Nathan and Gabriel was really, honestly, one of my favourite things about Half Wild, they're trust, their loyalty, their honesty and they're unwavering about of love and care for one another, it was everything, and seeing how the both of them development, both with one another, because of one another and for one another, it was the most amazing part of their relationship with one another.

In fact, Green explored all of the relationships throughout this installment; Nathan's relationship with his Father for example was absolutely beautiful, (as was Marcus himself, whom I may have fallen in love with, and cried over, oops?) yet much too short and also could have been explored and delved into much more than it was, relating back to how Green could have gone deeper in the wild side of them both and their connection with one another, as was Nathan's relationship with Celia, which was definitely a brilliant execution of the recover process involved with abuse, and how just highlighted exactly how much Nathan had already been through. Even the clash between Nathan's relationship with Gabriel and his relationship with Annalise was really really well done, (although I seriously seriously dislike Annalise an unbelievable amount.) Exploring his conflicting feelings, his emotions towards the both of them and how much his actions changed and manipulated the relationship he had with them both, Green executed it perfectly, and definitely opened this series up to even more brilliantly written features.

The different features Green explores in her writing is really quite amazing, the race and community issues relating to the witches, the gore and gruesome nature of which she writes her blunt, dark action scenes and the detail she goes into with her characters, their relationships, their feelings and their thoughts, it's what makes this series such a great edition to the Fantasy genre. It's not all magic and abilities, it's not all flying and romance, it's gritty, it's lethal and it's dangerous, and it's character's are true to life and real as real as you or I, and the traits and characteristics of Green's cast it's so brilliantly crafted, I doubt I can really do her justice. Half Wild did have a few more issues than Half Bad, and honestly, I expected it too, as will it split opinions in exactly the same way Half Bad did, but it set the scene of the battle that is bound to come around in the final installment, and it really changed the direction of many of the characters, and changed how I felt about the series, in a very positive way. Half Life is a series I never for one moment expected to enjoy, yet I've been more than pleasantly pleased, and really, really want the next installment, now.

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