Book Report: Half Wild

Half WildWhat’s The Buzz: Sally Green’s Half Bad – the start of a new book series – was one of my favourite reads last year, and earned itself plenty of hype. As a random factoid, it broke a Guinness World Record for being the most translated book – and the most translated children’s book – by a debut author before publication. Although the book hasn’t quite exploded into the mega mainstream yet, every person I’ve personally recommended the series to has fallen in love as well.

What’s the Plot of Half Bad?: You can check out my full review by clicking on the link above, but in a nutshell, Half Bad is the story of witches living in England. Before you yell ‘Harry Potter’, think again – this is a much darker, more action-driven series. The story centered on a young witch named Nathan, who was at the cusp of witch maturity, when he was due to receive access to his Gift (or key power). The trick? Nathan is a ‘half code’ – half Black Witch, half White Witch, two discordant factions that have no tolerance for the other. Even more unusual is the fact that Nathan’s father is a terrifyingly powerful and feared witch (and murderer, it should be known). I’ve mentioned the book to people before in the context of, ‘What if Voldemort had a son?’, and that’s a loose idea as to the root concept. But really, the story is about the fact Nathan’s half code classification isn’t tolerated, leaving him high and dry and tormented on the eve of his time to receive his gifts.

What’s the Plot of Half Wild?: If you don’t want to know a thing about Half Wild until you’ve read Half Bad, then stop reading now. Without saying too much about how Half Bad unfolds, the main thing I will share is that Nathan does indeed unlock his Gift – how and under what circumstances I won’t say. The second book is largely about Nathan trying to master his Gift, which as the title implies, taps into his quite literal wild side. Things are more precarious than ever – but not just for Nathan. The White Witches that terrorized him the first novel have their eyes on the Black Witches of Europe, leaving Nathan in an interesting spot as a Half Code. Who does he align with? Is this a fight he wants to be in, that represents his interests? There are of course, a bunch of subplots as Nathan encounters new and powerful witches, grapples with his feelings toward both Annalise and Gabriel, and must face down some former foes.

How Well Do The Books Connect?: Ah the trilogy question. Oftentimes (with a few notable exceptions) the middle book in a series can be a bit like treading water as the author has laid out their world building in book one and is hesitant to tip too much of their hand before book three. I did find that the world building took a real backseat in Half Wild, whereas it’s a major focus in Half Bad. I think a bit more work could have been done to build on the limited world we explored through Nathan’s eyes in the first book, as his journeys take him much further than the UK this time around and he encounters many different types of magic and witches, but not much is built on that’s explored in book one. That being said, with the world building shackles broken, the story is free to propel itself forward, with some great, dynamic, keep-you-glued plots with plenty of action and excitement. Like with Half Bad, there’s barely a moment to breathe as Nathan’s life is under constant threat from multiple sources. The entire book has an undercurrent of mistrust as every stranger – and even those calling themselves friends – are under suspicion. Ultimately, compared to some other trilogies I’ve read, this one falls squarely in the middle. It’s got a lot more plot than a few other series (I’m looking at you The Fifth Wave and Matched), but it’s not quite as game-changing as say, The Hunger Games or Red Rising. But I did find it nearly as engaging as the first book and it has me eagerly awaiting the final one.

Who Should Read This Series?: I often recommend the series to Harry Potter fans first and foremost, looking for a magical fix years after they closed the chapter on the boy who lived. But honestly, with the YA market dominating the publishing industry (55% of YA book buyers are adults!), anyone that wants to keep a pulse on the buzziest reads in the business should pick Half Wild up.

Finally, I’m delighted to tell you I’ve got a two-book set for one lucky reader to devour – both Half Bad and Half Wild. If you’re interested in reading this dynamic series, here’s how to enter:

1) First & foremost: you must be a subscriber to the Canadian Gift Guide to enter this giveaway. It’s as simple as finding ‘The Gift of Gab’ box in the righthand column and dropping in your email or clicking follow. Then, tell me in the comments below by May 4, 2015 – why are you interested in reading this book?

2) Entries are limited to one per person / per email address / per household (or more if you score bonus entries). A random draw will be conducted on or around May 5, 2015 to select the winner, who will have 48 hours to respond before another winner is chosen in their place.

3) Entries are limited to Canadians that have reached the age of majority in their province. Quebec is not eligible for this promotion.

4) Bonus Entry: Follow @PenguinCanada on Twitter, tag them and me (@cdngiftguide) in a Tweet about why you want to read this pulse-pounding series! Post a link to your Tweet below in a separate comment to earn yourself an extra entry into the draw.

5) Bonus Entry #2: Add this book to your to-read list on GoodReads, and leave a link back to the page it’s on below in a separate comment to earn yourself another bonus entry.

53 Responses to “Book Report: Half Wild”
  1. Gwen says:

    Wizards and magic books are my faves!

  2. J.F.Johns says:

    I read Half Bad about a year ago and fell in love with the story! I waited forever to get my hands on Half Wild… but now I hardly remember the first book because it’s been so long… which kinda irritates me. So I’m probably going to have to read Half Bad all over again in order to really flavour Half Wild!Even so, I’m excited about reading it!:)

  3. Aimee says:

    I would love to read this set. It’s been a long time since I’ve read a good book.

  4. Margaret Palmer says:

    I have heard good things about this series and would love the chance to read it.

  5. Kelly E says:

    I loved the Harry Potter books these books sound interesting

  6. Joan G. says:

    I’m looking for a couple of new reads and you’ve made these sound interesting.

  7. intensev5 says:

    Sounds like a great series. I really need something new to read!

  8. prim says:

    love all YA books and would love to read this series

  9. Jennifer Deol says:

    I would love to read this book because I have a fascination with magic. I like that the author uses the “struggle to fit in” that seems inherent with growing up that everyone can relate to on some level. The fact that the main character’s struggle is because of who his parents are just make it even more compelling to see how he overcomes the obstacles. I’ll be looking for this series at the bookstore this weekend! Thanks!

  10. Lindsey says:

    I loved Harry Potter and I’m always looking for something new to read!

  11. Heather Swanson says:

    l am housebound with a broken ankle

  12. Susan Patterson says:

    From your review, this book sounds like a very interesting read! Thanks so much for informing me about this novel!

  13. Julia says:

    I love books about magic and wizards and London and this book has all three. COUNT ME IN!

  14. Karen MacKenzie says:

    Loved the Harry Potter books. Also Nora Roberts has written several books with witches – loved them also. These sound really interesting. I would love to win them!

  15. kiraali says:

    I’m curious as to how these books deal with the factions issue, and the parallels these can draw to race relations (particularly as I am a person of mixed race)… of course I also loved Harry Potter and so many other books in this genre so there’s that as well!

  16. M. Archambeau says:

    These sound really interesting. I’d love to read them.

  17. Chantelle says:

    I love reading,I love finding new books to read and series reads are my favorites.

  18. Susan says:

    I loved Harry Potter and you have sparked my interest in this series. I love reading new books and think these would be wonderful to dive into.

  19. Susan T. says:

    I’ve read Half Bad and loved it. I am dying for Half Wild. I need to know what Nathan’s gifts are!

  20. Susan T. says:

    Bonus entry #2:
    Half Bad is on my favorite/read shelf!

  21. S. Hirano says:

    My daughter is a bookworm and would love to read this series.

  22. Lisa Morrison says:

    I am looking forward to reading this book on the deck with a cup of coffee.

  23. photomum says:

    I love reading,and allways enjoy reading new authors!

  24. Anne Derkat says:

    I haven’t read Harry Potter so maybe this would help me fill in on this genre.

  25. Margaret Huitema says:

    Would love to read this series

  26. aarone mawdsley says:

    this looks good i want it

  27. Harmony A. says:

    Witches and England! You had me at those words….

  28. Fern says:

    I read your review of the first book first and it sounds cool based on that alone. Hearing that the second book is out already is awesome!

  29. I like Harry Potter style books and it seems really popular so i think it will be good

  30. janicour says:

    I read Half Bad, love Harry Potter, and I do think these books are not just for YA Love to read it!

  31. janicour says:

  32. Darlene Boyle says:

    loved harry potter series would love to read these

  33. Cairine says:

    I would like to read the books because they sound magical.

  34. Danielle says:

    You had me at Harry Potter!

  35. cookie3 says:

    Half Bad was a great book & I’m dying to know more.

  36. Leah E says:

    I’m convinced by your review that these books would be a great read. I am a huge fan of the Harry Potter books too; these sound awesome!

  37. Nancy says:

    It would be a whole new experience.

  38. diane says:

    This sounds interesting and would be great to take to the cottage. Thanks for the review.

  39. Cara says:

    I spent a year in England and always treasure reading books about it.

  40. Emily says:

    I love reading YA series, added this to my to-reads list!

  41. Isabelle says:

    I read the first book in this series and loved it, I’m so hoping I win!

  42. Debra says:

    Always looking for new authors and stories – this one seems to be great cottage reading!

  43. aly3360 says:

    I’m always looking for new authors and books to check out. There are so many out there – it’s hard to know where to start. You sound like you loved it and that peeks my interest! I love reading series because if i love the first book i know there’s more to come.

  44. Anita says:

    I’ve always looked for a Harry Potter followup, if this is as good as you say, this may be it!

  45. Wanda Bergman says:

    I would like to read this book because this is a new author to me and the book looks riveting.

  46. Hayley says:

    give me a ya series any day of the week! I hope this becomes a movie too!

  47. Ashley says:

    I loved the first book so of course the second is already on my to-read list!

  48. Brooke says:

    I’d love to read this series because I’m a huge fan of British books.

  49. Karen Morine says:

    Would love to read

  50. dorcontest says:

    I reading about Witches and things of that nature. I subscribe by email.
    dorcontest at gmail dot com

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