'Half Lost' by Sally Green
Review by Christopher Moore
Nathan Byrn is running again. The Alliance of Free Witches has been all but destroyed. Scattered and demoralized, constantly pursued by the Council's Hunters, only a bold new strategy can save the rebels from total defeat. They need the missing half of Gabriel's amulet - an ancient artefact with the power to render its bearer invincible in battle. But the amulet's guardian - the reclusive and awesomely powerful witch Ledger - has her own agenda.
To win her trust, Nathan must travel to America and persuade her to give him the amulet. Combined with his own Gifts, the amulet might just be enough to turn the tide for the Alliance and end the bloody civil war between Black and White witches once and for all...
I have been a fan of Sally's work since I first read Half Bad. I love her characters and the way she gets inside Nathan's head and vividly portrays the traumas and tortures he endures and the impact it has on his fragile mental health. Not to mention, major props to the designer of some of the best YA covers to grace bookshelves in the last decade.
Half Lost is the final book in the Half Bad trilogy and culminates in a battle between Soul (and his Council) and the Hunters versus Nathan and the Alliance of Free Witches. Sally's writing is gritty and the subject matter continues to push the boundaries and really force a reaction out of the reader. In particular, I adored the dynamic between Nathan and Gabriel. The contrast between characters - Nathan who is fiery, violent and aggressive while Gabriel is calmer, more pensive and caring - makes their scenes come alive and more exciting to read than the in-the-moment, action scenes.
Each of the witches that Nathan encounters, whether Black or White, have their own agendas, their own individual abilities and their own personalities which really distinguish them from each other and lend the story additional levels of complexity. My favourite character has to be Gabriel but I'm very fond of Mercury and Van too. Sally's characters are flawless in the sense that while, yes, they are flawed people, Sally writes them into existence so they become something more than words on a page.
Nathan's journey takes him around the world and again, Sally captures the intricacies of the witch world while anchoring us in real places. My only criticism is that I wanted to see more of the witch world side of things. I feel like there's more there to be explored.
I have a feeling that the ending will divide readers so anyone that's read this review and has read or is reading Half Lost, tweet me your thoughts: YAblooker. Half Lost publishes on the 31st March 2016. Pre-order your copy now!
Rating: 4/5 Stars ★ ★ ★ ★
Christopher is a co-founder of the YAfictionados blog and is best known as the YAblooker. He is a twenty-five year old book blogger who has previously worked in marketing and consumer insight for various publishing houses and writes in his spare time. He loves to travel and will read anything YA-related and some general fiction and fantasy.