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Book Review: Half Lost by Sally Green


And so, it ends. 

Finally, with Half Lost, the last installment of Sally Green’s The Half Bad Trilogy, Nathan's tale has been told. The war between Witches has been fought. There is a winner.

We first met Nathan, an emotional and ostracised boy with a murderous father, as prisoner because of his evil potential. Now we know him as a strong young man, gifted beyond his peers, strong enough to save the world on his own.

Except, it falls a little flat.

With Half Lost all we have, at its core, is a story of find the baddies, kill the baddies and save the day. What started as an interesting premise at the beginning of the series almost devolved into something I've read many times before. And whilst this isn't a massively bad thing, I was hoping for just a little bit more.

That isn't to say this book isn't great, because it is. It has a wonderful commentary on sexuality, and deals with the love of two young men gently and beautifully. It expressed the fluidity of youth and sex, and I truly believe is a beacon of hope and clarity for young readers everywhere who are perhaps seeking answers and acceptance. 

And there is an event, a rather sad, heartbreaking but overall irrelevant event that spins Nathan into a chronic depression, even worse than the anger we've faced before. 

It doesn't solve anything. If it is to show the brutality of violence, the inevitable heartache of war, then perhaps it succeeds. But Nathan is supposed to be strong, he's supposed to overcome anything, but we're forced to accept that the only way this young man can deal with losing something he loves is by changing himself.

Whilst this is beautiful in an almost mythological way (you'll see what I mean if you read this book), it gives the reader the impression that effectively change is the answer. How is a reader supposed to take this? Are we supposed to feel for Nathan and his romanticised ending, or are we supposed to accept that in order to deal with emotional trauma we must change ourselves to our very core? 

But maybe that is the point of this story. Whilst we may not be happy with the outcome, it does depict a very real thing: that we as people do change in the face of anguish, of sadness. And perhaps this isn't a bad thing. Perhaps, it's okay to not be the same person you once were. And this is why Half Lost deserves a high rating, because it makes you think, and consider, and reevaluate. 

Nonetheless, this book is a fast read, with action happening on every page. Though, there never seems to be any real pressing agency, because Nathan is essentially a god among witches and is now invulnerable. He is never in any real danger. There's no sense of panic. So whilst the story is engaging and we want to see how it's going to end, it's inevitable what the answer will be. Everything will be okay. 

If I wasn't so engaged with the series as a whole, would I have rated this book so highly? Perhaps not. But part of me loves these stories and characters. And I will miss them. I just wish the conclusion hadn't been so predictable in its action. But it is refreshing to read a Young Adult novel that doesn't end typically upbeat. I think this is one you have to read for yourself, so please do.

4 Stars 

Written by Jamie Evans


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