ARC Review: Half Wild by Sally Green

I received this book for free from the publisher via Netgalley. This in no way affects my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

Half WildHalf Wild by Sally Green (#2 in the Half Bad trilogy) (Penguin, 26 March 2015)

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This review contains spoilers for the first book in the trilogy.

HALF WILD is an exciting and action-packed sequel to HALF BAD, and the darkest moments of this book are also where it shines the most.

Nathan has received his three gifts from his father, making him a full-fledged adult witch. Now he needs to find Gabriel and figure out a way to save Annalise from Mercury, as well as learn how to control his newly-discovered gift, something powerful and wild and a little frightening. Meanwhile as the Council of White Witches in England expands its forces across Europe and increases its attacks on Black Witches, a group of Black Witches, White Witches and Half Bloods are joining together to form a resistance, and Nathan finds himself becoming a part of this alliance as one of their strongest fighters. What will he find out about himself and about the ones that he loves?

Nathan! Ahhhh, I love your new gift and all that it brings with it. The moments of darkness in you are delicious and I relish them all. I love seeing how much you've changed since the first book. It makes you so much more interesting. But still, you are not the star of this novel for me, alas. That would be Gabriel. I wish he could have his own series.

I think with this book, I can label it as an LGBTQ read whereas I wouldn't have with the previous book. Gabriel takes on a very central role in this one, and he's so passionately devoted to Nathan, it breaks my heart. I love Gabriel so much. He's so doggedly loyal to Nathan in a way that's chillingly beautiful sometimes, and he's also just straight up awesome. HE QUOTES VIRGIL'S AENEID IN THIS BOOK. HOW CAN I NOT LOVE HIM. Nathan, when will you realise that Gabriel is totally right for you and that you two should just happily make out all the time? I get the sense that Nathan is kind of confused about how to feel about Gabriel, and that maybe there's a possibility they will end up together, but I'm not entirely sure! I absolutely loved all the scenes with Gabriel and Nathan together and I WANT MORE. Crossing my fingers for them to get together in the final book!

There was more Marcus in this book as well. I find him a fascinating character and I wish we could learn more about him! I love the way the book explores how he's similar and different to Nathan at the same time, and I love the conversations between the two of them. There's one where they talk about being good rather than bad, and it slew me.

We were introduced to quite a few new characters in this book and I don't know if any of them made a huge impression on me. I feel like that's probably one of the weaker points of this series. Aside from Nathan, Gabriel, and Marcus, none of the other characters matter all that much to me and I wouldn't care what happened to them. Nathan meets another powerful Black Witch in this novel called Van, who was probably the most interesting of the lot, but even she seemed sort of aloof and mysterious and out of reach.

I especially don't know how I feel about Annalise, considering she's one of the major characters. I still find her character fairly bland and I don't think she's as well-developed a character as Gabriel is, and I don't feel invested in her romance with Nathan. I'm a Nathan/Gabriel shipper all the way. But Annalise did get a lot more interesting towards the end of the book, when her actions turned a little more unpredictable.

THE CLIMAX. Whoa. I never saw that coming. It was surprising and I LOVED IT. It was over too quickly though. The climax pretty much took place over only a dozen pages or so, which is barely enough. I feel like there was a slight lull in the pacing before that, so it was just me wondering, "OKAY NOT MUCH IS HAPPENING RIGHT NOW SOMETHING TERRIBLE IS GOING TO HAPPEN SOON RIGHT? RIGHT? WE'RE ALMOST AT THE END!" And then suddenly it was all happening AND THEN IT WAS OVER. In fewer than 20 pages. I needed more! It was just too short, my excitement was over just as soon as it had started.

But overall I enjoyed this a lot more than HALF BAD, which I felt had greater problems with pacing and was far too slow for most of it. HALF WILD was much better paced in general and engaged me from start to finish, with plenty of action throughout. I also found Nathan's voice a lot more absorbing than I did in the first novel – I think the writing has improved. And of course, it helped to have Gabriel around for most of the novel rather than only for a third of it. :D I'm so looking forward to the last book, which I now have to wait a WHOLE YEAR FOR.

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5 thoughts on “ARC Review: Half Wild by Sally Green

      1. So I thought Half Bad was kind of "meh", but I enjoyed Half Wild Quite a bit more, though it is still problematic for me in places. WHO is Annalise?! I don't even know! I don't get why she and Nathan are interested in each other, except that Annalise is pretty. Also, don't really get why Gabriel is into Nathan, either. I wish we had got to see these relationships develop more, rather than just being told "they hiked, they ran, they hung out, and now they're best friends, and Gabriel is in love with Nathan" or "they sat together in Art, and, later, hung out by some cliffs after school. Nathan thinks Annalise is really pretty. Now they're in love." Meeeeh! Not feeling any of the relationships. But I do like Gabriel, even if he's a bit much at times. Hold back on those declarations, boy! You might end up pushing Nathan away! It's a possibility I think he should consider more, because woah. I felt awkward with the mostly-but-possibly-not?-unrequited declarations, lol.

        Did you not find a certain part of the ending a little too convenient? Considering all that's going on in the bigger picture... I found it a little too easy - not on the characters, but for the story. It bugged me a bit even as I was thinking, "OH MY GOD, YOU WHAT?!"

        But I'm actually pretty looking forward to Half Lost now! I do so hope the world building gets better in the last book, though. That would be nice. I'm going to shh now.
        Jo recently posted Review: Half Wild by Sally Green

  1. So I read the whole thing, since I've already decided that I'm going to wait to ask for this one for my birthday (maybe). And now I see that it was the right decision! I adored Half Bad, but at the same time I had some issues with how dark it is, and honestly, I haven't been in the mood for a dark book for the last two months, and I don't see that changing any time soon. Though I will agree that Gabriel is worth reading the series for!
    Kayla @ The Thousand Lives recently posted Contemporary Conversations: We’re Almost There!

    1. Post author

      I did think Half Wild is more dark in a fun way whereas Half Bad was dark in a depressing, heavy way? These are two very different types of dark and I think the distinction is important – I found Half Wild so much more enjoyable and readable whereas Half Bad was just a bit too grim for me sometimes, with all the abuse that Nathan has to suffer.

      Gabriel is totally awesome and I still need to read Half Lies!

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