My Kyrosmagica Review of Puppet by Pauline C Harris


Goodreads Synopsis:

Penelope lives in a world of advanced technology but many claim society has yet to catch up. Marionettes have advanced in the form of robots; lifelike creations remote controlled to perform super human tasks.

When Penelope makes a deal with Jed, a marionette-obsessed scientist, she doesn’t fully realize what she’s getting herself into. In order for Jed to take her away from the orphanage she lives in, she must first agree to undergo his experiments and tests, ultimately creating something no one ever dreamed possible; the first living marionette.

As Jed shows off his scientific creation to the world, concerns arise surrounding Penelope’s abilities and what she’s capable of doing. Ordered to somehow lessen her abilities, Jed makes a desperate attempt to change Penelope to make her more human, more vulnerable. After Penelope lies to the officials about her past, Jed makes sure it’s the last one she’ll ever utter. The truth is now the only thing she is capable of telling.

As Penelope struggles with her past, her disturbingly new present, and her uncertain future, she is thrust into a magically twisted world of mayhem in search of the one thing she wants, but knows she can never have. The chance to be just a girl again. To be normal. To be real.

My review:

I received a copy of Puppet via NetGalley in exchange for a honest review. Even though I enjoyed Puppet there were a few issues with the book.  Initially I felt that the first two chapters told us too much about Penelope too early on. These ‘facts’ could have been fed into the narrative slowly rather than been thrust into the opening chapters of the book. In some ways, chapter three felt like the perfect place to begin the narrative, suddenly the story took me by surprise, and began to capture my attention. Also there was a definite tendency for Pauline C Harris to tell rather than show which is a typical error that new writers, myself included, often make when beginning to write. So in my opinion, I do think that Pauline could have benefited from tighter editing from a professional  in order for this novel to reach its full potential.

On the plus side I do think that the premise for Puppet is an interesting concept, an imaginative twist on the Pinocchio tale. Penelope is a troubled teenager living in an orphanage when Jed, a mad scientist offers to take her away in exchange for agreeing to be his experimental guinea pig! Under Jed’s scientific care Penelope becomes a human marionette and “her strings” are not physical attachments controlling her but the result of a drug administered to give her the ability to exert super human powers.  When the “Administrators” find out about her abilities, and her lying, they  threaten to take her away from Jed and James, so in desperation Jed takes away her ability to lie to compensate the Administrators. I found Penelope’s reaction to this interesting, she was distressed that this freedom which we take for granted is no longer something she is capable of. The pain of this loss is intense because in Penelope’s eyes lying is evidence of the last scrap of her humanity. Can you imagine never being able to lie?  Lying isn’t always necessarily a wicked thing to do, sometimes we lie because we want to protect people’s feelings, e.g. when someone asks us if we like the way they dress! Ultimately the “Administrators” and in particular the evil Edelin’s intentions towards Penelope become clear. Her powers are forcibly used in a way that she finds abhorrent and distressing. She no longer has any control over her body’s potential for cruelty. The plot twists at the end of the narrative are unexpected and a welcome aspect of the fast paced story line, characterised by short punchy chapters.

I didn’t quite buy into the romance between Penelope and James, somehow it seemed a bit forced to me. Also it seemed a bit odd because I had considered them to be more like brother and sister, up until the point when they kissed each other!

I was surprised that Penelope didn’t have more qualms about participating in Jed’s experiments, after all who would want to? I know that she felt grateful for being released from the Orphanage and her debt to them, but somehow this just didn’t seem enough cause for her to allow Jed to inject her with a cocktail of unknown and potentially dangerous chemicals. Somehow she just seemed a little too compliant. In addition, I think that the characterisation of the characters could have been developed more as could the setting and background to the story. More detail about the science in the story and world building in this futuristic land would undoubtedly have made the story a richer read.This novel had a lot more to give and I was a little disappointed that it just didn’t quite get to the giddy heights that I had expected.

Having said all of this, I did enjoy the premise for the story, and the pace of the novel.  I found it a quick read, gripping at times, and I do think this author has such potential. Pauline C Harris is a young writer, she is the same age as my eldest daughter who also loves to write! So well done to her for publishing at such a young age. Incidentally this is not her first novel she has already written a trilogy in 2013: Mechanical, Perfect, and Flawed, as well as children’s/middle grade fiction, The Secret’s of Evelyn Taylor, and another fairy tale retelling is coming out in 2015, Hourglass. Oh and she loves Star Trek and tea, so she gets a high five for that!

So if you like a quick read, and an unusual re-telling of Pinocchio pick up Puppet. For readers of Young Adult, Romance, and Fantasy.

Favourite quotes:

“We won’t kill you,” the administrator repeats. “But …if you forgive the pun…” he trails off, smiling to himself at some internal joke. “There will be strings attached.”

Being forced to tell the truth doesn’t make me better than a criminal with a lie detector. Choice is what matters and my choice has been taken away.

I can feel panic slowly pulsing through my veins like venom.

The marionettes’ bodies are indestructible. They are capable of shuffling and dealing cards faster than the eye can perceive, of crushing rocks in the palms of their hands, of darting across rooms in the blink of an eye.

And now I am too.

It scares me more than it empowers me.

My rating:

3 stars.

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Book Trailer on Pauline C Harris’s WordPress Blog:

Have you read Puppet? Do leave a comment below I’d love to hear from you.


Marje @ Kyrosmagica xx

My Kyrosmagica review of Garth Nix’s Lirael


Goodreads synopsis:

Lirael has never felt like a true daughter of the Clayr. Now, two years past the time when she should have received the Sight that is the Clayr’s birthright, she feels alone, abandoned, unsure of who she is. Nevertheless, the fate of the Old Kingdom lies in her hands. With only her faithful companion, the Disreputable Dog, Lirael must undertake a desperate mission under the growing shadow of an ancient evil.

In this sequel to Sabriel, winner of the Aurealis Award for Excellence in Australian Science Fiction, New York Times best-selling author Garth Nix weaves a spellbinding tale of discovery, destiny, and danger.

My review:

This wonderful trilogy was introduced to me on Goodreads via the Hot Key books Old Kingdom READ-ALONG.

It is quite fascinating how Garth Nix fast forwarded the essential elements of the story many years into the future, rather than continuing Sabriel and Touchstone’s more youthful story. We are introduced to Lirael, a young woman who wants desperately to be accepted as a Clayr,  yet she is lacking in one important quality that the Clayr must possess. Each year she grows older but the ability to see into the future, which is a coming of age gift of the Clayr, bypasses her. Lirael can’t help but feel excluded, an outsider, overgrown, useless, lonely and ultimately desperate.

Unable to bare her wretched existence a day longer she decides to commit suicide by flinging herself off of  the glacier, a  dramatic attention seeking act! But she is thwarted  by her own fear and by an unexpected interruption. We are re-introduced to the Abhorsen Sabriel, and King  Touchstone but the two main characters of the previous novel play a much smaller part in this second novel.  Instead of killing herself Lirael  discovers a sense of purpose in the quiet duties of a Librarian, learns Charter magic, and creates the magnificent Disreputable dog a Free Magic creature infused with Charter Magic. If you loved Mogget, an ancient Free Magic cat construct  of unknown origin bound by a red Charter magic collar to serve the Abhorsen, you’ll love the dog. These two furry characters are just so amusing. Loved them both! Their banter is just so on point.

So the adventure continues and what an entertaining ride it is. Along the way we meet Sameth, Sabriel and Touchstone’s son, who is overwhelmed by his princely duties as Abhorsen in waiting. He would prefer to construct toys to catch insects than stare into the eyes of evil Necromancers and who can blame him? He feels inadequate, and the efficiency of his sister Ellimere  just makes him feel even more useless and paranoid.  There are interesting parallels between Sameth and Lirael, but the way in which they deal with overcoming obstacles are quite different. Lirael is without a doubt the stronger character. It is interesting how Garth Nix writes strong female characters but his male characters tend to be a bit lacking and not quite up to the task! All in all, I really enjoyed the character of Lirael, I warmed to her straight away. Sameth was a bit pathetic at times but he grew on me! Even when he tries his best to escape trouble he just seems to walk deeper into its clutches!

The ending came as a bit of a surprise but maybe I should have seen it coming!

Overall, I would highly recommend Lirael to readers of Fantasy, Young Adult, Magic, and Adventure.

My rating:


Have you read Lirael? Do comment I’d love to hear from you.

Bye for now,


Marje @ Kyrosmagica xx

My Kyrosmagica Review of The Archived Victoria Schwab


Goodreads Synopsis:

Imagine a place where the dead rest on shelves like books.

Each body has a story to tell, a life seen in pictures that only Librarians can read. The dead are called Histories, and the vast realm in which they rest is the Archive.

Da first brought Mackenzie Bishop here four years ago, when she was twelve years old, frightened but determined to prove herself. Now Da is dead, and Mac has grown into what she once was, a ruthless Keeper, tasked with stopping often—violent Histories from waking up and getting out. Because of her job, she lies to the people she loves, and she knows fear for what it is: a useful tool for staying alive.

Being a Keeper isn’t just dangerous—it’s a constant reminder of those Mac has lost. Da’s death was hard enough, but now her little brother is gone too. Mac starts to wonder about the boundary between living and dying, sleeping and waking. In the Archive, the dead must never be disturbed. And yet, someone is deliberately altering Histories, erasing essential chapters. Unless Mac can piece together what remains, the Archive itself might crumble and fall.

In this haunting, richly imagined novel, Victoria Schwab reveals the thin lines between past and present, love and pain, trust and deceit, unbearable loss and hard-won redemption.

My review:

Well before I even start my review I would like to say that I just loved the cover art, and the title too!  In Victoria Schwab’s The Archive the library isn’t just a place to store books, no it is so much more than this, it is a mysterious place where people’s dead loved ones are archived away like precious memories. More and more of them are waking up, and it is Mac’s job as a Keeper to make sure that they return to the Archive. As you can imagine this is no easy task, but Mac has been trained well by her grandfather Da who has every faith in her.

This is the second Victoria Schwab novel that I have read, my first being Vicious, so I had high hopes. Like I said, The Archive is a truly fascinating concept and I think Schawb really pulled it off well.  I think every single person would do what they could to keep the memory of their loves ones who have passed away alive.  Mac is just so relatable, and so  human, of course she can’t bear the thought of her dead brother being locked away in a drawer. But is her brother really her brother anymore? Or is he something else entirely?


In the Archived we have a world in which the Histories, the Librarians, The Archive, The Returns,  and the Outer exist alongside a family still coming to terms with the sudden death of Mac’s brother.  We sense the personal and individual responses to  grief in Mac’s relationship with her mother and her father. Along the way Mac meets Owen and Wesley, (super cute guy-liner guy), and these three characters drive the plot forward. Mac’s father seems to do his best to encourage Mac to spend time with Wesley. Not the way most fathers behave!  I found this quite touching and cute.

To begin with I  have to admit that I struggled with some of the details of the novel. I found Da a bit confusing, I started off thinking he was Mac’s father but realised that he was in fact her grandfather. I also thought that Mac sounded more like a boy than a girl. BUT, and this is a big BUT. Victoria Schwab knows how to write, she writes amazing characters that draw you into the story and her dialogue is just spot on. I am so jealous of her dialogue! I really enjoyed the second half of the novel, very mysterious and exciting, with a great plot twist, and Mac is just so fearless in solving the mystery. A big high five for Mac!

So overall my advice would be to read The Archived, not to shelve it, go on read it! Most definitely. I will definitely be picking up the second in the series, The Unbound.

Highly recommended for readers of YA fantasy, paranormal, romance, mystery….

My star rating:


Author’s website – very unusual opening page! See how quickly you can uncrumple the paper.

and her WordPress blog:

Have you read The Archived? Do leave a comment, I’d love to hear from you.

Bye for now,


Marje @ Kyrosmagica xx

Edinburgh Book Festival – Leigh Bardugo and Maureen Johnson


On Sunday  I was lucky enough to be listening to two American New York Times best selling authors Leigh Bardugo and Maureen Johnson, talking about “Alternative Worlds,” at the Edinburgh Book Festival.   Leigh Bardugo’s debut series “The Grisha Trilogy, Shadow and Bone,” is set in an alternative, magical, Tsarist Russia. At the moment this debut series is in the hands of Harry Potter producer, David Heyman, who is considering a film version.  Though it is not confirmed as yet, a movie may be scheduled to release in 2014 or 2015.

Maureen Johnson’s Shades of London series is a bloody, paranormal thriller:

  • The Name of the Star
  • The Madness Underneath
  • The Boy in the Smoke (World book day novella)
  • The Shadow Cabinet

My first impressions were interesting to say the least. Maureen Johnson sat to the right of Leigh Bardugo with a serious expression on her face, the interviewer appeared a bit unsure just how this conversation was going to progress. But as soon as Maureen spoke all those fears were dispelled. Maureen’s first words about her historical tour of London, were ghosts were mentioned at each and every opportunity, was an absolute riot. Maureen doesn’t believe in timid ghosts that genteely move furniture, or boohoo quietly in a corner, no only murderous ghosts are good enough for her! If she ever gets sick of writing I’m sure she could inflict her sense of wit on us as a very successful female stand-up comedian. Anyway the outcome of all these ghosts was a ton load of research. Maureen researched the history of London, ghost lore, and the Jack the Ripper case files. And the result was . . …….. The Shades of London series.

Leigh and Maureen talked about writing research, and world building. We had Leigh falling in love with her book ideas and Maureen reading her work for the tenth time and just dying. Murder, dying, you name it Maureen inflicted it on her poor unsuspecting audience.

Leigh started writing in her thirties after pursuing various careers, latterly she worked as a make up artist, concocting stories whilst she was applying make up to her clients. Maureen is so multi-talented that she writes scripts for the Nintendo DS and PSP versions of the Harry Potter and the Half-Blood prince video game.

Initially Leigh had problems finishing first drafts of novels that she’d started. I really relate to this, sounds so me! Luckily Leigh went on to write not just one stand-alone book but three,  her Shadow and Bone series, “feels like a trilogy,”  and boy does it deliver.

They talked about plotting, and planning. Maureen’s style wasn’t too structured to begin with but she was soon compiling character dossiers, and histories. Leigh commented that Lainie Taylor doesn’t plot at all. She observed that this could only possibly work if the author had a natural sense of story. Well, I’m a weak plotter, but only time will tell if I have what it takes to get away with this. In my case, a lack of initial plotting wasn’t such a good idea, I had to do loads of re-writes. I’d agree that in that first draft you are telling yourself the story, as Leigh suggests. Maureen referred to “a little toolkit,” to hammer her story into our consciousness. Ouch, sounds painful, steady on there Maureen.

Leigh’s trilogy is written in 1st person with a third person prologue and epilogues. The voice of her novel was hard to find. To begin with her main character’s voice was nice, quiet, and sweet but she soon found a more sour, pragmatic voice for Alina, her main protagonist, a teenage orphan.

Maureen killed off one of her characters before she even got a chance to appear in print. The fifth Martin, the youngest, was obliterated straight away. Well, Maureen jokingly said that babies don’t do much anyway! As an only child herself she was drawn to writing about a big, family, and a wacky one at that.  Her final novel, in her Shades of London series, is now in the hands of someone. She jokingly said that she hopes it was actually a Penguin representative and not some random manuscript stealer.

According to Leigh there are some wonderful benefits of being an author, living in your pyjamas is one of them, but killing your characters can be tough. Absolutely agree Leigh, you just live and breathe those characters, they become engrained in your thoughts. Maureen advised us to “Just do it!” No second thoughts or holding back there, Maureen.

Maureen and Leigh closed off the proceedings with a reading. Maureen kicked it off with a very amusing passage from Scarlett Fever and Leigh took us to a dark place to inflict the darkling on us, and I’m still there, hoping that I will eventually manage to escape!

Then finally the discussion turned to the professional aspect of writing that is often overlooked, touring, and social media. Is this a fun aspect or a chore? Leigh said that she didn’t have to do this but she loved it. Oh, and of course her publishers encouraged her to do so. She said that when you’re on a tour you get to see a new city everyday. It’s the best job ever! Be yourself on line, find out where you should connect with your readers, Leigh felt most at home on tumblr.

To begin with Maureen answered this question dead pan. Writing and being a writer are very different, she said. Do what feels right to you.  People found me on twitter, and their response seemed to be, you’re a writer?

The question and answer section followed next. There was a bit of a reluctance from the reticent Scottish audience but one brave soul asked whether Maureen had been on one of many of Edinburgh’s haunted ghost trips? Maureen hadn’t had the opportunity but yes, she would have liked to, but she had a feeling that Edinburgh’s ghosts might not be up to scratch. It sounds like Maureen takes a lot to scare her.

The next question touched upon strong female characters, a topic that is most definitely a popular one. Maureen doesn’t like classifying books as boys books or girls books. That just makes her crazy. Leigh made the very valid comment that nobody talks about strong male characters, and Maureen even mentioned that there is some anger towards female characters. I think that we expect so much from our female characters, come on they’re just like us they’re flawed, nobodies perfect. In my opinion that’s what makes them interesting.

Then a young lad in the far corner asked the final question, the one that was no doubt pressing on the lips of many amongst us in the audience, myself included. It went something like this: “Have you any advice for young writers?” Well the tips went along these lines. Maureen told him not to expect too much. She said that her writing was “so bad” to begin with that she deserved these terms: “Arrest me,” “Kill me.” So if you’re writing terribly Maureen suggests that you’re on the right path because as Maureen says this will lead you to your goal of writing well. Thanks, this is so true, totally agree.

Again Leigh touched a chord with me, she said there’s “no expiration date on talent.” Thank you so much Leigh! Again she went on to say that you don’t have to be cute, popular or media genic, (is this even a word, and if so how do you spell it?)

Maureen carried on this tide of inspiration with “Don’t give up,” “Just finish,” Carry on to your “Eyes bleed,” finish that first draft. Maureen were you speaking to me?

Well it was a sunny day, and I came out smiling even more than when I went in. Such an inspiring, talk. I loved it, and guess what, I finished my final edits last night. Yes finally got there and my eyes didn’t even bleed they just blurred a bit. Now, just have to find a publisher. This is going to be the hardest part, but now I feel more prepared for it. I’m writing this in my pyjamas and I have this strong sense of belonging, I think I’ve already joined the writer’s club! Leigh Bardugo and Maureen Johnson were so entertaining and a absolute delight to listen to. I left feeling both inspired, and sure that I have finally chosen the right career path to an Alternative World.

If you could write about an Alternative World what would it be? Do tell, I’m sure it would be fascinating.

To find out more about these great authors websites, click away:







My Kyrosmagica Review of Rebel Belle by Rachel Hawkins


Goodreads Synopsis:

Harper Price, peerless Southern belle, was born ready for a Homecoming tiara. But after a strange run-in at the dance imbues her with incredible abilities, Harper’s destiny takes a turn for the seriously weird. She becomes a Paladin, one of an ancient line of guardians with agility, super strength and lethal fighting instincts.

Just when life can’t get any more disastrously crazy, Harper finds out who she’s charged to protect: David Stark, school reporter, subject of a mysterious prophecy and possibly Harper’s least favorite person. But things get complicated when Harper starts falling for him—and discovers that David’s own fate could very well be to destroy Earth.

With snappy banter, cotillion dresses, non-stop action and a touch of magic, this new young adult series from bestseller Rachel Hawkins is going to make y’all beg for more.

My Kyrosmagica Review:


Rebel Belle really tickled me pink! I love the cover, the sword through the girlie necklace. Our debutante shocks us right at the beginning of the novel with a sudden shift in behaviour.  I must confess I didn’t pay too much attention to the blurb, I just read the story blind and I was so glad I did. I was stunned when our heroine Harper, the girl who was bound to be homecoming queen, ended up in the toilet of all places kicking ass.  At first glance Harper seemed more interested in lipstick and the trappings of being crowned but don’t be fooled, Harper is a Paladin, and Paladin’s aren’t to be trifled with. I liked the title Paladin,  kind of made me think of Aladdin! Actually, there are also Mages, and an Oracle too, but no more about that, just thought I’d whet your appetite a bit!

From that opening night she’s drawn into the biggest responsibility of her whole life,  and believe me this girl is used to a heck load of responsibilities, and extra curricular activities! She must protect David, the guy that she’s  been fighting with since seventh grade. Not only does she have to be his protector but she soon learns that she must protect him at all costs, giving up on all the things she still wants to do, and even to the point of losing her own life. A bit of a tall order! But you get the sense that Harper is up to it, trust me Harper is not one to sit quietly doing nothing. All this with the most important night of her life, Cotillon,  just around the corner. Expectations are high, her sister was also homecoming queen, but there is more to this than I want to divulge in this review. It’s a bit of a spoiler so no more said.

I love the characters in Rebel Belle, they are so well crafted and draw you into the story. Harper and her friend Bee are just such good friends, looking out for each other. David is so cute, and so different from her boyfriend Ryan. I loved the way that Harper and David begin by hating each other but slowly understand and develop feelings for each other.  With her superpowers it is as if she can now see more clearly and realises that even though her boyfriend, Ryan may be a heartthrob, Mr. Popular, and super nice, he may not be the one for her. She needs someone a bit more quirky, and David  could be the one to fit the bill. I also really enjoyed Harper’s aunts, so entertaining. Full marks for characterisation.

The middle section of the novel though good,  dragged a little for me, I would say that the beginning and the end of the novel are absolutely first class. So stick with it, it’s well worth it. Some reviews have criticised the love triangle between Harper, her boyfriend Ryan and new love interest David, but I enjoyed this aspect of the novel. I thought some of the details of the magical powers were stretching the believability factor a bit, but overall I really enjoyed Rebel Belle. It’s a lovely, light-hearted read, just don’t take it too seriously!


I loved the ending so, so much. In fact it made up for any tiny flaws.  I just found it so funny. I won’t go into details as that would spoil it for you, but if you don’t laugh I will have to kill you!

This is a definite Laugh out Loud book, with a wonderful touch of fantasy, if you don’t like stories with these two elements then don’t touch it with a barge pole. But hey, who doesn’t like a good chuckle?

My rating:

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My favourite quotes:

“Looking back, none of this would have happened if I’d brought lip gloss the night of the Homecoming Dance.”

“I picked up the nearest weapon I could lay my hands on: a stapler. I lifted it, going for “menacing.” I admit it lacked a certain elegance, but hey. It was worth a shot. David placed his hand on my arm and pushed it back down.
“Just . . . that’s embarrassing for all of us,” he replied.”

“The great thing about best friends is that they know you really well. And the terrible thing about best friends is that they know YOU really well.”

“He and I had loathed each other since kindergarten. Heck, even before that. Mom says he’s the only baby I ever bit in daycare.”

“Look at him. Whole life turned upside down, and he’s in there making pizza rolls.”

“I had to get out of this before I was killed with some elaborate cutlery.”

“Aunt May, my sweet Aunt May, who taught me how to knit, who bought me a piece of candy every time we went to the store, jabbed a cocktail fork at my eye.”

Recommended for Young Adult, Fantasy, Paranormal, Magic, Romance, and Contemporary readers. Lots of scope there!

Authors website

and her tumblr:



Have you read Rebel Belle? Do leave a comment below I’d love to hear from you.

Bye for now,


Marje @ Kyrosmagica xx

My Kyrosmagica Review of Half Bad by Sally Green


Goodreads Synopsis:

Half Bad by Sally Green is a breathtaking debut novel about one boy’s struggle for survival in a hidden society of witches.

You can’t read, can’t write, but you heal fast, even for a witch.

You get sick if you stay indoors after dark.

You hate White Witches but love Annalise, who is one.

You’ve been kept in a cage since you were fourteen.

All you’ve got to do is escape and find Mercury, the Black Witch who eats boys. And do that before your seventeenth birthday.

My Review:

I am a big fan of fantasy and love witches, and magic, so Half Bad by Sally Green just said read me. I found the opening chapters of Half Bad really gripping, and Sally Green did a great job of drawing me into the story.

The main protagonist Nathan is the son of the Blackest of black witches.  Nathan is unwanted, a baby that is hidden away in a drawer. His birth is not a cause for celebration, a  card at his birth, says “Kill it.” His early life is horrendous, he is kept in a cage and subjected to a rigorous routine of exercise and torture which would make most mere mortals buckle, but Nathan has the blood of his father, Marcus in his veins, and his father has just a bit of a reputation.  Nathan is an outsider, who is not accepted into white witch culture and is not a fully fledged black witch either. Sally Green does a great job of exploring alienation and prejudice in witch culture and serving it up as a thoughtful reflection for modern-day issues. Also Sally Green’s questioning whether White witches are just as bad as Black witches is an interesting, and thoughtful theme in the book. Will the most evil Black witch of all time have a soft side?

The story takes us on Nathan’s journey to find his father and find his place in this society. So in a sense it is about growing up, and the choices we make, some decisions can and do have disastrous consequences.  Along the way he is constantly questioning, and debating issues of morality, and struggling with his conscience. If he sides with his father, and becomes a fully fledged Black witch will he sell his soul to the devil?

Unfortunately I felt that the promise of the opening chapters did not quite deliver what I was expecting in the latter part of the book. I did feel for Nathan, but his journey to find his father just didn’t quite capture my attention in the way I would have hoped. I found it difficult to connect with some of the supporting characters, apart from Gabriel, Mercury, and Nathan’s brother Arran, and I ended up feeling a tad disappointed when I finally met super black witch, Nathan’s dad, he just didn’t quite match up to my expectations.  The build up was so good, “I know it was him. Only he can make time stop, ” but the dialogue in the final chapter just didn’t quite hit the spot for me. He just didn’t come across in the way I expected. I couldn’t quite picture him.

Though, in Half Bad’s favour I found Sally Green’s use of second person narration developing into Nathan’s first person, point of view an interesting and different way to approach the novel, and I really liked this. I really enjoyed the detail about the witch’s eyes. “Oh well, like nothing else, really. The nearest I can say is that they are thin slices of silver and they move around, twistin’ and turnin’, like bits in one o’them snow-shaker toys. That’s what it’s like.” I also think  Sally Green did a grand job of creating a sense of Nathan’s separateness and uncertainty, and his shocking ill-treatment when he picks a white witch for a girlfriend. Again elements of prejudice  keep creeping their way into this novel, and are handled really well. Also Nathan’s branding at the hands of the council, his tattooed fingers, is an excellent, and imaginative idea. I won’t say any more on that one, as I don’t want to spoil the book for you! So for a thoughtful read about witches that is a bit different from what you have read before this has to score points most definitely.


Would I recommend Half Bad?  It was pretty good, but there is so much more to come.  I sense that the second and third books in this trilogy will be so much better, after all this is Sally Green’s debut, and writers tend to progress and improve with future books, so yes I would say read Half Bad, and follow the progress of this author. Also I believe the Half Bad is going to be a film, so that can’t be Half Bad at all! Sally Green really has done remarkably well. She was at YALC at Earl’s court in London this weekend and I was amused by her background, she only started writing four years ago, previously she was an accountant who didn’t consider herself particularly creative, well she certainly discovered her creativity, and good luck to her.

Recommended for readers of Fantasy, Young Adult, Paranormal, Witches. Magic.

My rating:

This was a difficult one for me  to rate. I was quite torn, it  felt that it wasn’t quite a four star for me, and yet it was above a three star, so I settled for giving it 3.75 stars!


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My opinions are my own and any reviews on this site have not been swayed or altered in any way by monetary compensation, or by the offer of a free book in exchange for a review. 


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Bye for now,


Marje @ Kyrosmagica x