“‘You’ve been away a long time. Were you lost?’
‘I was wounded, not lost.’”
The final book in the Half Bad trilogy had people on the edge of their seats for months, waiting to get their hands on this book. I bought the novel the moment it was released and spent the next day in a state of excitement and dread.
(warning: spoilers below)
(seriously: really, big, massive spoilers, proceed at your own risk)
Set in modern day Europe, the final battle between two warring factions of witches, eternal enemies, is just beginning. The Alliance, groups of Black and White witches opposed to the Council’s rule, are losing the war, and their secret weapon, Nathan Byrn, is losing his mind. Having murdered his father and eaten his heart, Nathan is now the most powerful witch in history. He spends his days hunting and killing witches, but he is only interested in killing one: his ex-girlfriend. When the Alliance hears word of a magical amulet that can protect its wearer from harm, Nathan and Gabriel are sent on a quest to secure it before Nathan must face the Council and his sister.
There was drama, angst, horror and romance in this book, much like the others. Nathan is in a really dark place at the beginning of the novel: he is depressed and feels guilty over what he was forced to do in Half Wild, and wants nothing more than to find and kill Annalise, the girl he used to love before her actions resulted in his father’s death. He lives apart from the rest of the army, which has risen in his name against the tyrannical rule of the White Witch Council, and only Gabriel visits him to make sure he is ok. Nathan is not the hero of this story – in fact, I don’t think anyone in this story is a hero. He is an anti-hero, one who has a body count of fifty-two people, and who just wants to be left alone to live in peace. He wants nothing to do with the war. He spends an awful lot of time in this novel self-ruminating over his father, Annalise, and his growing feelings for Gabriel, which can get a bit dry.
The plot was intriguing: the goal is to find the missing piece of the amulet that will protect its wearer in battle, to be worn by Nathan when the Alliance would infiltrate the headquarters of the Council. I really enjoyed the first part of the book: Nathan is a shadow of himself (and why wouldn’t he be, he killed his dad) and the search for the amulet was interesting. However, things begin to sizzle out when they make the Alliance goes undercover in the Council’s headquarters to try to take down the leader, Soul, and the mad scientist, Wallend. The last few chapters move quite quickly and the fight scene just seemed too easy. It had me wondering, if it was that simple to take down the Council, why didn’t they try this months ago?
By far the strongest element in Half Lost was the growing relationship between Gabriel and Nathan. Gabriel, as we all know, has been in love with Nathan since Half Bad, the first novel in the trilogy. In Half Wild, Nathan kisses Gabriel, but is confused by his feelings and runs back to Annalise, leaving Gabriel hurt. Finally, Nathan accepts his feelings and the following scenes are the sweetest in the entire series. I cried great big sobs when Gabriel died at the end of the novel. It was, without a doubt, the worst way Green could have ended the series. It just does not make sense. Nathan, the poor kid, has spent his entire life being tortured, hunted, and hated by everyone because he is a half code (half white, half black witch). Nathan, out of anyone, deserved a happy ending, or at least some semblance of a happy ending. Killing the love interest was a mistake and it just makes Nathan even more into his father than before, as he lives the remainder of his life away from civilisation, mostly in his animal form. I mean, his father lived the exact same way – is this not suggesting that Nathan will become like his father, one day? The most feared and hated witch of all time? Killing the love interest, unless absolutely necessary (like to force the hero to accept her/his destiny), is never a good idea, especially not at the conclusion of the series where it only served to punish Nathan further. Nathan deserved a happy ending and he didn’t get one.
I was extremely confused when all of a sudden we get word that Annalise is pregnant. This is what was going through my brain, when I read that: ?????????????. I didn’t even realise they had had sex in Half Wild! It was at least obvious when Nathan and Gabriel had sex. This entire ending was just confusing, and did not at all match the tone of the beginning of the novel, which I really enjoyed.
I see an unnerving pattern in YA fiction, where the final book in a series does not deliver like it should. This book could have been so much more, and gone down in YA history as a great LGBT novel, with a bi protagonist. Instead, Sally Green did what people always do: she went for shock effect instead and ruined a wonderful series.
Buy the book here.