This is the final battle.
The Alliance is losing the war, and their most critical weapon, seventeen-year-old witch Nathan Byrn, is losing his mind. Nathan’s tally of kills is rising, and yet he’s no closer to ending the tyrannical rule of the Council of White Witches in England. Nor is Nathan any closer to his personal goal: getting revenge on Annalise, the girl he once loved before she committed an unthinkable crime. An amulet protected by the extremely powerful witch Ledger could be the tool Nathan needs to save himself and the Alliance, but this amulet is not so easily acquired. And lately Nathan has started to suffer from visions: a vision of a golden moment when he dies, and of an endless line of Hunters, impossible to overcome. Gabriel, his closest companion, urges Nathan to run away with him, to start a peaceful life together. But even Gabriel’s love may not be enough to save Nathan from this war, or from the person he has become.
Set in modern-day Europe, the final book in the Half Bad trilogy is more than a story about witches. It’s a heart-achingly visceral look at survival and exploitation, the nature of good and evil, and the risks we take for love.
How was it?
This whole trilogy is bloody, and a bit of a tear-jerker, Half Bad starts strong, Half Wild shows some cracks but Half Lost almost makes it make sense.
This book picks up two months after Half Wild, Nathan is on a quest for revenge, alienating everyone that cares about him, and the alliance of witches is on the ropes. The story itself is entertaining and was enough of a wild ride to keep me engaged, but the further I got into this story the more I was dreading one thing, waiting for the other shoe to drop, because I’ve been burned before.
I’ve mentioned it in a previous review but the character developments in these books are pretty great. Nathan’s in particular is quite compelling and fascinating when the full arc is considered. Not everything that he suffers through makes sense, and that one thing I suspected happened putting this book and the series lower in my all-time favorites list.
I’ll discuss that one aspect of this book and the trilogy in general that I’m disappointed with, and it could be considered a spoiler, the LGBT angle. I wanted to be wrong about this but the date of publication alone gave me a hint of how this would go. When it comes to relationships in general, I suspected that this series wouldn’t be very strong in that area by book two. Nathan spent so much of his time away from Annalise pinning for her to briefly see her again in Half Bad, after having met Gabriel. It took me off-guard when it was revealed that Gabriel had a crush on him, and it was only in Half Wild that it made some kind of sense that Gabriel was smitten. There were legitimate and interesting plot points that made the separation from Annalise in both books somewhat logical while painting Gabriel as the devoted friend with an unrequited love for Nathan, and yet subtly depicting Nathan as the somewhat clueless potentially queer guy.
Bi? Pan? who knows, but that’s not my point. I salute the author for not getting to a point where I felt that she was baiting queer readers and queer story lovers with a potential queer relationship that might never happen. Arguably she did but since I expected the worse I wasn’t baited. At least, Gabriel wasn’t depicted as aggressively coming onto Nathan, even if at times he seemed like an idiot who was wasting his time, but he let Nathan initiate the contacts.
However, my point is, once it was established that they were becoming an item why turn it into something tragic? It falls into the bury your gays trope with a side of let’s continue his bloodline to appease the phobes since he’s with Gabriel now. It makes more sense that Nathan, despite all the bad things he’s done, would have a happy ending. Don’t come at me with they’re reunited in spirit crap, in the earth, particularly when Annalise gets to build herself a new life after what she did. I know trees are alive and that a reversal is possible but come on!.
Some will just see it as a tragic and bittersweet end but it’s an annoying trend. It’s stuff like this that will make me hesitant to read another one of her books. I would have even accepted a “restoration” – to use a less spoiler-y word – or time manipulation, after some years of suffering and learning about the extent of his powers.
Half Lost is available on The Book Depository and other book retailers near you.