So much of this breaks my heart,
and I know yours is broken too...
Pages: 60-70 (Roughly.)
Chapters: -- (Written in a diary format.)
Publisher: Penguin Books
Book Links: Goodreads
I was about to pick up Half Wild, book two of Sally Green's Half Bad trilogy, when I noticed two little prequel short stories. And, of course, I just had to have them. Half Lies is the first chronologically, so here we are.
What a startlingly emotional short...
While this story takes place before the first core entry's (Half Bad), I do recommend having completed at least that first one. Why? Well, while Half Lies doesn't spoil anything, the knowledge of the world given to you in Half Bad is highly valuable. This short does lay down the basics, but it's sparse enough that first-time readers might be a little lost.
But on with the review, shall we?
Synopsis (Not a copy from the book, but I always keep my interpretations close.)
Michele, Gabriel and their father were on the run...
After the death of their mother, Michele and Gabriel, Black Witches, are squirrelled away to safety.
They stop in a small town in America, desperate to start new lives, desperate to forget their old ones.
But that proves to be difficult.
Michele falls for a White Witch, Gabriel falls in with a group of vicious Black Witches, and their father falls to the bottom of a bottle.
Lines are being crossed and territorial battles are waged.
But one line might destroy them all:
The bittersweet line of forbidden love...
Plot - 5/5 Stars
I'll try keep this review short and not twaddle on, but I'm fairly surprised by how much is rammed into this explosive short. For the most part it's steady, focusing on reaffirming to the reader how Black Witches aren't really evil, despite what the wonderful members of the White Witches tell you. Sure, Black Witches are more prone to anger and killing their family members (wait, what?), but Sally Green does a phenomenal job of blurring that moral line.
Are they really bad, or victims of the circumstances White Witches force them into?
All in all, reading of the fights between 'good' and 'evil' would be enough, but Green works hard to flesh out some history for Gabriel (a member of our main cast in the core series), and gives us a harrowing tale of love that could kill...
And the twist at the end... It's so sudden and heartbreaking that I had to read it again three more times just for it to sink in. Nice job, Ms Green.
Pace - 4.5/5 Stars
We start off slow and steady, but the author creates some fantastic tension that boils and explodes, and with the short being under 100 pages, it's a shot of adrenaline you can't pass up if you love the series.
Characters - 5/5 Stars
So Half Lies is really a short that fleshes out Gabriel's backstory, phenomenally, I might add. We don't know much about him in Half Bad but now I have a new respect for the character.
But, for the majority, this story is Michele's, a bubbly, strong character that hates the scorn she faces as a Black Witch and the persecution that comes with it. Everything is told through her diary, and the insight we get to her mind makes the twist at the end all the more shattering. It's not surprising (hey, it is forbidden love), but the suddenness is startling.
Writing - 4/5 Stars
A bit 'meh' in places, but overall it's a strong venture that gives the reader a lot of food for thought.
Overall - 5/5 Stars
Half Lies has given me a new outlook for the future of the series, and that outlook just keeps getting better and better.
Next up, the next short: Half Truths.
So keep your eyes peeled!
Next Instalment: Half Truths
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