Book Review: HALF LOST by Sally Green

Photo credit: Goodreads
It's going to be hard to write a review about this without spoiling anything, but I will do my darndest. Because this finale to one of my favorite YA Fantasy series deserves a very good review. 

Before I go into how much I loved this book, however, here is the Goodreads summary:
"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."

So given how much I loved Half Bad and Half Wild, I had pretty high hopes for Half Lost. I was ready to see one relationship I despised crash and burn; I was ready to see the relationship I'd been dying to see since book one flourish; I was ready to see Nathan come into himself and become the truly powerful witch everyone knew all along he would be.

I got all of that and more.

The character development in this book is truly amazing; at the beginning, Nathan has gone extremely dark side. His obsession with exacting revenge on someone was so intense it was disturbing, and seeing him morph from book one into this dark, hurting person was legitimately hard to read. My heart ached for him, and for Gabriel, who stood hurting by his side as he watched someone he cared so much about become this unrecognizable person.

Half Lost is just as dark and raw as Half Bad and Half Wild. There were moments that made me cringe, and images that were disturbingly vivid. Green doesn't hold back or shy away from the harsh realities of war; it's there on the page for everyone to see, and I found it to be incredibly powerful.

And speaking of powerful, this book nearly made me cry twice. As I've said in my other reviews, I am not someone who cries easily—to this date I've never actually broken down over a book. But there was one moment in the book that made me so happy I actually got teary-eyed, and the other...well, I won't spoil, but I will say if I hadn't taken a break, it's very likely I would've full-on sobbed by the end of the book.

There are a lot of people who took issue with something that happens at the end—and I understand their grievances. But I feel it's important to say that I think what happened was handled really deftly, and it absolutely fit the story; as another reviewer said, it felt inevitable. And for me, at least, I found it a very powerful—and beautiful—ending to a wonderfully memorable YA Fantasy series.

Overall, the Half Bad series will remain on my favorites list. I really enjoyed the diverse characters woven into the story—from a bisexual and biracial protagonist with a learning disorder, to a gay major character, and not one, but two gender nonconforming characters, and more, the Half Bad series is one I'll continue to recommend to those who like (very) dark YA Fantasies and a story that will break you and put you back together again.

Diversity note: As mentioned in the review, Nathan, the protagonist, is biracial, bisexual, and has a learning disorder. A major character, Gabriel, is gay, and there are also two gender non-conforming characters.

What have you been reading lately? 

Twitter-sized bites: 
.@Ava_Jae gives 5 stars to HALF LOST by @Sa11eGreen. Is this dark YA w/ a bisexual & biracial boy MC on your TBR? (Click to tweet)

Like dark YA Fantasy? Want to see queer boys kicking ass? Check out HALF LOST by Sally Green. (Click to tweet)

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