Initial reaction: Seriously, I want to love this series. I want to love it. There are parts of it that I want to applaud and sing praises for Sally Green at least in the idea of where she wants to take this series, but honestly - the execution leaves much to be desired. Much of this book I felt like I was waiting on my hands for something to happen, and when finally something significant and engaging does happen, it's near the end of the book.
I'll finish out this series, certainly, but I hope the last book isn't this plodding for details and development. Not holding my breath on that though, since this pretty much had the same problems as the previous book, with a few new ones to match.
Okay guys, soapbox coming. I wasn't really a fan of Sally Green's "Half Bad" and I was on the fence for following the trilogy into its second book, "Half Wild." Yet, my curiosity always gets the best of me, and I did admit that there were some moments of "Half Bad" that I actually liked. It was just that it wasn't developed enough for the world and realm and I felt a disconnect with the overarching narrative and MC (Nathan).
This book pretty much features the same problems as the last one in my eyes, verbatim. Seriously there was really no improvement from the last book into this one for content with respect to narrative pacing or establishing a greater connection with Nathan as a protagonist. *sighs* And that frustrated me greatly. Nathan is still just at arms length for most of the narrative and for all the things that have happened to him, I can't seem to sympathize with his plight.
In this book, it's a little clearer why because for a great measure of the book, nothing seems to happen. Nathan makes plans of what he wants to do, but doesn't act on them, and has all encompassing thoughts of Annalise as he tries to figure out a way to save her and get out of the bargain he made - to kill his father Marcus. The book does showcase Nathan struggling with the power inside of him - a beast who seems to relentlessly kill, but it's hard to get the urgency of that situation half the time because of the way Green chooses to narrate it - either in flashbacks or at a distance where it's not immediate or jarring enough to thrill the reader (at least *this* reader, anyway). Character deaths in the beginning and middle of this novel seem to happen quick and without much resonation or consequence, and that also frustrated me. I wanted to feel the tension and consequences of those scenes, dangnabit. Why would you want to skip over that or otherwise lack the intimacy needed for those scenes to hit home?
This was yet another case in which the secondary cast was better than the purported leads (Nathan and Annalise). I loved Gabriel's character - I almost wish that he'd be the leading character of this series than Nathan because he had so many dimensions to feel for, between his grief over nearly losing Nathan and his affections, as well as his overarching role in the conflict and the losses he's suffered; I just connected with him better. Plus, I want to ship him and Nathan. I really do. Even more rare in consideration, I don't see many GLBT relationships in a magic dystopian thriller like this one and I want to say "PLEASE MAKE IT HAPPEN!!!" I just wish Nathan had more development behind him than what it's currently showing and the way it chooses to show his plight.
Nesbitt was an okay character and interesting enough for comic relief in places, while being a flawed character in and of himself for his role in the narrative. I don't know if I liked the fact he was crafted with so many Aussie personality cliches, but I did appreciate his role in the story.
I was glad to see that Marcus, Nathan's father, had a little more role and connectivity in this part of the story. I just wish it hadn't taken much of the dragging heels of the novel to reach that point closer to its end.
I really don't care what happens to Annalise at this point. I was only lukewarm about her character in the first book, but I ended up not caring one way or another about her by the end of this book. She's just...not a well-crafted character at all. No dimensions, just a useless character, and I hate saying that about a MC female who should mean more in the overarching conflict of the novel. What's the point of her being there other than just being a love interest for Nathan? Really, I don't understand. She serves no purpose wand it's a further source of frustration to see what happens with her character as the novel approached its conclusion.
Which brings me to the ending. Dude...if the rest of the book had managed to work that kind of tension better and throughout the novel in its entirety, maybe I'd have a much higher rating to give. But since it's so quick and sloppy with its handling, I can't give "Half Wild" that much credit. There were a few brutally violent scenes in the book, but much of them seemed more like background noise apart from the ending, which had a really heavy cost to Nathan in terms of his personal relationships and his role in the overarching conflict. Seems like Nathan's going to have a quest of vengeance and role to serve, but I hope that actually comes to fruition instead of just leading into a cop-out conclusion. I do plan on following this series to the end, but given the quality of this one, I'm not super excited about it because this book could've been much better in quality. MUCH better. And it didn't deliver, to be blunt about it.
Overall score: 2.5/5 stars.