Quick review for a somewhat quick read. I'm having a hard time knowing what to say - other than this ended up being a journey worth not much of anything. So am I to assume that Sally Green saw the ending of the animated series "The World of David the Gnome" and perhaps thought "I can do that too! Only I'm going to make my characters suffer different fates. And it'll have MEANING and be DEEP and make everyone who reads it emotional."
I'm sorry, but none of that happened for me. David the Gnome made me bawl buckets because of the connection to the characters and the fact that the MCs respective fates pretty much fit the symbolic buildup and quality/context of the series. On the contrary, I feel pretty numb finishing this book and I'm close to saying it was a waste of my time (close, but not quite, because I actually did enjoy moments of this book and this series as a whole. That's why I followed it to the end.) The story had all this build-up, and the series as well, considering some notably genre busting occurrences - only to lend to a common cliche and an ending that wasn't just "Half Lost" it was just...pretty freaking lost. Meandering, long-winded, overblown for its respective aim. Nathan's a firm anti-hero - I was fine with that. But I felt almost worse for wear about this book than I was finishing "Allegiant" by Veronica Roth because it was so anti-climatic.
For me, it's a combination of the cliches and Sally Green's writing being very weak for emotional payoff. I said this back when reading "Half Bad" - all these horrible things are happening to the characters, all these emotional punches, but they're not landing with me - there's a distance and it's due to how hampered the presentation comes across. I want to feel for it, but it feels like it's trying too hard to sell it. Though I'd argue there were moments in "Half Lost" where I was almost connecting with it because Nathan - at the beginning of the story - had fully embraced his dark side and had a firm motivation to go by, particularly in his pursuit of Annalise following the events of the last book. I followed the book well for a while with Nathan's group as well, and noted the strong chemistry he had with Gabriel - which was something I shipped even (especially) in the last novel. Certain points become repetitious as Green marched Nathan along his journey in his darkness - inner turmoil and outer - but it kept me following for the struggle and the palpable balances his company provides.
I mean...I'm trying to give Green credit for the narrative, but unfortunately, I can't do it. This book could've ended so many other ways (please don't take this as a critique because it didn't end on a happier note, because when it's done well, I'm fine with applauding it), but yet this didn't handle its respective weights well at all. For that, I think despite some supposed jarring moments, this book - this series - just fell flat with me. I would not come back to it.
Overall score: 2/5 stars.