Author: Sally Green
Published: 2014 by Penguin
Genres: YA, Supernatural, Fantasy
Synopsis: Sixteen-year-old Nathan lives in a cage: beaten, shackled, trained to kill. In a modern-day England where two warring factions of witches live amongst humans, Nathan is an abomination, the illegitimate son of the world’s most terrifying and violent witch, Marcus. Nathan’s only hope for survival is to escape his captors, track down Marcus, and receive the three gifts that will bring him into his own magical powers — before it’s too late. But how can Nathan find his father when there is no one safe to trust, not even family, not even the girl he loves?
I read this without reading the synopsis, and I’m thinking that’s the best way to go into any novel. The writing is simple and quick to read- I finished it in a day and a bit- yet that doesn’t detract from the quality of the story. Note that this was nominated for the YA Book Prize this year (2015)!
The main character is complex and fascinating. His darker nature as a witch is intriguing and I couldn’t help but root for it to win out against the light. While he was standing up to the brutality of the White Witches and was uncooperative to everyone, inside he was also fantasizing about his evil dad coming to take him away and that’s kind of sweet.
The Council of White Witches and their treatment of him was hard to read sometimes, especially as they were torturing him for being a half Black, half White witch and a reader can’t help but compare that to racism in the real world. There were a few really brutal scenes in the book.
The only thing that makes this a typical young adult novel was the boring female love interest. Team Gabriel! Snort. Fortunately, the story does not focus on Annalise or the romance and the other characters were complex enough that this can be ignored.