For our third YA book club we read Half Bad by Sally Green, a book filled with gritty witches roaming the English country side. The book had it’s redeeming qualities, but most of us were left wanting on the front of a love story, actual character development and real grit. Some of us are still curious enough to pick up her second book, but for those who are not, we have some other recommendations. One book that will fit right in with the YA-theme and another that is supposedly for grown-ups, but awesome for everyone.
Another book by Holly Black was up against Half Bad, which had nothing to do with witches, but her other series called Curse Workers does and makes a great recommendation for lovers of YA and magic. This series is about Cassel, a young member from a shady magical family. People with magical abilities are called workers and what they can do is considered to be illegal. Cassel’s entire family is considered very talented. His mother can work on other people’s emotions, while his father can kill with a single touch. When even his brothers have found their talents, Cassel can’t seem to find his own. Then a white cat keeps visiting his dreams and finally leads him to finding his own talent, the rarest of all.
We’re going into high fantasy territory with this one, but we think it’s warranted. Half Bad was pretty gritty, but at the same time all the beating and scars and burning of flesh felt somewhat superficial. Now we all know that The Song of Fire and Ice series has some real dark grit, but maybe you hadn’t heard of The First Law series yet. This first installment follows three characters Logen Ninefingers, infamous barbarian, Captain Jezal dan Luthar, a paragon of selfishness and Inquisitor Glokta, cripple turned torturer. They traverse the civilized Union and enter the more barbaric North. Here they find the first signs of a war and other bad things that are coming their way. The series is a gritty, dark epos that will make you worry much much more than Half Bad ever did.
Have you read these books and did you like them or are there other books you’d recommend? Let us know in the comments!