Unfortunately, I did not like this book. I was excited to read it because of the concept and all the good things I’ve heard, but I feel like I didn’t read the same book everyone’s so thrilled about. My biggest issue was the main character, Nathan. I felt like he was a very dull, underdeveloped character and that telling the story from his point of view was a mistake. I found it hard to enjoy the events of the book because the way they were told was boring and emotionless. I felt like there was a degree of separation between Nathan and what was happening, even though he was the main character and that bothered me. It was like regardless of what was happening it was always told in a bored, slightly confused tone. Nathan is not a character that I can get behind or even like and as a reader I need to like my main character. I felt like I would have enjoyed the book 100 % more if Nathan had had a personality or if it had been told from a different point of view.
I did not like Nathan’s relationship with Annalise simply because it had no basis. It’s one of those “I know next to nothing about you but I’m in love with you” romances. I felt like Annalise is a more of a plot device than a character or a love interest. The other thing that perturbed me was that even after having no contact with one another for years they still were interested in each other. I understand that there can be enduring love but Annalise and Nathan didn’t really have a relationship to begin with. After all that time, I felt life should have moved on for both of them.
Another thing I didn’t like was the discrepancies in the writing. There were scenes and phrases in the book that just didn’t make sense. I understand Nathan is supposed to be uneducated, but you can not have the actual writing of the book reflect that.
I was also disappointed that the book wasn’t very descriptive, except when it came to people’s eyes. The frequency of people’s eyes being described in detail was annoying. Yes, Nathan sees people’s eyes differently, that doesn’t mean I need multiple elaborate descriptions of every characters eyes.
That bring me to the biggest problem of all. Nathan seems to have multiple abilities that other witches don’t have, before his 17th birthday. This was never explained or addressed and it bugged the heck out of me. Why does he have these abilities before he’s 17 ? Did they come from his father ? Why does he have more than one ability ? The hunters were interested in his healing but nothing ever came of it. These were all things that were never acknowledged in any way.
Fortunately, this book had some good qualities. I really, really loved the way Nathan was persecuted for being a half-black witch. All the things that were done to him were just because of his blood. Just because of the councils fear. He was a child, he had no loyalties to his father or inclination towards dark magic. If anything the way the council treated him pushed him there. It just really shows that fear of the unknown drives prejudice. My favorite scene of the book was when Annalise’s brothers carve the B and the W into his back. There was something so raw about it. He was just a boy who liked a girl and he was mutilated all because of who his father was. Nathan was never bad and he had never done anything wrong. He was just a half code. Nathan’s whole life has been miserable and torturous all because people choose to see him as half bad rather than half good. That’s a powerful message.