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394 pages, Hardcover
First published March 4, 2014
"...it’s the name of the most evil Black Witch there has ever been.”Oh, hi, Voldemort!
I want to say “Marcus.” He’s my father and I want to say his name, but I’m too afraid. I’m always too afraid to say his name.
“She’s dead because of you.”His oldest sister reviles him. His other siblings and Gran love him and try to protect him, but they can only do so much against a world that is inclined to discriminate against those with Half Black blood.
I back against the wall.
Jessica shouts at me. “She killed herself because of you!”
Niall catches me on the side of the head with the brick and Connor is clinging on to me.Pain and misery and torture. That is the extent of Nathan's life. It never stops.
Then I get rammed in my back, which must be with the brick again.
It reverberates down my spine and stops me dead.
I’ve been hammered into the tarmac like a nail.
He puts the point back into my left shoulder blade and I clench my jaw and scream while he makes another cut.Even his mentor is more prisoner than friend.
He stops again and says, “You should have listened to him.”
He makes another slow cut.
And I am going mad screaming and praying for someone to make him stop.
But he makes another cut and then another and all I can do is scream and pray.
The routine is the same as ever. And so is the cage. And so are the shackles. The choker is still on, loose but there. If I try to leave, I’ll die, no doubt about it.It never seems to end.
I scream and curse him and move my finger as much as I can but the ring tightens and the needle goes into me again.That's pretty much the entire book. There is a lot of torture, a lot of pain, and some very vague plans to find his daddy. He-Who-Must-Be-Named. Actually, his name is Marcus.
As it comes out I’m sweating.
He moves on to the top of my finger, over the fingernail. The needle goes through again.
So I must go to him.The Setting: Vague as fuck. There is just no background. It is a contemporary English setting, without much of the setting at all. I wouldn't have known besides the fact that they watch "the telly." The existence of witches doesn't really make any impression, because the book acts like "oh, everyone knows it, there's no need for any sort of information whatsoever." So BOOM. No setting. We know there's a vague...Council. We know that there are Hunters.
I must go and find my father.
Hunters are the elite group of White Witches employed by the Council to hunt down Black Witches in Britain. Gran says they are employed by other Councils in Europe more and more as there are so few Blacks left in Britain. Hunters are mainly women, but include a few talented male witches. They are all ruthless and efficient.And as you can tell from that passage, the world building is terribly trite and mundane; there's no evocative writing here.
i hava bordr and sisser my bordrs ArranHe gets bullied. He gets beaten. Thankfully, he has a Lily (named Annalise) to befriend him. A beautiful, clever, kind girl.
he is niss and Debsis clvrer
Annalise has long blonde hair that glistens like melted white chocolate over her shoulders. She has blue eyes and long pale eyelashes. She smiles a lot, revealing her straight, white teeth. Her hands are impossibly clean, her skin is the color of honey, and her fingernails gleam.Annalise is a Pure blood, in the HP Universe, we would call her a Slytherin. A kind Slytherin.
I hold out my picture. “What do you think? Now it’s finished.”Nathan is so lonely. His other siblings, Deborah, and Arran, love him, but that's not enough when he knows that the entire Witch world hates him for his father's blood. Nathan constantly dreams of his father. Wild, impossible dreams that give him hope.
I’m prepared for her to say something horrible, laugh at it or at me. But I don’t think she’ll do that.
She smiles and says, “It’s really good.”
It is a secret story that I tell myself when I’m in bed at night. My father is not evil at all; he is powerful and strong. And he cares about me . . . he loves me. And he wants to bring me up as his true son, to teach me about witchcraft, to show me the world. But he is constantly persecuted by White Witches who give him no opportunity to explain. But he is waiting for the right time to come for me and take me away with him.Nathan is so hideously persecuted. Nobody wants him. Nobody believes him.
Of course I know. I know that even if I don’t fight, even if I avoid Annalise, even if I get on my knees and lick Niall’s and Connor’s boots, it will make no difference; they will do what they like and say what they like, and what they say will be believed.He is unsure about his nature: White or Black. But it's all up to his personal choice:
"You aren’t evil, Nathan. Nothing about you is evil. You will have a powerful Gift—we can all see that—but it’s how you use it that will show you to be good or bad."Recommended with reservations.
Later that night, when I am getting undressed, Arran has a go at talking to me. I guess Gran has asked him to try. He says I should "rethink," "perhaps ask permission to go to one place in Wales," and some other stuff like that. Adult stuff. Gran's stuff.
I just say, "Can I have permission to go to the bathroom? Please?"
He doesn't reply, so I throw my jeans on the floor, get on my knees and say, "Can I have permission to go to the bathroom? Please?"
He doesn't reply but drops to his knees with me and hugs me. We stay like that. Him hugging me and me still stiff with anger at him, wanting to hurt him too.
After a long time I hug him back, just a little.
“And your life is so empty that sitting in the middle of nowhere acting as jailor for an innocent child must seem pretty rewarding.”
She’s actually beginning to smile at this.
“And I bet the pay isn’t that great.”
“I do have a favorite though. Solzhenitsyn. One Day in the Life of Ivan Denisovich. You read that one?”
He shakes his head.
“How can it be your favorite . . . if you’ve never read it?”
And I want to yell at him, “’Cause the woman who kept me chained up in a cage was a Russian-loving lunatic, you stupid, spoiled Swiss idiot.” I want to scream and shout. And next thing the plates are all smashed on the floor and I don’t know how I get so angry so quickly. I’m breathing hard and Gabriel’s standing there, with suds dripping off his fingers.