I have to admit that I tend to take hype with a pinch of salt, be it for a film, an album or, in this case, a book. However, this didn't stop me from being more than a little intrigued when news of Half Bad selling for silly money all around the world began to hit the press towards the end of last year.
I can still hear myself crying: "Witches? Has enough time really passed since Harry Potter for the publishing world to be going crazy about another YA witch story?". And despite the hype, there was a part of me feeling that for this to be the case this had to be something pretty special indeed. And it is, and I loved it.
I've just finished it this evening and I'm still trying to collect my thoughts for my review which will come next week, however in the meantime I am delighted to be taking part in the Half Bad blog tour, with an new extract from the opening chapters of the book being released each day over the past four days. This is the fifth extract and they are best read in order, so why not head on over to Wondrous Reads for the first part.
the trick doesn’t work
She’s talking but you can’t make sense of it.
You’re back sitting at the kitchen table, sweating and shuddering a bit, and blood from your left ear is running down your neck. That ear won’t heal. You can’t hear at all on that side. And your nose is a mess. You must have landed on it when you fell. It’s broken, blocked up and bloodied, and it won’t heal either.
Your hand is resting on the table and it’s so swollen now that the fingers can’t move at all.
She’s sitting on the chair next to you and is spraying your wrist with the lotion again. It’s cooling. Numbing.
And it would be so good to be numb like that all over, numb to it all. But that won’t happen. What will happen is that she’ll lock you back up in the cage, chain you up, and it’ll go on and on and on . . .
And so the trick doesn’t work. It doesn’t work and you do mind; you mind about it all. You don’t want to be back in that cage and you don’t want the trick any more. You don’t want any of it any more.
The cut on her scalp is healed but there’s the wide ridge of a black-red scab underneath her blonde hair and there’s blood on her shoulder. She’s still talking about something, her fat slobbering lips working away.
You look around the room. The kitchen sink, the window that overlooks the vegetable garden and the cage, the range, the ironing board, the door to the pantry and back to the ugly woman with nicely pressed trousers. And clean boots. And in her boot is her little knife. She sometimes keeps it there. You saw it when you were on the floor.
You’re dizzy so it’s easy to swoon, sinking to your knees. She grabs you by your armpits but your left hand isn’t injured and it finds the handle and slides the knife out of her boot while she grapples with your dead weight and as you let your body sink further you bring the blade to your jugular. Fast and hard.
But she’s so bloody quick, and you kick and fight and fight and kick but she gets the knife off you and you’ve no kick and no fight left at all.
Back in the cage. Shackled. Kept waking up last night . . . sweating . . . ear still doesn’t work . . . you’re breathing through your mouth cos your nose is blocked. She’s even chained your bad wrist and your whole arm is so swollen that the shackle is tight.
It’s late morning but she still hasn’t come for you. She’s doing something in the cottage. Tapping. Smoke’s coming out of the chimney.
It’s warm today, a breeze from the south-west, clouds moving silently across the sky so the sun is managing a series of appearances, touching your cheek and casting shadows from the bars across your legs. But you’ve seen it all before, so you close your eyes and remember stuff. It’s OK to do that sometimes.
Want to read an interview with Sally Green? Go to: http://www.mrripleysenchantedbooks.com/
(from 1st March)
(from 1st March)
Text copyright © Sally Green, 2014 published by Penguin Books