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Half Wild’s Top 5 Black Witches

Half Wild 620px x 215 px (2)

In Sally Green’s amazing sequel, Half Wild, there are some seriously badass Black Witches.  Nicky Borasinski picks her Top 5 . . .

5. Gus

Although only in the book for a short while, Gus gives a great insight into the complex relationship between Half Bloods and Black Witches. Proud to be a confidant of Marcus, Gus struggles to hide his prejudice towards all those who are not Black Witches. His exchanges with Nathan are sharp and tense, which makes them a great read.

4. Gabriel

Just when you thought Gabriel couldn’t get any better, he then regains his witch powers (*insert fist pump here*)!  Gabriel is incredibly loyal to Nathan (even when Nathan lashes out); he is handsome, kind-hearted and moral. Always willing to put his neck on the line for his best friend, Gabriel is just all-round awesome.  Here’s shipping ‘Nabriel’ for Half Lost!

3. Victoria Van Dahl (Van)

When Nathan first meets Van, he mistakes her for a man, which kind of  encapsulates how mysterious and intriguing this character is. You never know quite where you stand with her: one minute she’s making pleasantries, the next she’s trying to control your emotions with magic cigarettes.  She’s beautiful, powerful and intelligent – an extremely striking character.

2. Mercury

This shrewd, cruel and ancient witch is terrifying and apparently heartless. Mercury is a powerful witch who can manipulate the weather and cut through the fabric of the universe. (Yes, that’s right. She can actually cut through the universe to create portals that transfer you from one place to another. . . !)  Yes, she is a little bit evil, but that makes her even more amazing as a character. Hell-bent on avenging her sister’s death, Mercury is on a never-ending hunt for Marcus. She is a tantalising Black Witch and a deserving runner-up in my Top 5.

1. Marcus

WHO ELSE?  Not only does he have every single power you could ever want (stopping time and invisibility to name but two), Marcus is also the most complex and intriguing character in Half Wild. Having lived in solitude for years, he struggles to connect with his fellow witches and is distant and moody. Throughout the entire book you will travel constantly from the  ‘I love Marcus’ side to ‘I want Marcus dead’ side… and then the ending happens. THAT ENDING!  There just couldn’t be any other Black Witch in the top spot.

– Nicky Borasinski

Want to send in your own review? Email or tweet @PenguinPlatform

Still need to read it?  Get your hands on Half Wild here:

Sally Green plays ‘Good, Bad, or Half Bad?’

Ever wondered what an award-winning, critically-acclaimed, record-breaking author thinks about cheese, trains, shopping or Aiden Turner (from Poldark)?

Wonder no longer! Aiss from the awesome Penguin Platform grabbed a quick chat with Sally before #epicYAday and grilled her on those all-important questions…

Don’t forget to follow Sally on Twitter and stay tuned to Penguin Platform for more updates on all things Half Bad! They’re on Tumblr, Twitter, Instagram and YouTube.


Meet Sally at one of our Half Wild launch events!


Friday 20th  March: 7pm – 9pm
Waterstones, Birmingham High Street

Join Sally Green and Jennifer Niven (author of All the Bright Places) for an exclusive light and dark event to celebrate the Spring Equinox and the launch of Half Wild!

This is a bookshop event with a twist – readers will be transported into the half-light, half-dark worlds of Half Wild and All the Bright Places,  with two floors given over to a treasure hunt. Clues will be distributed around the bookshop, with teams being asked to find books to solve clues in a race to be the first team to unlock the prize. Following the treasure hunt, there will be candle-lit readings by each author, as well as a Q&A session, music, refreshments and author signings.

Tickets: To reserve a place tweet @WaterstonesBham or call the store on 0121 633 4353.

Twitter: #BrightAndWild, @Sa11eGreen, @jenniferniven, @WaterstonesBham, @YABirmingham


Wednesday 25th  March: 6.30pm – 8pm
Waterstones Piccadilly, 203 – 206 Piccadilly London

With David Levithan (Hold Me Closer) and Jennifer Niven (All the Bright Places).

Bestselling teen authors discuss their new novels, Half Wild, Hold Me Closer and All the Bright Places.  Includes author signings.


Tickets: £3 ( £2 for Waterstones Cardholders) buy at | 020 7851 2400


 Twitter: @Sa11eGreen, @davidlevithan, @jenniferniven, @benjaminoftomes (chair), @PenguinUKBooks


Friday 27th  March: 6.30pm – 8pm
Waterstones Leeds, 93-97 Albion St, Leeds LS1 5JS

With David Levithan (Hold Me Closer).  Includes author signings.

Tickets: £3 ( £2 for Waterstones or NUS Cardholders)  buy in-store or at |  0113 2444588

Twitter: @WstonesLeeds, @Sa11eGreen, @davidlevithan, @PenguinUKBooks  #HalfWild #HoldMeCloser


Saturday 28th March 12pm-1.30pm
Waterstones Manchester Deansgate, 91 Deansgate, Manchester, M3 2BW

With David Levithan (Hold Me Closer). Includes author signings.

Tickets: Free event. Reservations contact: T: 0161 837 3000 @WaterstonesMCR

Twitter: @WaterstonesMCR,  @Sa11eGreen, @davidlevithan, @PenguinUKBooks #HalfWild #HoldMeCloser

Which Witches Should be Making a Comeback?

A standard question I get from journalists is along these lines:- ‘So HALF BAD is about witches. Are witches making a comeback in contemporary culture?’

I’m not sure if journalists really expect me to be an expert on this subject (I’m not), and I’m not sure witches were ever a dominant force in stories (apart from Harry Potter of course). Okay, they feature in many fairy stories, but they are usually the bad guys playing a supporting role to show off the nice princess and the heroic prince. However, with Angelina Jolie is Maleficent in the just released Maleficent (the title of the film being that of the witch (hooray) rather than Sleeping Beauty (spit)), maybe the tide is turning.

Anyway, all this got me thinking who are my favourite witches in films and tv programmes, and I was surprised how many I thought of. Here are a few of those who I’d love to see again or otherwise. . .

Maleficent (the Disney version)


Maleficent from Walt Disney’s 1959 version of Sleeping Beauty is the archetypal Black Witch, she has it all from the clothes to the crow. Unfortunately she’s not a witch, she’s a fairy. A fairy!

This perhaps explains why her spells seem to lack true horror.  Maleficent performs an enchantment at Aurora’s christening which will mean death by spindle, but the enchantment is countered by another ‘good’ Fairy’s and so sleep rather than death is the result. All I can say is that I’m more impressed by Maleficent’s head gear than by her evil spells. Having said that I don’t expect I’ll be rushing to see Angelina play this part as I can’t see how Disney’s version can be improved on.

Samantha and her mother, Endora (from Bewitched)


Bewitched was one of my favourite TV programmes from the sixties. Samantha is a witch but wants to live the life of a normal human because of the love for her husband, Darrin, whilst Endora constantly tries, and fails, to break up her daughter’s happy marriage. As a child I adored Samantha and feared her mother, Endora.

You will be pleased to hear that I now realise the error of my ways. Samantha is awful – the typical goody White Witch who cutely twitches her nose to make everything alright, and weirdly seems to wear similar clothes to those sported by Dolores Umbridge (more of her further on). Now, I find Endora delightful as Samantha’s frustrated yet rather bored mother who wants her daughter to act like a real witch.  Witches like Endora really should be making a comeback.

Willow Rosenberg


I have to admit I didn’t watch many episodes of Buffy The Vampire Slayer, and when I did Willow always seemed to be reading a book (admittedly a large, leather-bound tome, but still a book) – which didn’t strike me as a very witchy thing to do. Being book-ish is such a good disguise for a witch that I wasn’t sure Willow was one, but a Buffy-mad friend of mine confirmed the truth of it.

I wondered if perhaps Willow was an American forerunner of the even more book-ish Hermione Granger of Harry Potter but it seems they both made their appearance in the same year (1997 was the first airing of Buffy and the publication of Harry Potter) – coincidence or perhaps there is something more mysterious afoot…

The Witches of Eastwick


Oh dear, nothing mysterious here, I think the picture says it all.

Based on the John Updike novel, The Witches of Eastwick – Cher, Susan Sarandon and Michelle Pfeiffer – are (according to the blurb) sex starved…No, I can’t go on. This is just an excuse to ogle scantily clad, beautiful women and for some reason the photo reminds me of Charlies Angels – nuff said.

Hopefully these kind of witches, and I include that lot from ‘Charmed’, will not be making a comeback.



This is more like it. Ravenna, (and I think we all already know that black birds are going to be involved) is the Queen in Snow White and the Huntsman (Charlize Theron as Ravenna). Ravenna is not referred to as a witch but she does use witchcraft to try to kill Snow White, which seems a decent indicator, though all her plans inevitably fail.

One of the great aspects of this film is the magical mirror, which has more personality and appeal than either Snow White or the Huntsman.

Miss Eva Ernst, Grand High Witch of All The World

Eva Ernst

Miss Eva Ernst, in the 1990 film version of Roald Dahl’s The Witches, is all that you’d want from a Grand High Witch (including being played by Anjelica Huston), though she has no toes, not much hair and a terrible plan for world domination. I could have told her that trying to organise witches, and to have a convention to do so, would end badly. She only has to watch a few witchy films to know that complicated potions always backfire. Here, the potion that will make all children of England turn into mice so that they will be killed as pests by their parents is consumed (surprise, surprise) by all the witches and the kitchen staff chop all the mice/witches to bits.



Geraldine McEwan as Mortianna in Robin Hood Prince of Thieves is great. I seem to remember that she has an altar, upturned crosses and bones about the place and thinks too much of a reading she has made that foretells her death at the hands of ‘the painted man’, (why don’t they just say tattooed?) Morgan Freeman.

She is nasty, ugly, totally potty and actually a bit scary. More please!



Myca, from The Crow (the 1994 film starring Brandon Lee) doesn’t declare herself as a witch but I think we all know that she has to be one – there’s the unusual name, black clothing (though not much of it), her painted body (tattoos some might call them), the wonderful mix of evil, beauty, sex appeal and pottiness, and the black bird is a bit of a giveaway too.

Myca is also smart and her cunning is the most frightening thing about her (at last the audience can get excited about the possibility of a sensible plan to kill off the hero). She realises that the way to defeat the already dead (but not dead enough) Eric Draven (Brandon Lee) is to use the crow which somehow represents his spirit. Hmmm, already it is sounding a bit complicated and yes, the plan backfires eventually.

I really would like some bad witches like Myca to succeed more often and Myca should come back as she at least felt dangerous.

Jadis, The White Witch


In The Lion, The Witch and The Wardrobe (one of my favourite childhood books) Jadis has gained power over Narnia and has brought a one hundred year long winter (I still spend too much time wondering what everyone eats: do they ship it in from warmer climes? Have they a big store from summery days?…)

Still, Jadis is frightening and bucks the black trend beautifully. It’s interesting how easy it is to assume she’s nice (and one can sympathise with Edmund for falling for her lies); it would be so obvious she was bad if she wore black. She is evil and cruel yet pushing the addictive Turkish Delight onto Edmund does seem terribly English and a little tame (though hints at food being shipped in from the Med., which puts my mind at rest a little).


Dolores Umbridge


Now we’re talking. Of course I could write pages about the numerous witches in Harry Potter books/films, and certainly choosing between Dolores and Bellatrix Lestrange is difficult. But Dolores is unusual for a witch, yes she is cruel and vindictive, she tortures children scarring their hands with a pen that cuts into their skin as it writes, and yes she will resort to the Cruciatus curse, but she also keeps cats, wears pink and speaks in a particularly irritatingly-cutesy voice.

Anyone who demonstrates so clearly that pink is evil wins my vote.

My Gifts For Nathan!

Thanks to those of you who tweeted their ideas for gifts to give Nathan on his birthday.

Photos of his loved ones/family seems the popular choice and I think is perfect for Nathan.

These are the three things I would have given him if I’d performed his Giving ceremony:-

–  a leaf (as a reminder of Annalise – more of this in Half Wild!)

–  photo of Cora and Marcus (it would be pretty hard to get my hands on this, but as I’m the author I’m sure I could think of a way)

–  silver knife (as a reminder of Gabriel)


Gifts for Nathan!

It’s Nathan’s birthday on the 21st June.

For a whet (a young witch) to become a full, adult witch they go through a Giving ceremony on their 17th Birthday. The Giver gives the whet three gifts, whispers a spell and the whet must drink the blood of his/her parents or grandparents.

But what 3 gifts would you give Nathan?

I’ve come up with a long list of possibilities, but haven’t decided yet which ones I would give him. The gifts don’t need to be valuable or even sentimental: a flower, a stone or a feather might be appropriate for Nathan.

Here’s my list to select from:-

– a silver bracelet (a manly one!)

– a sheepskin

– a leaf

– a piece of Welsh slate

– a photograph of Arran, Deborah and Gran

– a photograph of Annalise

– a photograph of his mother, Cora, and his father, Marcus


Or maybe I should give him something practical:-

– a new pair of boots (or would this count as two things? – I wouldn’t want to risk messing up the Giving)

– socks

– pants

– jeans

– shirt

– belt

– penknife

– torch

– anger management lessons

– driving lessons (he is 17)

– blood donor card (now he has turned 17)


What would you give? Have you any better suggestions?It’s Nathan’s birthday on 21st June – I’ll reveal my choices after his birthday.