A teenage witch persecuted from birth must find his father, the most notoriously evil witch alive, or die.
Nathan Byrn grew up hearing tales of how his father, the famed Black Witch Marcus, murdered his mother’s husband and caused her to commit suicide. By age 11, he’s been designated a Half Code due to his mixed parentage, a status met with fear and disgust by most. Viewed by the Council as both a threat and a key weapon against Marcus, Nathan is caged by his 16th birthday. Nathan knows that as a Black Witch, he’ll die if not given three gifts on his next birthday by a blood relative; Marcus is his only hope. After a palpably grueling ordeal in the cage, Nathan finally, too easily, escapes and resolves to find Marcus. Green propels Nathan forward with the help of often underdeveloped secondary characters, who are overshadowed by the imaginary relationship Nathan builds with his father; it is this that keeps both Nathan and readers going. Readers will hope for Nathan’s sake that the fantasy father he’s built from stories he’s heard and his own imagination won’t let him down. A cliffhanger indicates that the arc of Nathan’s emotional trajectory will continue.
Nathan’s harrowing quest to build a father-son relationship will compel readers to the sequel even if the slim romantic subplot and looming threat of the Council do not. (Fantasy. 12 & up)