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Crimson Romance
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Tuesday, September 7, 2010

Once Dead, Twice Shy, Madison Avery Series, Book 1 by Kim Harrison

Publisher:  Harper Teen / Imprint of Harper Collins
Pages:  240

From the Cover:  
My name is Madison Avery, and I'm here to tell you that there's more out there than you can see, hear, or touch. Because I'm there. Seeing it. Touching it. Living it.
Madison's prom was killer—literally. For some reason she's been targeted by a dark reaper—yeah, that kind of reaper—intent on getting rid of her, body and soul. But before the reaper could finish the job, Madison was able to snag his strange, glowing amulet and get away. 

Now she's stuck on Earth—dead but not gone. Somehow the amulet gives her the illusion of a body, allowing her to toe the line between life and death. She still doesn't know why the dark reaper is after her, but she's not about to just sit around and let fate take its course. 

With a little ingenuity, some light-bending, and the help of a light reaper (one of the good guys! Maybe . . . ), her cute crush, and oh yeah, her guardian angel, Madison's ready to take control of her own destiny once and for all, before it takes control of her

Well, if she believed in that stuff. 

Madison Avery is your normal rebellious teen.  Her mother, fed up, sends her to be with her father.  Three Rivers is nothing like the Florida Keys.  Not that she's complaining or maybe she is.  She's had to leave everyone and everything behind, and junior prom was a killer.  Now, she exists in the happy state of almost alive and almost dead.  Wearing the amulet of her killer, she's been given the illusion of a body.  Barnabus, the light reaper who was supposed to save her is now assigned to her like homework, and none he's happy to have to do.  The dark reapers are looking for her, hoping to send her soul where is belongs, away from the living.  And wouldn't you know it, now that she's met the Dim Reaper and life continues through his amulet, she meets Josh, someone she really like to have as a boyfriend, if the whole being reaped wasn't an issue.

Once Dead, Twice Shy by Kim Harrison is the first full length novel of the Madison Avery Series.  The novella, Madison Avery and the Dim Reaper from the Prom Nights From Hell Anthology is the prequel to this novel, filling the readers in how just how Madison ends up somewhere not quite alive and not quite dead either.  Her soul has been taken from it's body, but with the help of her killer's amulet, her life continues with the illusion of her body for the world to see, touch, feel.  The trouble is that all is not what is appears to be and everyone isn't who they appear to be either, and for that matter, who she can trust.  Prom was an awful disaster, ending with the morgue and then alive again.  High school sucks, she's known as Mad-Madison Avery, spread of course by her once prom date/fixer upper, which sucks all by it's self, (who wants to be 'fixed up' on a date by your dad?).  As Madison learns more about light reapers and dark reapers, timekeepers, and seraphs, maybe all that she thought she knew isn't right.  Dark may be good, and the light, who knows?  And only time will reveal the truth, and it's in very short supply.

Once Dead, Twice Shy was a quick read, full of twisting and turning, and just when you think you've got it all figured out, bam, you're wrong.  I've seen mixed reviews, some love it, and some hate it.  The librarian at our local library told me 'she just couldn't get in to it', but I had no trouble at all.  It gives us a tale chocked full of the 'what ifs', what if your life ended tomorrow, and what if you got a weird second chance.  What if you thought your mission was to be a good guy, and what if you found out you might be wrong.  All kinds of 'what ifs' are contained in this book, and even some answers.  It's the perpetual struggle of good versus evil, right versus might.  There's a little teen angst and romance, some teen whining, but I hear that everyday, and it rings true to the situation, because no matter what, life isn't fair.  I enjoyed this preteen to teenage age paranormal/urban fantasy.  And I think most that fall within the age range will as well.  After reading the novella in Prom Night From Hell, I was looking forward to seeing how Madison's story would fall into place, where was going since leaving the morgue.  I wasn't disappointed.  I'm looking forward to reading Book 2,  Early to Death, Early to Rise (May 25, 2010).  I wonder where Ms. Harrison will lead Madison next?

From the Cover:  
Seventeen, dead, and in charge of heaven's dark angels—all itching to kill someone.
Madison Avery's dreams of ever fitting in at her new school died when she did. Especially since she was able to maintain the illusion of a body, deal with a pesky guardian angel, and oh yeah, bring the reaper who killed her to his untimely end. Not exactly in-crowd material. It's amazing that her crush, Josh, doesn't think she's totally nuts. 

Now Madison has learned that she's the dark timekeeper, in charge of angels who follow the murky guidelines of fate. Never one to abide by the rules, she decides it's time for a major change to the system. With the help of some unlikely allies, Madison forms a rogue group of reapers who definitely don't adhere to the rules of the heavens. 

But as she grapples with the terrifying new skills that come with being a timekeeper, Madison realizes she may not be prepared for what lies ahead—unless she gets some seriously divine intervention.

 I picked this book up for my own enjoyment.  The opinions expressed are my own.


Ellz said...

Great review. I love KHarrison's Hollows series, so I am surprized I haven't read this yet. Maybe it is the mixed reviews. Your review made me want to pick it up. Thanks.

Unknown said...

Hi Elie!

I love the Hollows series! Especially Kisten, I fell in love with him, sexy bad boy vampire.

After reading Prom Nights, I had to see where the rest of the story, and I have to say, I really enjoyed it. But, there are lots of reviews where the story didn't appeal. I wonder if they were looking for something similar to the Hollows though? It's not about witches, vampires, and other magical critters, and it's definitely YA.

Thanks for stopping by!

Dottie :)

Blodeuedd said...

I must say that this book does sound really cool. I am intrigued.
Great review Dottie

~Sia McKye~ said...

Like the cover model. Interesting premise. I honestly don't read many teen stories or if I do they're sci-fi. My son love sci fi and fantasy.

Unknown said...

Hi B!

The genre of pararomance/urban fantasy in YA is really opening up. I glad to see more authors taking a wild leap in the imagination and giving it a try. It's been fun reading this new direction for some of my favorite authors.

Dottie :)

Unknown said...

Hi Sia!

Well, this one is definitely fantasy, but it would be a big stretch to say scifi, but it does bend science a little, so maybe, lol!

I too like the model for this series, kind of teen sophisticate meets urban goth.

Dottie :)

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