74. Once Dead, Twice Shy

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

Pages: 232
Ages: 14+
Finished: Apr. 5, 2009
First Published: May 26, 2009
Genre: YA, paranormal
Rating: 5/5

Reason for Reading: Received through Harper Collins First Look Program.

First sentence:

Everyone does it. Dies, I mean.

Comments: Madison dies on prom night with her date holding her hand. Not as romantic as it sounds though. As he's only her date because their dad's set it up for them and she's not really dead as she was scythed by a dark reaper and managed to steal his amulet in the morgue when he came to claim her soul, thus she claimed his powers. Now she's been taken in by the light reapers and being taught there way while living on earth, as a dead girl, having several people's memories of that fateful night erased, but when the truth of whose stone she really carries comes out she is left alone at home with a guardian angel to look after her. Of course, this is exactly when the enemy strikes but instead of going for her they go for someone close to her and Madison must spill the truth of her death to a living person and that person soon becomes the only one whom she can only trust as light and dark and fate and choice battle it out with each other.

A fabulous book! What a whirlwind read from start to finish. The two main character's Madison and her friend, Josh are wonderful, well-rounded teens who at first seem stereotyped. Josh being a gorgeous, jock with an attitude and Madison a goth girl who tries to be as weird as possible but we soon see this is not so as we learn their many layers to discover that looks are often deceiving. Fabulous plot! I just love angel stories, but only when they are actually heaven sent angels. And while not harped upon it is mentioned these angels do come from heaven and that's enough for me. The story contains two factions, both originating from the same place, one dark and one light and each containing angels, reapers, and timekeepers. From above they can visit the higher beings, seraphs, or call upon lower beings, guardian angels, in this case a cute little cherub named Grace with a real fun sense of keeping her protectorates from harm. One night while looking after Josh she makes his little brother stub his toe every time he swears making a restless night for everyone!

I hate to admit this is my very first Kim Harrison book but I thought it would be a great place to start and I was right as it has me anxiously awaiting the next in this series and even more eager to read her adult books. This is her first book for YAs.

One thing bothers me about the book and that actually has nothing to do with the writing but the cover. Which I will say that I do love, but after reading the book you will know that Madison's hair style is referred to over and over again. It really takes on a point of symbolism in the story and the girl's hair style on the cover is so not the one in the book. Really, what's up with that?

Not to end on a negative note for such a great book, one thing I especially liked and am often particular about in serial books is that the book did have a complete and final ending. One could read this book and happily not need to continue on, but on the other hand it does end so obviously as really just the beginning of a whole new story. Everything has changed so much since the beginning, one can only wonder what life will be like for the main characters and the newly befriended ones now. Great stuff, bring on book #2!!


  1. This might not be a bad book for me. I will have to add it to the list!

  2. Kim Harrison is a really great author but I haven't tried this yet. Love her work though so I'm looking forward to reading this one!

  3. I am hoping this doesn't take too long to come out in paperback so I can get a copy. I have only read one Kim Harrison book before and I really enjoed it.

  4. Wait, I am blog friends with LadyTink and yet she has NOT read Kim Harrison yet?! Gasp! I'll have to rethink this friendship now. ;)

    I am looking forward to this book so much. Reading your review is just making me want it more. Thank you!

  5. I hadn't realized this was out already! Thanks for the heads-up. I'm pleased to hear you liked it - makes me even more excited to read it. :-)

  6. Darla - Not out yet, not until May 26. Hang in there, one more month to go! I was fortunate to get an arc.

  7. Oh, I can wait - the good thing is that as soon as it's on order at my library, I can place a hold on it. Which I did, thanks to your ARC review - which put me near the top of the list! :-) In the meantime I have a gazillion books checked out to make my way through....


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