06 July 2011

Once Dead, Twice Shy by Kim Harrison

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.

I'd started this book once and had dropped it, whether it was due to boredom or time constraint or whatever, I had dropped it.  I'm really sorry I did.  Even though I have a sort of phobia of short books, Once Dead, Twice Shy was a testament to ingenuity and skill.

Kim Harrison's skill for titles aside, her main character, Madison, was awesome.
  Besides my short-book-phobia, I also have a phobia for weak, fluffy main characters.  Madison didn't trip any wires.  Her originality and spunkiness (though apparently she doesn't like that term) was refreshing.  I do wish her character was given a bit more room to breathe, though, because the book was so short.  Her character really could have stretched over 350 pages or more.  She was funny, wimpy when called for, not a pushover but not a unbelievable ninja either.  I'm thinking of stealing her skull earrings and purple shoes.

Romance along is a sticky subject and being dead doesn't help matters much.  So when Stupid Cupid comes along, I was holding my breath for Madison's sake (since she didn't actually have to breathe).
  The love interest turned out to be a cool dude.  Thank God.  At least he didn't dismiss her as a freak when she turned "invisible" and didn't mumble and bumble when he should've been defending her.  So, to the love interest, kudos.  I do wish the romance could have been expanded, though.  I mean…c'mon.  There were grounds for some hard core romancing in here…But Kim Harrison kept it real.  Kudos to her, too.

As for the world, it was genius.  I'd almost started to lose faith in the hopes for a refreshing angel read, but this brought hope back.  I love how there's this introduced of "timekeepers" and "seraphs".  And it wasn't like Hush, Hush or Fallen where the whole book focuses on the fallen angel/guardian and the human girl.  First of all, Madison's dead.  Kind of puts a kink in the works anyway.  As I read, it was easy to figure out how things worked.  The amulets connected to their swords, etc.  Very clever.

Blonde bubbleheads are the bane of my existence.  Something Madison and I have in common.  Amy was a very convincing small scale enemy.  (Meaning she wasn't the holder of Madison's body.)  I wanted to slap her throughout ever encounter and I applauded Madison's comebacks—though they were unfortunately mostly verbal, not physical.  *sigh*

The writing was simple.  Nothing really complex and worldly about it.  So it fit the story and tone nicely.  It seemed to be meant to be plain and productive.  When the writing and the story fit together, it creates a beautiful experience. 

Gosh darn it I just wish it was longer.  If it were, say, 200 pages thicker, there would be an extra star in my rating.  As it is, it only took me little over half a day to read it.  All that awesome should not be contained in a measly 232 pages!
My short-book-phobia aside, it was a very enjoyable story.  I cannot wait to pick up the sequel.

Book Info:
  • pages – hardcover, 232
  • published – May 2009
  • publisher – HarperCollins
  • genre – urban fantasy > angels
  • received via – library :)
  • rating – 4/5
  • series – Madison Avery trilogy
    • Once Dead, Twice Shy
    • Early to Death, Early to Rise
    • Something Deadly This Way Comes