fantasy book reviews science fiction book reviewsYA fantasy book reviews Kim Harrison Madison Avery Once Dead, Twice ShyOnce Dead, Twice Shy by Kim Harrison

Madison Avery is dead, but that won’t stop her from trying to live a normal life for a high school girl. At Prom, Madison’s willful ways lead to her physical death at the hands of a handsome dark angel. The fact that her strong will gives her a chance to survive beyond death seems only fair. But now she has to figure out how to exist and what the rules are.

Kim Harrison’s Once Dead, Twice Shy is a well-written entry in the ever-growing and ever-popular young adult urban fantasy genre. Harrison, with her The Hollows series, is a force of nature in the urban fantasy market — she’s one of the best — so her foray into YA work is more intriguing than surprising.

The first thing that I liked about Once Dead, Twice Shy is that Harrison didn’t just re-create the Hollows for her new series. In fact, she didn’t even develop an entirely new world where magic, werewolves, and vampires live. This is our world. Kim Harrison used traditional ideas about guardian angels and twisted them a bit. In essence, Madison is caught in an on-going conflict between two different schools of thought about freedom of choice and fate.

Madison and the supporting cast are all interesting characters. I got a bit annoyed with some of them occasionally, but Kim Harrison has always been able to create characters who sometimes annoy me and yet still manage to keep me interested in their stories! I’m an adult male with my own teenage daughter, and while I may not be able to relate completely to Madison Avery, I think that many young readers will.

Harrison doesn’t try to do too much in this first book. She doesn’t have to because the world it’s set in is our own world. That’s welcome because it decreases the amount of information that a reader who is new to urban fantasy will have to absorb. I also want to give Kim Harrison credit for not falling back on her successful characters from the Hollows. While Madison Avery is feisty and tough (like Rachel Morgan), she’s definitely her own character.

And Once Dead, Twice Shy is definitely a good book.

Madison Avery — (2009-2011) Young adult. Publisher: 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 lightreaper (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. Kim Harrison Madison Avery 1. Once Dead, Twice Shy 2. Early to Death, Early to Rise Kim Harrison Madison Avery 1. Once Dead, Twice Shy 2. Early to Death, Early to Rise Kim Harrison Madison Avery 1. Once Dead, Twice Shy 2. Early to Death, Early to Rise 3. Something Deadly This Way Comes


  • John Hulet

    JOHN HULET is a member of the Utah Army National Guard. John’s experiences have often left a great void that has been filled by countless hours spent between the pages of a book lost in the words and images of the authors he admires. During a 12 month tour of Iraq, he spent well over $1000 on books and found sanity in the process. John lives in Utah and works slavishly to prepare soldiers to serve their country with the honor and distinction that Sturm Brightblade or Arithon s’Ffalenn would be proud of. John retired from FanLit in March 2015 after being with us for nearly 8 years. We still hear from him every once in a while.