Once Dead, Twice Shy
Madison Avery Trilogy, Book #1
By Kim Harrison

Review brought to you by OBS staff member Annabell Cadiz


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 was dealt a very harsh breath: she was killed on her seventeenth birthday on her way to prom by a time keeper, a human who is immortal and works for Heaven. Madison is still living in the human world but not exactly alive. She exists in a make shift version of her body thanks to a special amulet she was able to steal from the time keeper when she managed to escape from the morgue where she woke up. Madison is now attempting to learn how to use her new powers as a light reaper. Light reapers protect people from being scythed (having their souls taken from their bodies) and dark reapers are the ones who do the scything (in order to save the soul before it’s lost from the bad decisions people make). Light reapers believe in free will where dark reapers believe in fate. Madison is being trained through Barnabas, a dark reaper angel who decided to go rogue. As Madison tries to find a way to fit in at school but is failing miserably and learning how to master her new gifts, the dark time keeper who had tried to kill her in the first place is after her again. This time around, he not only wants her dead and his amulet back, but is going after Madison’s new crush slash potential boyfriend—that is if she can keep him alive long enough to see where their potential romance can go!

I absolutely LOVED this book!! I had originally read the third one first, not knowing it was the third novel in a series, so it was rather strange to read the first one second but I still had a lot of fun with the story. The characters are very well developed; the plot is suspenseful and full of awesome action, and the humor is spot on!

Madison is a great heroine. She is full of laugh out loud sarcasm, kick butt attitude, and very strong willed. I also loved that Madison had flaws. She follows her emotions sometimes more than logic which gets her in tons of trouble. She also has a tendency to be hard headed. I also really liked that she had moments of vulnerability and fear. She was a heroine who was painted to be perfect or stale. Barnabus is one of my new crushes! He is stop-breathing-clutch-your-heart-stutter-incohernetly-drop-dead-gorgeous! He is wise and caring. But Barnabus is also struggling to understand where he fits in the big scheme of things and whether or not his decision to go against Heaven’s wishes was right. Josh was so handsome and cute in a boy-next-door type of way. He is respectful and sweet as well as funny. Nakita is fierce, beautiful, and tough as steel. I love that the female characters were portrayed with such strength and power! Grace, the guardian angel assigned to Madison, was so funny! I love how she rhymes to make fun of when Madison messes up.

I really had fun reading from Madison’s point of view. She is open with her fears and insecurities. She is also extremely funny! I also like the swords the reapers use. They each have a different colored one based on the color of the amulet. I wish I could have one! I really loved how the book ventured into the subject of fate versus choice. The novel was a new and refreshing way to look at the theme.

The only thing that did seem out of place was the romance between Josh and Madison. Josh seemed to accepting too quickly of what Madison was and the existence of both light and dark reapers. They also seemed to move too quickly into their romance.

But other than that, the book was awesome! The dialogue fits each character’s personality. The pacing fits the action and the scenes flow nicely one into the next. The plot is packed with tons of action and a good amount of romance. The humor was one of the best parts of the book.

If you have yet to become a fan of Madison Avery and her world, you are missing out! A DEFINITE MUST READ!!