Early to Death, Early to Rise (Madison Avery, Book Two)
Reviewed by Marty Shaw for Reader Views (06/10)
The drama and excitement that is Madison Avery’s life (?) continues to unfold in this fun and fast-paced sequel to “Once Dead, Twice Shy.”
Madison, the new dark timekeeper, is trying things her way. Unfortunately for her, she’s the only one happy about it. Fallen angel, Barnabus, has lost his heavenly status because of his commitment to her, but still feels that Madison’s plan will fail. His feelings of doubt are focused on Nakita, a dark reaper who takes her job of saving souls seriously; so seriously that she won’t hesitate to kill someone before they can jeopardize their soul. Ron, the light timekeeper, thinks Madison is fighting a losing battle and remains determined to save souls, regardless of the long-range consequences.
If you haven’t read the first book in the series or if it’s been awhile since reading it, you might want to get acquainted with the characters because this one hits the ground running. A little background information is given as the story progresses but there are still a few gaps left for those new to the series. The action starts on page one and keeps on going until the end.
Madison is lively, funny, and just a bit sarcastic. She’s a girl that feels like she’s way out of her league but still determined to do the best she can. Her attitude has just the right amount of brashness to make her appear daring and brave, without making her look reckless or clueless. Barnabus, the fallen angel turned grim reaper, is a solid character but honestly didn’t seem to contribute too much to the story. He does what needs to be done, yet still seems to remain aloof and distanced from the events unfolding around him. On the other hand, dark reaper, Nakita, is a lively character you can’t help but like. Events from book one have changed the way she sees things, and her adjusting to these changes and struggling with a newfound desire for acceptance makes her vulnerable and charming, but this reaper would probably ‘smite’ anyone who used these descriptions to her face.
A great pace, interesting adventure, and compelling characters make Madison Avery’s life (or death) one worth reading about, and in addition to providing an entertaining read, “Early to Death, Early to Rise” provides good, clean fun. For a story focused on dark reapers, light reapers, and grim reapers, there’s practically no violence to be found, with most of the blood coming from fistfights, and vulgar language isn’t much rougher than “puppy presents on the carpet.” I would have to say it’s probably one the most entertaining and fun books I’ve read in awhile.