Madison Avery is seventeen years old and dead, after the Dark Timekeeper killed her on her Prom Night to keep her from taking his place. When Early to Death, Early to Rise by Kim Harrison, the sequel to Once Dead, Twice Shy, picks up, Madison has accepted the job of Dark Timekeeper, even though she doesn't believe in fate which is what the dark side is responsible for, as opposed to the light side which upholds human choice. Initially, Madison agreed to do the job so she could maintain the illusion of a human body, just until she could find her real body and regain her human life. Like the first book, this one takes place almost entirely over twenty four hours, during which Madison goes on an adventure to help prove that it is possible to stop a person from doing evil, by letting them know what the consequences of their actions will be, and therefore eliminating the need to kill them prematurely in order to save their soul- something that dark reapers have been doing for millennia.
On her journey to save a soul without taking a life, Madison has some help in the form of Dark Reaper Nakita and Light Reaper gone rogue Barnabas. In order to complete her mission, Madison won't only have to figure out who exactly the mark (or intended target of the reap) is, but also prevent Ron, the Light Timekeeper from putting a guardian angel on the mark before she saves his soul. All of this, and she's somehow supposed to keep up a normal teenage life too? It's a good thing Madison doesn't need to sleep anymore.
Even though I had a lot of issues with the Madison Avery series, I decided to give it another try when I discovered Early to Death, Early to Rise was also available on audiobook as it is just the kind of light read I enjoy listening to when I am also doing something else. Although I honestly don't think the novel would have kept my attention if it had been my sole focus, I did enjoy Mandy Siegfried as the returning narrator who has a cheerful and youthful voice. The book itself has similar issues to Once Dead, Twice Shy, notably the annoying fake swearing and repeated reference to Madison's purple tipped hair, but I found myself better able to enjoy it because I was already introduced to the complex world and had to spend less time figuring out who was who and what exactly was going on. I also thought the storyline in this novel was a bit better and the plot itself had a better pace than the first one, although I could predict the plot "twist" as soon as the characters were introduced.
The novel is an extremely clean read when it comes to swearing, violence and sex, with the most scandalous parts including a chaste kiss and Madison being embarrassed when her shirt is ripped, so I think it is a book I'd be more likely to recommend to a younger audience interested in the paranormal genre. Overall, Early to Death, Early to Rise is a cute but not entirely memorable little book with an enjoyable narrator and a premise best suited to a young teen audience.
Release Date: May 11th, 2010
Pages: 240 (5 h 55 min)
Source: Audio book
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