Early to Death, Early to Rise (2010) is the second Fantasy novel in the Madison Avery series, following Once Dead, Twice Shy. In the previous volume, Seth tried to give Madison a final death, but Nakita intervened and killed the dark timekeeper. A seraph then confirmed that Madison was the new dark timekeeper, but Madison still believes in Choice rather than Fate.
Madison decided to try to talk the marks into saving their souls by changing their ways. The seraphs allowed her to try and gave her Barnabas and Nakita to support the effort. Grace was also assigned to Madison.
In this novel, Madison Avery is dead, but appears alive due to Seth's amulet. Although she is now the dark timekeeper, she knows very little about the role. Her reapers are trying to help her, but Nakita is only sure that Madison is boss. Everything else is subject to debate.
Josh Daniels is the son of a coworker of Madison's father. He had witnessed the death of Madison. His memories of the incident were wiped, but now he remembers again.
Barnabas was a light reaper. He is now a grim reaper, neither dark nor light. He is Madison's principal supporter in the project, but even he is not convinced that intervention will work.
Nakita is a dark reaper. She is still puzzled by the situation, but tries her best. Still, this doesn't mean that she has stopped arguing with Baranbas.
Charon is the light timekeeper. Ron had been Barnabas's boss, but is now just a pain in the neck. He believes in Choice, but tends to lie to Madison and Barnabas.
Grace had been Guardian, Reaper-Augmented Cherub Extinction Security number one-seventy-six -- a first level guardian angel -- before Madison gave her a name. Then she was promoted to messenger and assigned to assist and watch Madison. Grace also issues relevant Limericks now and then.
Mitch (Shoe) is a young man is his last year of high school and is headed to college. He works at a pizza joint and plays with computers in his spare time.
Ace is Shoe's best friend, but recently they have been arguing a lot. He is not going to college and believes that Shoe is leaving him behind. Ace also works at the pizza place.
In this story, Grace has brought Madison word of a cyber prankster who will cause the death of a few people at a local hospital. Madison, Josh, Barnabas and Nakita sneak out of school to hunt the cracker. But Nakita doesn't understand about sneaking. She just walks out toward Josh's pickup.
Naturally, Nakita is spotted and the group is caught. Worse yet, they are caught by a cop. They are escorted back toward the school entrance by the policewoman.
Barnabas tells her to drop back as they are walking. As each one passes the cop, Barnabas wipes her memory of that person. Finally, the policewoman reaches the school with only Josh in tow.
Madison is sorry to leave Josh behind, but somebody has to remain or the memory wipe must be deeper. Besides, Josh has little to add to the cracker hunt. Madison gets a ride with Barnabas and they fly off.
During their flight, Madison has an urge to land at a local mall. As she enters the pizzeria to order a cold drink, she witnesses the firing of two teenage employees. She feels that one of them is the cracker.
The reapers argue over which one is the mark. Madison lets them argue and Grace recites a limerick. Then Madison suggests that they split up -- mostly to separate the reapers --and sends Barnabas after Shoe. Then Madison and Nakita follow Ace.
Madison and Nakita get a ride in Ace's car. Along the way, he tells her something about his life and his relationship to Shoe. Madison confides a little about their mission and Ace is shocked. Then Nakita grabs his shirt and demands that he take them to Shoe's house.
Ace orders them out of the truck. Madison is ready to leave, but Nakita isn't ready to let go. Ace threatens to hit her and Madison drags her out of the vehicle.
Now Madison believes that Shoe is one who will cause the deaths. She tries to use her amulet to contact Barnabas, but also touches Ron and another person. Barnabas reaches the two just before Ron appears.
This tale has Madison spying on Shoe at his computer. Then she does a flash forward and watches the cracker load the virus onto a disk. But the flash forward hurts beautifully.
Nothing goes right, but Madison keeps trying. The next installment is Something Deadly This Way Comes. Read and enjoy!
Highly recommended for Harrison fans and for anyone else who enjoys tales of supernatural magic, the walking dead, and girls making the best of their situation.
-Arthur W. Jordin