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Once Dead, Twice Shy Library Binding – May 20 2009


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Product Details

  • Library Binding: 240 pages
  • Publisher: HarperCollins Canada / Other (May 20 2009)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0061718203
  • ISBN-13: 978-0061718205
  • Product Dimensions: 2.5 x 14.5 x 20.8 cm
  • Shipping Weight: 340 g
  • Average Customer Review: 3.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (4 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #3,108,111 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)


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Customer Reviews

3.8 out of 5 stars
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Most helpful customer reviews

Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
I like the spin Ms Harrison has taken with her angels and their interaction with the human world. Madison strikes me as a more two dimensional version of Rachel from The Hallows novels. I don't dislike the character but the thought of her being trapped at 17 (emotionally) is not that appealing but maybe to to a teen reader, I think it would appeal.
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By Megan on Nov. 8 2012
Format: Paperback
Overall, this one was disappointing for me. I hadn't heard anything about this book and just picked it up on a book-buying spree, so I'm not sure what I was expecting. There was nothing terrible about this one, but at the same time, there was nothing that stood out in a good way. The entire thing was underwhelming.

Madison Avery is dead. But in reality, that doesn't mean much to the reader, just that she can't remove her amulet. I had no connection at all with Madison. She was meant to be spunky and care-free, despite being dead, but none of it rang true for me. I found the supporting characters to be just as lack-luster. Josh, the potential love interest, could have had the whole tortured-popular-jock-with-a-sensitive-side thing going, but it didn't happen for me. Also, I thought it was totally unrealistic how quickly he bought into Madison's story. I would have been having multiple major freak outs! Barnabas, a light reaper, could have been so swoon-worthy, but he also fell flat for me. No spark; nothing to make me care one way or the other.

The plot also felt a bit convenient. The way the author arranged to have Madison and Josh be on their own for so long, it just felt too easy somehow. I know it was meant to be twisty at the end, but I think my lack of interest in the characters made the twists less impressive.

Another thing that drove me crazy was the really bizarre euphemisms Harrison used to avoid putting swearing in the book. Seriously? Puppy presents on the rug? What 17-year-old says that? Maybe my high school was just ghetto, but I remember there being tons of swearing in the halls etc. But no puppy presents. I would have found it much less distracting if Madison could have just said crap or something normal.
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Format: Hardcover
Madison's dead. Well, sort of.

See, there was this dark reaper who scythed her, for reasons she still hasn't figured out, and technically she should be long gone. But when he came back to destroy her soul as well as her body, she was able to steal an amulet from him that's allowed her to keep walking around and breathing (even though she doesn't really need to), and appearing alive to anyone who doesn't know any better.

Unfortunately, the owner of that amulet wants it back - badly. And the light reaper assigned to help Madison adjust to her new pseudo-life may not be able to protect her from him.

As Madison struggles to hold onto her life and to save those she cares about who end up targeted as well, she discovers there's a whole lot about this life and death thing she doesn't know, and uncovering those secrets may be the only way she can hope to survive.

ONCE DEAD, TWICE SHY is a fast-paced and engaging read from start to finish. Madison makes an enjoyable narrator, stubborn and sarcastic but with a lot of heart, and enough smarts to get her through some very sticky situations. Harrison has created a fascinating and unique world of reapers and other afterlife figures, though at times readers may find all the information a little hard to follow.

With plenty of suspense and humor and a little romance, this book will appeal to paranormal fans of all ages.

Reviewed by: Lynn Crow
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By Nicola Manning-Mansfield HALL OF FAMETOP 50 REVIEWER on April 7 2009
Format: Hardcover
Madison dies on prom night with her date holding her hand. Not as romantic as it sounds though. As he's only her date because their dad's set it up for them and she's not really dead as she was scythed by a dark reaper and managed to steal his amulet in the morgue when he came to claim her soul, thus she claimed his powers. Now she's been taken in by the light reapers and being taught there way while living on earth, as a dead girl, having several people's memories of that fateful night erased, but when the truth of whose stone she really carries comes out she is left alone at home with a guardian angel to look after her. Of course, this is exactly when the enemy strikes but instead of going for her they go for someone close to her and Madison must spill the truth of her death to a living person and that person soon becomes the only one whom she can only trust as light and dark and fate and choice battle it out with each other.

A fabulous book! What a whirlwind read from start to finish. The two main character's Madison and her friend, Josh are wonderful, well-rounded teens who at first seem stereotyped. Josh being a gorgeous, jock with an attitude and Madison a goth girl who tries to be as weird as possible but we soon see this is not so as we learn their many layers to discover that looks are often deceiving. Fabulous plot! I just love angel stories, but only when they are actually heaven sent angels. And while not harped upon it is mentioned these angels do come from heaven and that's enough for me. The story contains two factions, both originating from the same place, one dark and one light and each containing angels, reapers, and timekeepers.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)

Amazon.com: 91 reviews
43 of 46 people found the following review helpful
Young Adult Urban Fantasy - but good. May 27 2009
By J. Hulet - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Hardcover
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.
12 of 13 people found the following review helpful
Courtesy of Teens Read Too May 29 2009
By TeensReadToo - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Hardcover
Madison's dead. Well, sort of.

See, there was this dark reaper who scythed her, for reasons she still hasn't figured out, and technically she should be long gone. But when he came back to destroy her soul as well as her body, she was able to steal an amulet from him that's allowed her to keep walking around and breathing (even though she doesn't really need to), and appearing alive to anyone who doesn't know any better.

Unfortunately, the owner of that amulet wants it back - badly. And the light reaper assigned to help Madison adjust to her new pseudo-life may not be able to protect her from him.

As Madison struggles to hold onto her life and to save those she cares about who end up targeted as well, she discovers there's a whole lot about this life and death thing she doesn't know, and uncovering those secrets may be the only way she can hope to survive.

ONCE DEAD, TWICE SHY is a fast-paced and engaging read from start to finish. Madison makes an enjoyable narrator, stubborn and sarcastic but with a lot of heart, and enough smarts to get her through some very sticky situations. Harrison has created a fascinating and unique world of reapers and other afterlife figures, though at times readers may find all the information a little hard to follow.

With plenty of suspense and humor and a little romance, this book will appeal to paranormal fans of all ages.

Reviewed by: Lynn Crow
14 of 16 people found the following review helpful
Target Audience is 14 year old girls June 17 2009
By Judah - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Hardcover
Normally I don't read YA, but I do read Kim Harrison. Love her Hollows series.

Barely made it past the first four chapters, especially because the story starts in media res (in the middle of things). Madison spends the first few chapters more worried about what people think of her and her social status than focusing on the weird yet important stuff. I really hate dumb and shallow heroines, but Madison finally realizes she might die again if she doesn't figure out something with the supernatural stuff she's got.

The last half of the book is good Harrison without too much teenage baggage.

What really drops the book down to three stars is authority issues. Madison is 17. At that age you're more worried about birth control, as opposed to being grounded because your Dad comes home at 6pm and you have a boy over un-supervised. At 17 you don't have a 10pm curfew, and you are allowed to date. This makes sense only if the target audience is younger than 17, and you are writing for them.

So might be great book for young adults, but as an adult who likes Kim Harrison, I wish she'd written a more interesting, more wise heroine.
14 of 17 people found the following review helpful
Loving it! May 26 2009
By brookereviews - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Hardcover
If you want some background story to Once Dead, Twice Shy (Madison Avery, Book 1) you should read Kim Harrison's short story in Prom Nights from Hell anthology!

A Blurb:

Madison Avery is dead. After running away from her prom date with a strange guy she's never met before, they get in a car accident. This does not kill her. The guy's (a Dark Reaper) sword stabbing her does. She doesn't know why he came to kill her, but she knows that by stealing his amulet she is able to keep her soul in her body and continue living life normally, or as normal as possible when you're a dead teenager. Now she is constantly under the watchful eyes of Barnabas, a Light Reaper, and Grace, her new Guardian Angel. While trying to learn to read auras and thoughts, Madison is trying to keep up the facade of a normal life at home with her dad, and her relationship with Josh (her prom date).

Since I assure you I could not go into the depths needed to describe Light Reapers, Dark Reapers, and Time Keepers and have it make any sort of sense, I send you to here to get a Librarian's perspective! [...]

The Thoughts:

I love Madison. She's a super spunky girl trying to get used to being dead. Something we all can relate to right? Once Dead, Twice Shy (Madison Avery, Book 1) is not a book to read super fast, because you need to be able to understand what you're reading. You have to pay attention to the world Kim Harrison has created, so you won't be sitting there scratching your head going "Duh, what just happened?" I thoroughly enjoyed this book, the characters are great, especially the addition of Grace the Guardian Angel! She's a smarty pants, and she reminds me a lot of Jenks from KH's Hollow Series. The world created is just like ours, but with this huge secret that (most) mortals don't know about. Mainly because the Reapers and Time Keepers can wipe the minds of humans and make them forget everything. Once Dead, Twice Shy (Madison Avery, Book 1) is a unique and exciting addition to the Young Adult Paranormal world!

I'm excited to see the journey this series will take us on, and I hope that it is just as successful as The Hollows Series. Fans of Harrison's Hollows Series will surely enjoy this YA series, and it's worth checking out just to prove me right or wrong though!
4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
A fascinating new world with great potential, but not without issues July 6 2009
By Amanda - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Hardcover
Kim Harrison, best known for her Rachel Morgan fantasy series, jumps into the growing paranormal teen genre with Once Dead, Twice Shy, her first entry in her new Madison Avery series.

Just after bad-girl Madison Avery was killed in a car accident following her junior prom, she was able to snatch an amulet from one of the infamous "dark reapers" who was attempting to kill her and take her soul. Thanks to the power of the amulet, Madison didn't die -- well, not exactly. Madison becomes stuck between life and death and must become one of the deadly reapers. She soon discovers that this is more of a curse than a blessing when she is thrown into an age-old war between good and evil. Just as Madison is learning to balance her new responsibilities as a reaper with light reaper Barnabas, the reaper whose amulet she stole comes to claim it. Madison must then team up with Barnabas to learn the ropes of her strange new profession, fight off the evil dark reapers after her amulet, and unravel the mysteries behind her unprecedented abilities and connections to the powerful talisman.

Though Harrison has a popular following in the adult paranormal romance arena thanks to her best-selling Hallows series, she seems have a little trouble moving into the teen/YA universe. This book is just about as confusing as it sounds. While the concept is very interesting and original, it simply is not presented very well. Even though Once Dead, Twice Shy is the first book in a series, it feels like the reader is expected to immediately understand the mechanics and vocabulary of the world. There were so many times that I found myself staring at the pages and wondering what on earth was happening. This book is actually my first exposure to Kim Harrison, and I found it to be somewhat disappointing.

Despite these shortcomings, the book wasn't a complete waste. The characters are fun, particularly the rebellious Madison, who has a strong edge and feisty personality. The world is very unique and filled with potential for great story. Even though this novel is short, at times it feels likes it takes forever to get anywhere and it lacks an adequate foundation to figure out just what is going on. Once I just gave up on that and just went along with the story, it became much more enjoyable. If readers stick with the book long enough, they are treated to an intense, compelling ending that points to even better stories in future installments.

While Once Dead, Twice Shy has its issues, it has a fascinating, unique urban world that has great potential for future stories. This novel is perfect for young girls (generally around age 14) who enjoy paranormal-style novels and spunky heroines, but some older audiences, particularly the target audience for the Rachel Morgan series, may have problems with it.

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