Early to Death, Early to Rise

Overall, the second book in the Madison Avery series is entertaining but cliche. Early to Death, Early to Rise by Kim Harrison falls short of divine.

Madison is dead, but her spirit remains fixed on earth by a special amulet. But this amulet comes with a special responsibility: it makes her the Dark Timekeeper. It’s her job to lead a teem of Reapers, or dark angels who scythe the souls of future criminals, saving their souls before they can sully them. But Madison wants to change things, she wants to give these people a choice, a future. She must convince with Barnabas, a former Light Reaper who believes in choice, and Nikita, a former Dark Reaper who believes in Fate, to work together to change a tradition thousands of years old.

Fate vs. Free will. Dark vs. Light. Life vs. Death. None of these themes are original. And author Kim Harrison hasn’t managed to put an interesting twist on these age-old ideas either. Madison’s struggles with her new position, and her attempts to change things keep the plot moving, but not particularly memorable. And the euphemisms she throws around (“son of a puppy,” “puppies from Hades,” “pile of shephard dung,” and even “poppycock”) are just plain silly.

The best parts of the book come when Madison deals with normal teenage issues: a budding romance with hunky Josh, sneaking out of the house without getting caught, and getting upset over her ruined shirt. Her emotions are realistic, and the reader can connect with her because of this.

Early to Death, Early to Rise is one book in the growing pile of young adult fantasy novels that feature angels. Madison Avery doesn’t stand out from the horde of heroines, but her story is entertaining anyways.

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