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Early to Death, Early to Rise (Madison Avery, Book 2) by Kim Harrison
Cover Artist: Gustavo Marx / MergeLeft Reps, Inc.
Review by Gayle Surrette
HarperCollins Hardcover  ISBN/ITEM#: 9780061718175
Date: 01 June 2010 List Price $16.99 Amazon US / Amazon UK / Show Official Info /

As if being dead wasn't bad enough, Madison is the Dark Timekeeper in charge of the reapers who kill humans that are fated to go bad before they can soil their souls. She's also getting ready to start a new school year. To top it all off she's being watched by the seraphs because, Madison doesn't believe in fate and thinks people should be given a chance to redeem themselves, only that's the bailiwick of the Light Timekeepers. She's got to find a way to make it work while avoiding the Light Timekeeper and getting decent grades so her parents don't flip and, oh yeah, find her body which is hidden somewhere between then and now. Not a bad job description for a seventeen-year-old.

Madison still doesn't know what her powers are or where the limits of what she can do as a Dark Timekeeper. It hasn't been very long since she was killed (Once Dead, Twice Shy) and she has Barnabus, a Light Reaper who has aligned himself with Madison, and Nikita, a Dark Reaper, who Madison has to convince that her plan to give humans choice has merit. The only human in the know about Madison's new state is her boyfriend Josh who is willing to help in any way he can.

On the first day of school, Madison gets notice that someone is going to be reaped and she needs to get there first. Josh gets to cover for her at school while she and the two reapers try to identify the human and get him to choose good over evil.

This book takes us a bit deeper into the problems of fate and choice. In many ways the Light Timekeeper with his take on choice is really perpetuating evil while the Dark Timekeeper with fate sees to it that all souls are saved. Which is the correct way? Is there a correct way? Should anyone be reaped before their time? There's a lot of philosophical topics to think about however, it doesn't bog down the story but it does make you stop and think a bit about what's happening.

You'd think, since our major character is dead, that the books would be dark and somber, but instead there is a lot of hope, humor, and life as Madison adjusts to her new status and the reapers who follow her learn that maybe things can be different as they also share in a new connection with humanity.

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