Kim Harrison's Once Dead Twice Shy

A Review of Once Dead, Twice Shy by Kim Harrison

In Once Dead, Twice Shy, Kim Harrison picks up where she left off at the end of her short story in Prom Nights from Hell about Madison Avery.

In the short story Madison's prom also falls on her birthday. She's 16 at the start of the prom, 17 when it ends. Normally this wouldn't be a problem. But Madison's the new girl in town, and she finds out her date is a pity date - the son of a guy who works with her dad. And even worse, light reapers (sort of like guardian angels) are assigned to people by age, which means both the reaper for 16 year olds and the reaper for 17 year olds thought the other one was watching over Madison.

So now in Once Dead, Twice Shy, four months have passed since Madison's death. She's still the new girl and considered even more of a freak. She can't go anywhere without Barnabas, the light reaper responsible for her untimely demise, and he doesn't seem all that happy about it. And if being dead and trying to figure out how her new life is going to work wasn't enough, Kairos, the guy who's amulet she stole in order to keep her body is supposedly out hunting for her and trying to get the amulet back.

I love Kim Harrison's Hollows Series, but though I enjoyed reading Once Dead, Twice Shy, it just is nowhere near as good as I hoped it would be. Madison's character is cute and spunky, but she lacks the depth to make her feel real to me. She's often petulant and self-absorbed, and at times, she's irritating.

The reapers aren't fully developed, and Josh (Madison's pity prom date) doesn't seem believable. He goes too quickly from jerk to love interest, and there are times when he's just far too accepting of all the weird stuff going on around him.

The plotline is interesting - though most readers will figure out where it's long before Madison. But the uniqueness of the world which Harrison has built is definitely a strong point. She hasn't just copied ideas from Twilight or other paranormal novels, she's created her own world, and it works. I have heard other reviewers say they were confused by the complex world she's created, and I think that may in part be because this novel picks up where the short story left off.

For fans of paranormal YA fiction Once Dead, Twice Shy is still worth reading. But to understand the conflict - the light vs. dark reapers - and Madison's backstory, I'd recommend reading the short story in Prom Nights from Hell first.

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Thanks I enjoyed your review. I think I will be getting this one from the library.. save my book money for something better... :O)

Debbie's World of Books said...

I read the short story in Prom Nights From Hell and enjoyed it. I've held off on Once Dead Twice Shy since the reviews haven't been the greatest but will have to pick it up at some point.

Just Your Typical Book Blog said...

Nice review - I've been wanting to read this one. Some days it doesn't take much to confuse the heck out of me, so I think I'll grab the short story first.