A lot or a little?
The parents' guide to what's in this book.
What parents need to know
Parents need to know that this is pretty mild for a young adult novel -- a bit of moderate cursing, some mild fantasy violence, and a car accident in which the main character is (sort of) killed. Some parents who have firm religious ideas about the afterlife may find this offensive.
What's the story?
Madison was killed in a car wreck caused by an anti-free-will dark reaper who wanted to prevent something in her future. But \ before she died she grabbed his amulet, which allows her to continue as \ if she is living but draws the wrath of the reaper and his minions who \ want to complete her death and get back the amulet. Protected by a \ Guardian Angel and the light reaper, she struggles to survive and to \ learn to control the amulet. But there's more going on here than any \ of them realize, and Madison may have a role to play in the politics \ of the afterlife.
Is it any good?
Author Kim Harrison has a talent for keeping the action flying along without resorting to the kind of grim and gruesome violence typical of teen urban fantasies. She does this with a light touch, original ideas, a complex plot with an even more complex back story, and nearly nonstop action and suspense. In between readers will find a delightfully snarky Guardian Angel, a mix of high school and afterlife politics, and some interesting ideas about the nature of life, death, and reality.
This is another example of a book betrayed by its cover. The picture shows a heavily made-up platinum blonde girl, with an ornate title on a pink background. Take the paper cover off and you find a pink wing embossed on the hardcover. It practically screams, "This book is just for girls!" But the story itself would be enjoyable for anyone who likes a light and exciting fantasy, with plenty of humor and action. It's a shame that probably only half of its potential audience will ever open it up to see what's inside.
Talk to your kids about ...
Families can talk about the afterlife. Major religions and many stories, including this one, present ideas about the afterlife. What do you think of this one?
Is it anything like others you have heard or read about?
Is it anything like the way you think it will be? Is there any way to know?
The idea of hierarchies of higher and lower beings is not new -- why is that idea so common?
For kids who love thrills
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Common Sense Media's unbiased ratings are created by expert reviewers and aren't influenced by the product's creators or by any of our funders, affiliates, or partners.