The Unleashing by Shelly Laurenston

UnleashingTitle:  The Unleashing
Author:  Shelly Laurenston
Series:  Call of Crows Book 1
Publish Date:  March 31, 2015
Publisher: Kensington Publishing
Genre: Paranormal Romance
Perspective: Third Person, Multiple Perspective

Publisher’s Description:  Kera Watson never expected to face death behind a Los Angeles coffee shop. Not after surviving two tours lugging an M16 around the Middle East. If it wasn’t for her hot Viking customer showing up too late to help, nobody would even see her die.

In uncountable years of service to the Allfather Odin, Ludvig “Vig” Rundstrom has never seen anyone kick ass with quite as much style as Kera. He knows one way to save her life—but she might not like it. Signing up with the Crows will get Kera a new set of battle buddies: cackling, gossiping, squabbling, party-hearty women. With wings. So not the Marines.

But Vig can’t give up on someone as special as Kera. With a storm of oh-crap magic speeding straight for L.A., survival will depend on combining their strengths: Kera’s discipline, Vig’s loyalty… and the Crows’ sheer love of battle. Boy, are they in trouble.

A preview copy of this book was provided by the publisher via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.

Nervous Nellie’s nervousness necessitates knowledge of the novel (in other words, SPOILERS!).

Nell 100Hey, ‘Vana! I finished the Unleashing! It was a good story! It was different than what I normally go for, but it was good. Did you read it?

ivana 100Yeah, I did.  It’s different than what I usually read, too.  The pit bull, Brodie Hawaii, is my favorite character.  Who did you like?

Brodie Hawaii stole the show.  I liked Kera, the protagonist, because she kept her morality when all her peers seemed to lose theirs. I also liked that it took her a couple of times to grasp her new life. What’d you think of the story?

Mainly, I thought there wasn’t enough of it.  There was too much focus on the “sorority house” and not enough on the plot of the bad guys, not enough on the mythology, not enough on the danger they are supposed to be fighting.  I feel like this was one of those books that couldn’t decide if it was serious or fluff.

Nell 100I can see from where you are coming.  I guess I liked the story and the characters.  It was not a deep story, that I will grant you.  I think it was more cheese popcorn, but I really did like it.  It didn’t make me feel out of control and it didn’t dwell on Kera’s death.  It was a quick start and hopped right into the plot, but I appreciate that sometimes.  I don’t like it when an author spins one book into a series.  Now the next story can move deeper into Kera’s world and deeper plots.  I looked up the author and she is fairly well known for her romances, so I’m sure she’s trying to keep the two genre supporters happy.  Was there any parts of the book that you liked better than the others?

ivana 100Yes.  I liked “The Revenge of Brodie Hawaii” for the sheer bloody justice of it.  I thought the flashback scene with the First Crow was the best writing in the whole book.  I’m pretty upset about the cover, though.

Nell 100The cover? The cover upset you? What’s wrong with the cover? I always use the cover to gauge whether I want to read a book, but I really can’t say I was upset by one. What’d it do to you? Steal your ice cream?

ivana 100No, but that man has NO Norse heritage in him at all.  He’s dark, for goodness sake!  Not blonde, no beard, and no tattoos.  And the story is about Kera.  Why is there a guy on the cover?

Well, now that you brought my attention to the cover, I have to admit *groan* that you are right.  I don’t remember any guy that looked like that in the story.  The only thing that has got anything to do with the story are the birds in the background.  I know covers sell books, but shouldn’t they at least have something to do with the story?

Nervous Nellie says…

Main characters:  ♥♥♥♥ Kera Watson is a very genuine person.  She is a Marine veteran and a strong woman.  She has seen war and suffered PTSD.  She is experienced and smart.  Ludvig is cute.  He is a huge, smitten, giant of a man that falls in love with Kera at a coffee shop.  He’s the one to introduce her to the Crow world. Brodie Hawaii is my favorite character in the whole book — love her.  She came from abuse and becomes the best friend anyone could hope for.  Also, the replacement choppers are to die for!

Other characters: ♥♥♥♥ I didn’t like the other Crows at first.  Snotty Jr. High girls.  I know it’s tough being the outsider coming into an already forged group.  Trying to find your niche is really hard sometimes and the other Crows don’t seem to give Kera any slack at all.  They don’t teach her, help her, listen to her or even sympathize with her.

World:  ♥♥♥♥ The world is interesting.  I got a trip to Asgard out of the book and got to meet Odin.  I got to see Valkyries, Vikings and Norse Gods.  It is really fun to dive into.

Story: ♥♥♥♥  Ludvig is smitten with Kera and saves her life by bringing her to a whole new life.  Kera struggles with her identity, where she belongs.  She was once a Marine and in a time of crisis, you go back to what you know.  The other Crows don’t like her ideas or her schedules.  She tries to help and is rebuffed.  As the story goes on, the other Crows begin to see Kera’s worth and so do a lot of others.  The mystery is good.  The Norse Mythology is fun.

Overall: ♥♥♥♥ I enjoyed the book very much.  It is a very fast read and I reached the “Point of NO Return” early on in the book.  (“Point of NO Return” is when you know you can’t stop even though it’s bedtime.)  I liked the storyline, the characters and there were some sex scenes, so I think I could label this a paranormal romance.  It did have blood, gore, and killings but it also had puppies.  Best of both worlds.

Invested Ivana says…

What I Liked:  The first chapter shows us Kera’s death, rebirth, and incredible strength as she defends herself from an invasion of Giants.  This chapter comprises the Kindle preview, and based on this chapter, I decided to purchase the book.  I love that Kera’s pit bull, Brodie Hawaii, also becomes a Crow — complete with wings and battle armor — and takes her bloody revenge on the evil men that abused her as part of a pit bull fighting ring.  And I really love the flashback to the First Crow; this scene gave me the best sense of the mythology in the book.

What I Didn’t Like: Pretty much everything else. This book just isn’t my cup of tea.  What I consider the story — the actions of the Mara to bring forth Gullveig — was such a minor part of the book.  The rest of the book was filled with bitchy and shallow sister Crows; a too-quickly-formed romance; and eye-rolling sex scenes.  There were a LOT of characters introduced in this book.  The narrator makes it more confusing by inconsistently referring to characters by either their first, last, or nicknames. We get some character POVs that don’t really seem to add to the story.  The dialog gets really preachy in spots, too, particularly around the areas of veteran welfare.  As much as I like the idea of bloody justice, I’m not sure I’m completely comfortable with a storyline that encourages a character to develop TOWARD unquestioning killing.  While the story relied on Norse mythology, I didn’t feel like the reader got to learn much about it.  A lot of character and place names are thrown around, but nothing was really explained and the god-like Crows are reduced to a collection of badly-behaved sorority girls.  I think I’ll stick with Kevin Hearn and the Iron Druid Chronicles for my Norse mythology. ♥ ♥

More Reviews:

If You Like This Book……

I think you would like Thea Harrison’s Elder Races, Chloe Neill’s Chicagoland Vampires or Patricia Briggs Alpha & Omega series.

A preview copy of this book was provided by the publisher via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.

About Nervous Nell Justice

I read, read and then read. I love my life as a reviewer because I get to meet some awesome people who love books too. It's a fantastic world to live in!My favorite genres: Urban Fantasy, Regency Romance, Paranormal Romance, Paranormal Thrillers, Paranormal Mysteries, Vampire Romance, Historical, Contemporary or Futuristic Mysteries and Thrillers, Steampunk Fantasy and Mysteries, Police Procedurals and Political Thrillers.

Posted on April 8, 2015, in All Reviews, Ivana's Reviews, Nell's Reviews and tagged , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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