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Monday, March 30, 2015

Double Book Review: The Unleashing (Call of Crows #1) by Shelly Laurenston

The Unleashing (Call of Crows #1)
by Shelly Laurenston

Paperback, 400 pages
March 31st 2015
by Kensington

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.

Katie's Review
First of all, this cover is smoking hot! I love the sexy dude and the birds crowding around in the background. It grabs the eye and makes my mouth water!

Once I dived into this new tale of lore and fantasy, I found it a little difficult to follow each character point of view, since there are a bunch of other characters that jump in and take over for portions. With a new world being built I can understand how the author wanted to really branch out and show the diversity. However, this pulled me away from the main story and the couple who we're supposed to be falling for.

This then leads me to have little or no investment in the main pair, which was sad since I really wanted to dig in with my vampy claws! Sadly, the meaty parts of their interactions and dialog are overshadowed by everything else going on. The world itself is vibrant and rife with tons of colorful characters, but you get a taste test of each one. Not a full meal with dessert of one or two points of view.

I liked a lot about this story, but the harshness of the gals toward one another became trying at times. The jumping all over the story map left me confused and disoriented. I had to go back in pages often to see if I missed parts, the story moves quickly to the next scene.

Overall the fantasy elements are all here, the pieces of puzzle are almost haphazardly thrown around. However, how they are collected and placed on the paranormal board going forward will determine if this new saga will really take off.

Getting 3 Sheep

Adria's Review
Shelly Laurenston launches a new series with The Unleashing that combines the laugh out loud humor that she’s known for with a fun story inspired by Norse mythology!

Former Marine Kera Watson never thought her life would end in the back of a coffee shop. Alone and beyond pissed, the last person she expected to show up in her last moments was her favorite customer, Ludvig Rundstrom.

Vig knows someone who can save Kera but he’s not sure if she’ll be grateful or ticked off, yet he doesn’t want to let go of her. Now that she’s a Crow, he’ll have to try extra hard to get and keep her because competing with Kera’s new sister-Crows for attention is going to take a whole new set of skills.

To be clear, The Unleashing is NOT a continuation of an earlier book called Hunting Season. It is a brand new, separate book, new characters, new storyline, everything, and in my opinion, this one just kills it!

The Unleashing follows Kera’s difficult but often funny transition from mortal woman to Crow, leaving nothing out, including her first flight lesson with her Crow sisters, which is hilarious by the way. Laurenston explains to readers old and new the legends surrounding the Crows, Ravens, Protectors and What is the other clan?.

While there were plenty of laughs to be had in this book, there were also tough emotional situations for Kera and her new sisters. As tough as Kera was as a mortal and a Marine, it didn’t completely transfer over to her new life as a Crow. She was vulnerable and at times defenseless which gave her new depth. I loved that side of her just as much as I loved the ball busting, foul mouthed side. Her love and loyalty to her dog Brodie was icing on the cake too. Also, major points to Laurenston for making Brodie a pit bull with her own tragic past. That added a different kind of emotion all together, especially since Brodie is the first pet the Crows have ever had and they take to her so well it’s cute!

Vig was more of a background hero than one of the main players, The Unleashing is Kera’s story after all and that was just fine with me. Kera needed plenty of time to transition into her life as a Crow and while she and Vig did fall in love, their romance wasn’t the main thing in the story and it totally worked fine with me! He wasn’t an over the top macho Raven warrior, but was he a take no crap guy? Yeah, but when it came to Kera, he stepped back to let her find her place in her own clan, he didn’t offer advice or demand she do things a certain way, he was supportive and to me that just made him such a stud muffin. He was that confident that Kera would become one of the strongest Crows known on her own. That’s just sexy.

Aside from a stud muffin and adorable dog, I felt like I was really being given a real look at the lives of the Crows and just what it meant to be one of them. They’re warriors but they’re also snarky, bitchy, dramatic women who will tear each other’s hair out over something as simple as a missing Danish yet if someone messes with one of them, ALL of them will step in to rip apart the offender. They’re wild and they’re nuts and guess what? They’re just my kind of gals!

Kera’s journey started off as a quest to adjust to being a Crow but there’s a bigger story being developed here and The Unleashing did an excellent job of setting up what might end up being a major battle for Crows, Ravens and every other clan available. The book resolves Kera’s journey and her romance with Vig but it barely begins with the bigger story that I’m sure will fuel upcoming books in the series.

The Unleashing was way more than I thought it would be. Of course it had the typical Shelly Laurenston gut busting humor that only a sarcastic reader will appreciate but it also had a solid background, likable characters and a hot romance. What more could I have asked for? I mean, aside from the next book in my hands ASAP?

4 ½ sheep

About the Author:
Originally from Long Island, New York, New York Times and USA Today bestselling author Shelly Laurenston has resigned herself to West Coast living which involves healthy food, mostly sunny days, and lots of guys not wearing shirts when they really should be. Shelly Laurenston is also The New York Times and USA Today Bestselling author G.A. Aiken, creator of the Dragon Kin series. For more info on G.A.’s dangerously and arrogantly sexy dragons, check out her website at

1 comment:

  1. I'm trying to read this one now and the lack of the main couple was a bummer for me. I'm still hoping the book will pick up at some point :)