Wednesday, March 9, 2016

Audiobook Review: The Unleashing by Shelly Laurenson

The Unleashing 
by Shelly Laurenston
Series:  Call of Crows #1
Pub. Date:  March 31, 2015
Publisher:  Tantor Audio
Narrator:  Johanna Parker
Length:  10 hrs 28 min
Format:  Audiobook
Source:  Audible

My Rating:  
Sultry Scale:


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. 

I am a huge fan of G.A. Aiken's dragons... but I sometimes forget that she also writes under Shelly Laurenston. This is the first Laurenston book that I am reading... and the writing style seems a bit different, if that makes sense.

First let me start out by saying that I listened to this book in audio. If you follow my reviews, you know I do a lot of audiobooks while I am getting ready for work, driving, cooking, cleaning, etc. I love audiobooks. But this is not a book that I recommend in the audio format. There were SO many points of view - seriously - like twenty. Most of the time I didn't know who was talking or being referred to. Have you ever listened to a book and you felt more like you were listening to a movie? That is how I felt. Don't get me wrong, I liked the story. I think it would even make a good movie. But I can't tell you much about what happened. Actually, I can say what happened, but not necessarily tell you who did what.

See, there are these Crows, they are women who have been given a second chance at life by the Norse goddess Skuld. The Crows are the harbingers of death and are sent in to kill things. They stick together and are generally kickass chicks. They were also pretty funny as you can imagine a group of crazy killing women could be. The focus of the book was more on Kera, a new crow and former marine. She has a sweet and ferocious rescued pit bull sidekick. But I would say that just as much of the book was dedicated to the other Crows, hence the many many points of view.

In addition to the crows, there are ravens, valkyries, giant killers, and a host of other things from Norse ancestry (and yes, you get their POVs also). All the groups kind of have a love-hate relationship. They seem to be fighting on the same side, but they also have a lot of fights between clans. Each clan belongs to a different Norse god. The ravens and valkyries owe allegiance to Odin. I think Freya has a clan, but I am not sure who her people are.

So Kera ends up in a quick and dirty relationship with a raven, Ludvig ("Vig"), who most people seem to be scared of. I liked the relationship between these two. Vig has had a crush on Kera since before she died... and she thought he was a schizophrenic vet with head trauma. Vig seems to have a little trouble with women, which was quite endearing. For everyone to think he is so scary and ferocious, he was a big teddy bear with Kera.

About half the story is dedicated to Kera being initiated into her new life as a crow in the midst of a big dangerous plot. Maybe about 10% of the book was romance, there was much less focus on romance than the rest of the story, but there was enough in there so that this was not just straight action/supernatural thriller. The other 40% of the story was dedicated to the aforementioned big dangerous plot. Things are being stolen from other clans, and the Crows are being blamed because of their reputation as scavengers. So the Crows have to discover what is going on while carrying out the missions for Skuld. I don't want to say more about the dangerous plot because its really something you are unraveling as you listen/read and I don't want to spoil anything.

I feel like this may be the most confusing review that I have ever written. I think that accurately reflects my state of mind as I was trying to listen and decipher what was going on. I do find it a little odd that I enjoyed the story so much even though I didn't know what was happening sometimes. I wish it would have been a little more cohesive, with fewer points of view. I am hoping that if I read the next book, some of the confusion will be cleared up.

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