Monday, March 20, 2017

ARC Review: The Unyielding by Shelly Laurenston

Series:     Call of Crows #3
Pub. Date:March 28, 2017
Length:400 pages

The Crows are back for the third installment of the series, and I think this is my favorite thus far. This series is action-packed and full of Norse Gods and their minions that kind of protect humans, but not really. These crazy warriors are all about the glory of battle, and are somewhat single-minded in that focus. They are mostly violent vikings who like to fight, fly, screw and eat. The minions are split into clans based on the god they serve... the Crows serving Skuld and the Ravens serving Odin. The Norse Gods don't feature overmuch in the series, but seem to pop in and cause trouble from time to time.

The heroine of this installment is my favorite female character of the series - Erin Amsell. After Erin was shot in the head by a mobster, Skuld offered her a second life full of fighting and vengeance where she would never have to run away again. It's too bad Skuld couldn't say that Erin would never get shot in the head again - because that seems to happen annoyingly often. Erin is a petite curvy spitfire, with fiery red hair to match. She is a sarcastic smartass to the extreme and just loves to get under people's skin. Combining this with her apparent lack of fear has caused most people to brand her as totally insane. I couldn't get enough of her. She cracked me up to no end - I loved her crazy zany smartass antics.

By chance, Erin is paired up with Stieg Engstrom, the angriest Viking ever. Stieg is a Raven, and their clan is only slightly less-hated than the Crows. This particular viking is always grumpy, but hilariously so. Most of his brothers and the Crows view him as "that poor boy" due to his difficult childhood, but it doesn't seem to bother him and he uses it to his advantage at times. He also has an odd soft spot for animals, and is currently hosting a pet goat in his apartment. It was so easy for Erin to ruffle his feathers, and I loved their banter and fighting. 

This series does have a continuing story arc, so I recommend you read the books in order. In this installment, the clans are trying to find a way to kill the goddess Gullveig for good. But when it all comes down to Erin being the only option for the quest, they all think they are doomed. Erin takes it all in stride, much like everything else - and just wants to GET ON WITH IT ALREADY. Her never-ending lack of energy and ADHD tendencies were endearing and funny, and her love for being a viking just added to that. 

This series is told from multiple POVs, so I recommend reading it instead of listening in audio. I did the first book in audio and was easily confused as to who was doing what... but it's much easier to comprehend when reading. There are times that things are bouncing around so fast that you will miss something if you blink... but I found it easier to gloss over those areas in print. I basically didn't want anything to slow my reading momentum as I enjoy the fast pace. This is a story that is somewhat shallow - don't expect a ton of character development or depth - they are here purely for our entertainment. And what grand entertainment they are.

This book ended up being just what I needed - an abundance of action and humor to keep me entertained. The humor reminded me of some of the dragon books that this author writes under the G.A. Aiken pen name, and I hope this series continues for a while into the future.

I voluntarily reviewed an advanced copy of this book that I received from the publisher, Kensington.

Call of Crows