Review: The Unleashing by Shelly Laurenston

unleashingReviewed by Carrie

I was looking for something a bit lighter with, hopefully, a bit of humor. This is the first book in a new PNR series based on Norse mythology. I’ve been looking for Norse-type books since I’m addicted to the TV series, Vikings.   I’ve enjoyed a few of Laurenston’s Dragon Kin books so when a trusted fellow blogger posted her glowing review, I went ahead and one-clicked. I am so glad I did!

Kera Watson, a former Marine, was still trying to assimilate into the civilian world after her time in the military.  She was just pulling herself out of a dark hole: befriending and adopting an abused dog, working at a local coffee shop and trying to help fellow vets, such as the troubled one at the coffee shop. Her destiny had other plans for her.  While going out in an alley to throw out trash, she comes upon a violent altercation. Trying to play peacemaker only earns Kera a knife in her chest.

Kera slowly comes to with vague recollections of her coffee shop vet calling on an old woman to save her. Consciousness slowly seeps in and Kera remembers agreeing to be given a second chance at life by becoming a Crow in service to the Norse goddess, Skuld (as long as her dog can come along for the ride).  Kera finds herself smack dab in Crow central, The Bird House, with her fellow Crow sisters and a heck of a learning curve to catch up on.  Second-life is moving at warp speed and Kera’s mind is spinning to catch up when she spies the troubled vet from the coffee house. It turns out the man is not actually a vet but a Raven and a big, strong, not-troubled Viking warrior.

Ludvid “Vig” Rundstrom has been half in love with Kera for some time and was just working up the nerve to ask her out when she was killed.  Now that she is a Crow, Vig begins to court her in earnest while showing Kera the ropes to her new life.  In the midst of their budding romance, an evil is trying to push through to their world and the Ravens and Crows have to come together to keep balance in their world.

This story was a bit light on the romance but I enjoyed it all the same.  Vig was a gentle giant just pining away for his dream coffee girl.  Kera really didn’t make him work too hard. I really enjoyed when they worked together fighting a common enemy

As a series start, the reader is given a ton of information about the world.  Although it wasn’t all thrown out at once, it was a teeny bit difficult keeping straight all the clans, lines and people – certainly not enough to detract from the story.  The Crows were a bunch of snarky, violent, crazy group of ladies that were reminiscent of Kresley Cole’s IAD Valkyries and were such fun to read.  Vig’s Raven buddies were equally as fun, giving Vig grief over his infatuation with Kera. I can’t wait to get to know the other clans.

The pacing suffered a little from stops and starts but once the action got going, the pages flew.  I think the author did a great job with world building (Vikings, Valkyries and Witches, oh my!) and setting up multiple arcs for the series. If you are looking for a fun new PNR series, I wouldn’t hesitate to recommend.

Rating: B+

*ARC Provided by Kensington

Click to purchase: Amazon

The Unleashing
by Shelly Laurenston
Release Date: March 31, 2015
Publisher: Kensington

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