STARRED REVIEW
March 31, 2015

Crowing over love

By Shelly Laurenston
The Unleashing is the first novel in Shelly Laurenston’s new supernatural series, The Call of Crows. It’s filled with crass yet clever banter, tons of action and romance, and a pit bull with wings—what's not to like?
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The Unleashing is the first novel in Shelly Laurenston’s new supernatural series, The Call of Crows. It’s filled with crass yet clever banter, tons of action and romance, and a pit bull with wings—what's not to like?

After two tours in Afghanistan, Kera, a Marine, takes a job at a coffee shop to find some peace and quiet. However, her hopes for solace are soon shattered. While attempting to save a woman from being beaten in the alley behind her shop, she is stabbed.

Fortunately for Kera, a very unusual customer finds her. Vig is a member of the Ravens Viking clan and has a connection to the goddess Skuld, so he calls in a supernatural favor. Thanks to Vig, Kera has a shot at a second life, with one caveat: she must agree to fight as a member of the Crows, a Viking clan of women sworn to kill at Skuld's command. Most of Kera’s fellow Crows are on their second life, and they have no interest in manners, convention or boundaries. Common questions amongst them are "What are you?" and "How did you die?” They bicker and sometimes come to blows, but in a pinch, the Crows are completely loyal to each other.

Vig is devoted to Kera as well, and although Kera has a hard time settling into her new life, he provides Kera with a calm, steady foundation during a chaotic time. Crows and Ravens never get along, but Vig and Kera seem to be the exception to that rule. While he is terrifying in battle, Vig is gentle when away from the field. The Raven is no deep thinker, but he has his own kind of intelligence, and he understands Kera like no one else does.

The Unleashing is fast-paced, funny and profane—and it's surprisingly sweet given the considerable amount of violence in the story. The romance between Kera and Vig is both tender and sexy, but the real treasure of the book is Kera's character and her struggles to coexist with her delightfully dysfunctional Crow sisters. Kera's dog, a rescued pit bull, is a fantastic character in his own right and leads to some truly hilarious moments. The book is high on graphic, bloody violence and profane language, so be warned—it's not for the faint of heart. 

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The Unleashing

The Unleashing

By Shelly Laurenston
Kensington
ISBN 9781617735059

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