The Unleashing by Shelly Laurenston
My rating: 4 of 5 stars
This was a group read for the Dangerous Hero Addict Support Group, and I'm glad it got voted for. It gave me that push to read Shelly Laurenston. I've heard from many that she's a good author, and I actually have most of her Dragon books written under G.A. Aiken, but I just hadn't gotten around to reading her books written under this name.
One thing that one needs to understand about this book is that it's very heroine and women-bonding centered. Kera is a woman who needed strong bonds with women who had her back and who accepted her no matter what, and she found that with the Crows. At the same time, it's a romance, but the romance doesn't really develop until maybe 70 or so pages into the novel. Having said that, I found this very enjoyable. It's really funny and every character is a real 'character'. There's even a dog that manages to steal some scenes.
I liked Vig, a lot. He's a dangerous hero, but in a cuddly kind of way (when he's not in battle mode and ripping people's arms off.) He's very supportive to Kera, and I'd call him the perfect boyfriend. I would say the cover is highly misleading. I tried not to be embarrassed about it when I'd have it at work and my coworkers saw it. Vig has a big beard and lots of hair. He's not a clean-shaven male model type. I guess the publishers didn't think people would go for a cover with Vig as he looks in the book. It seems to me that having big beards is very much in vogue, so I'd find that intriguing if the cover actually reflected that (not that like facial hair, because I don't). I like that Vig was comfortable with himself and thus with Kera as she was. I think that's so crucial in a relationship that people accept you as you are. They want the best for you, but they aren't constantly trying to change you. The romance worked for me because it was built on mutual like and respect, as well as passion and strong emotion.
This book is pretty violent, with descriptive action scenes. It wasn't over the top, and after reading Matt Reilly this past month, it seemed kind of mild, to be honest. The story is about a violent subculture of fighters for the Norse gods who go all out. I wasn't surprised for it to be violent with that expectation. The story itself is intriguing and makes me want to keep reading this series.
So I really liked this one. I liked Kera a lot. She was a real person and I appreciated her strengths and weaknesses. She was very caring, but tough as well. I loved the multicultural feel to this book. There are people of just about every race and ethnicity. And considering this is based on Norse mythology, it was cool that Laurenston was able to achieve this. I also loved how the Crows are all strong women but not all cut from the same mode. I love when the diversity of strong women is presented instead of making it seem like all women have to be the same to be strong and confident.
There was a lot to appreciate about this book. Four well earned stars.
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