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The Unleashing

Call of Crows, Book 1
Narrated by: Johanna Parker
Length: 11 hrs and 28 mins
4 out of 5 stars (1,407 ratings)

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How steamy is it? Hot Damn

Publisher's Summary

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 have seen 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 LA, 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.

©2015 Shelly Laurenston (P)2015 Tantor

What members say

Average Customer Ratings

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Performance

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  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars

Pretty good start to the series :D

3.5-4 stars

This was a pretty good story. I liked Kera and Vig very much and the story was pretty good. The writing reminds me of Laurenston's Pride series so if you like that you'll probably like this.

Kera is an ex-Marine that started managing a coffee shop once she left the service. She didn't know what to do with her life but she did end up adopting a stray (and abused) dog, Brody, who she loves. When Kera tried to help someone she ended up getting killed and offered a choice by Skuld (a goddess) to have a second life as one of her warriors. Kera agrees on the condition that she can keep Brody.

Vig is a Raven, one of a group of warriors in service to Odin. He's also a very skilled weaponsmith. Vig happened into Kera's coffee shop one day and fell in love with her. He started going back every morning (even though it's way out of his way) to get coffee and bear claws from Kera's shop so he can see her. Vig happens to be near when Kera's attacked and gets there as she's dying. He called on Skuld, hoping that she'd see Kera as worthy.

Obviously, Skuld did see Kera and worthy and made her a Crow. The Crows are warrior women in service to Skuld. They have retractable wings and claws, accelerated healing and some extra gifts (depending on the person). Kera kind of gets thrown in the deep end as soon as she wakes up into her new life. TBH, the other Crows aren't exactly helpful and some even hinder Kera's acclimation to her new life. This is pretty bad when it's Kera's "mentor" who won't explain anything and acts like Kera was put there to make her life miserable. On the whole, the Crows didn't make me real happy mostly for their treatment of Kera. Thankfully, Vig is able to smooth Kera's transition somewhat.

Vig is a very sought after weapons maker and the Crows all get their weapons from him. When Kera is taken to get her weapons she's happy to see Vig because she remembers that he was the one that brought Skuld to save her. Since Vig never got up the nerve to ask her out (or even really talk to her past placing his order) Kera kind of had the wrong impression of him (much to Vig's chagrin). It's okay though because once she gets to know more about Vig, Kera is interested in getting to know him better. He helps her settle into her new life and is such a sweety. I mean Vig is a big, bad viking that scares the hell out of most people but he's this big teddy bear with Kera and he just really, really wants her to like him in return. Kera isn't blind to this and things progress well between them. I think Kera and Vig (both separate and together) were my favorite parts of the story. The plot was pretty good but there were a couple points that didn't work for me. While the action plot isn't concluded at the end of the story, the relationship between Kera and Vig ends with them together and moving towards a HEA together.

This was a pretty enjoyable story. I really liked Kera and Vig (and Brody..loved her transformation). While the secondary characters grew on me, at first they were...well abrasive. This isn't necessarily an unusual trait in Laurenston's writing but in this story it sometimes felt a bit OTT. It did settle down though and people started working together later but it a bit jarring (and annoying). Overall, the story was pretty good...it was a close call but I believe it deserves the 4 stars. I do plan to continue with the series when the next book comes out. :D

23 of 24 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    3 out of 5 stars

Too Violent for this Reader

While I generally enjoy Shelly Laurenston books -- she is more than capable with characterization and using her words and grammar and creating scenes you can 'see' -- this series is just too violent for me. The characters are sociopathic in their ability to switch from ripping someone to pieces with as much pain as possible and then chatting about their daily lives and how much they like dogs. I'm not making judgments, other than for myself. And yes, a couple of the characters have their humanity intact.

Other than this tendency for many of the characters to disregard others' suffering (see the above comment about scenes the reader can 'see'), I think this series is better-written than some of her others. She does a terrific job of keeping her characters true to themselves as established, rather than having them act randomly to drive the story. (I really need this in a book.)

The narrator is, as always, splendid. The male characters sound like men -- maybe not with depth of voice but with tone and, for lack of a better word, attitude. That is in part the author's doing, but to me, some narrators can make men just seem manly... sorry, cannot explain it better.

So, your mileage may vary. I am in favor of all kinds of books, even those I do not choose to read. Unless this type of thing may be trigger for you, you might want to give it a try.

20 of 23 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars

Wicked - when's the next one???

Great story involving previously murdered women brought back as a Nordic hit squad. When a former Marine used to discipline winds up with a group of totally undisciplined females, she finds it more than unnerving. Then there's the killing for reasons she can't fathom - it's all too much! To top it off she finds out her dog now has wings and a metal muzzle. There is also a trip to Valhalla, a quiet Viking, finding Freya's lost necklace whilst trying to stop an ancient evil from causing havoc.


Yet another great story from Shelley Laurenston and an awesome narrator who throws in the right amount of sarcasm and whining when required. Can't wait for book 2.

14 of 17 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Taylor
  • SHELBYVILLE, IN, United States
  • 05-05-15

Pretty great

It's hilarious. It's so clearly written for a teen audience, but that's what makes it great. It's not overly serious. It has a semi predictable story line (then again, I'm really good at guessing story lines) but that's also like a part of what makes it so good. It's a typical teen romance fantasy novel and if you're into that (like me) then this is great for you.

9 of 11 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars

I love Shelly Laurenston!

What did you love best about The Unleashing?

This is a new series from one of my favourite authors. I have read/listened to EVERYTHING she has written( both as Laurenston and Aiken)- many times over and this story will be no different. I love the Viking mythology that is incorporated into the story. The Crows and the Ravens are awesomely contentious and the different personalities make a ton of friction and interest. I'm trying hard not to do a spoiler. :)

What other book might you compare The Unleashing to and why?

Well, the women in this story are strong, mouthy and battle ready. Like our beloved dragons in G A Aiken and the shifters in Laurenston's Pride/Smith stories. Hmm... other authors....Lorelei James writes strong cowgirls but no shifters, Jeanine Frost writes strong women but with Vampires. There are others, but no one does it like Shelly Laurenston.

Which scene was your favorite?

When Kera took the hammer from the old Raven in Asgard, and after he watched her systematically kill a Frost Giant with it- he told Vig 'good luck with that'. ;)

Was this a book you wanted to listen to all in one sitting?

Yes! But I had to go to work! So it took about three sittings. But I'm doing it again this weekend. I can tell that this will be a book I will listen to at least twice more this year.

9 of 11 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    3 out of 5 stars
  • GEL
  • COLLINSVILLE, OK, United States
  • 05-25-17

Disappointing storyline

I really struggled to stay with this story. As always Johanna Parker was pretty fun to listen to but the story simply failed to deliver. I didn't find any if the characters particularly compelling and a out halfway through the book extraneous characters that really had nothing to do w the story kept appearing.

I also found the constant tough girl attitude and bickering amongst characters tiring...it got very repetitive.

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    2 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    3 out of 5 stars

No development

Any additional comments?

I really tried. This could have been really good, but the story never really seemed to develop. I like stories to be vast like an ocean, or at least a lake. This book was more like a puddle. It skimmed the surface of the characters and the romance. There was just no development of anything. By the end of the book, I had no investment in any of the characters or the story. Also, the narrator added nothing to the story and her constant intake of breath was super distracting. Her accents are awful, and all the voices sound the same (annoying).

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Bonnie
  • Bellmore, NY, United States
  • 05-17-15

Surprised and delighted on this one

What did you love best about The Unleashing?

It was a combination of weird Norse myths, and sick humor. It switched back and forth and kept you on the edge not knowing what will happen next. If nothing else it was very different than many paranormal stories and had me enjoying to the very end

What did you like best about this story?

The different characters and how they interact, and learn to interact with each other.....it's not easy but it is amusing

Which scene was your favorite?

When Kera's dog get's revenge on her abusers.......

Was this a book you wanted to listen to all in one sitting?

Yes, it kept moving with lots of action.

Any additional comments?

I've been trying to lay off series but since this first book was so enjoyable for me, if the next book doesn't take forever to come out and if the same narrator Johanna Parker does it I think I will most likely get it.

5 of 6 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    1 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    1 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    2 out of 5 stars

Oh god the narrator. ..

The narrator was so horrid that I didn't even make it 30 minutes in. EVERYTHING sounded breathy. Here's a tip: no female Marine I've met has ever sounded that breathy and girly. There is no confidence, surety, or danger in the voice. Stop breathing from your chest, take a breath from your diaphragm and and drop your jaw when you speak. If you are sitting while narrating this, get your behind up so that we can have some feel of a strong female lead. I can't believe I wasted money on this. I'll buy the book again in Kindle format maybe because the writing seemed promising. Maybe.

15 of 21 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    1 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars

narrator sucks, books is good

narrator has a voice that causes anxiety. I dont know how I made it through before. I went to relisten to it and just couldn't do it. just read it.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful