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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 listeners say about The Unleashing

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  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars
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    2 out of 5 stars
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    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).

13 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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    3 out of 5 stars

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.

9 people found this helpful

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    4 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars
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    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

27 people found this helpful

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    3 out of 5 stars
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    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.

27 people found this helpful

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

the narrator

I was really excited about this audiobook, but i couldn't make it past the first couple chapters because of how horrible the narrator is. She put emphasis on every third word it seemed like, and it was vastly annoying. Im just going to get the print version.

5 people found this helpful

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    2 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars
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    2 out of 5 stars

Even the brilliant narrator can't save this story

What does Johanna Parker bring to the story that you wouldn’t experience if you just read the book?

Johanna Parker is one of the best narrators of fantasy stories of all time, and even she can't save this book.

You didn’t love this book... but did it have any redeeming qualities?

In theory the plot was interesting. This book received some great reviews and I'm a huge fan of urban supernatural and Johanna Parker, so I thought it was a great pick. But once I was only thirty minutes in, I knew I made a mistake. For example, Kera kicks some serious butt in the very beginning, but then all the Crows act totally unimpressed when they return and even tell her she still needs to "prove herself." The entire thing reeks of a Mary Sue.

Any additional comments?

I thought the main character was completely rude in an unnecessary way. Maybe the author was trying to make her "flawed" or "tough," but instead she just looked like a jerk. (Some fantasy authors do the tough and abrasive heroine well, too, so I know it's possible.) Her personality was all over the place... sometimes she was humorously organized, sometimes she was the tough ex-military soldier, sometimes she was the tender-hearted romantic... but instead of making her seem multi-dimensional, it just made her seem schizophrenic. The Crow women were all stereotypes as well, with a single trait hyped up for each of them instead of real, complex depth of character. The dialogue was also forced, despite Johanna Parker's best efforts to save it.

4 people found this helpful

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    2 out of 5 stars
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    3 out of 5 stars
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    2 out of 5 stars

"What's your experience with walking dogs? - Kera

This was such a great concept for a series. The execution was... I feel terrible that I feel this way because I think anyone who able to write and publish a book is well beyond my notebook of ideas and deserves some credit... but this book made me feel like I wasted my money even though I got it for free 😔 This could have been EPIC!

My first reaction (first 5 minutes): This is how good novels start... straight to the action... explain shit later!

My next reaction ( Every minute after that): Who am I reading about again? Why in the heck are there 27 points of views in this book?

This is a Shoulda, Coulda, Woulda book 🤦🏽‍♀️

I feel sad that such an excellent concept for a book took a back seat to a literary version of Reality TV.

A group of deadly female assassins live together and fight against those that threaten the world. The book shoulda had us learn of each woman's background/death as the main character gets to know them. That coulda gave us a chance to get to know and invest in the group and their plight. Then we woulda been attached and understood the purpose of this book and the 1200 characters.

Instead, this book jumps from POVs (point of views) at random points in the story. On top of that, there are no prompts to let you know who is actually thinking when the POV changes. At least twice in the story the POV changes to a character we haven't even been introduced to yet. You just have to figure out who it is when someone calls their name in the story.

The women are presented as whiny, self-observed, petty, heartless, and valley-girl talking dumb dumbs who curse excessively. None of them are likeable including the Main Character.

The main character likes talking down to people about how to walk a dog as though you need a Ph.D.

Imagine being locked in a room with 100 teenage girls with no WiFi and two days until Prom... well this book was like that but times 10.

The narrator had too many characters to work with so she cant be blamed that some of the characters sounded alike.

2 Stars for the concept

2 people found this helpful

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    2 out of 5 stars
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    2 out of 5 stars
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    3 out of 5 stars

Potentially decent story - can't stand the narrato

I think perhaps this would be an ok story to read ... maybe, but I was not hooked after 2.5 hours. The narrator is awful - all her voices sound the same and there are just too many characters for there to be so little distinction. her Normal "narration tone" is fine, but for all the thoughts and dialog she does this throaty raspy voice thing that sounds painful, and she puts a weird emphasis on just about every last/second-to-Last word in a SENTANCE. I tried to IGNORE it, but it kept driving me CRAZY.

2 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    1 out of 5 stars
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    1 out of 5 stars
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    1 out of 5 stars

Horrible narration

Couldn’t listen past 5 minutes. Shame that I will miss this story. Don’t make my mistake.

2 people found this helpful

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    1 out of 5 stars
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    1 out of 5 stars
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    2 out of 5 stars

can't get past the narrator

The story seemed like it might have rated a three, but I couldn't get past the second chapter. The narrator's valley girl intonation for every character sounded whiny to my ear.

2 people found this helpful