Friday, September 29, 2017

[Jen's Review]: "The Undoing"

The Undoing by Shelly Laurenston
Publisher: Kensington (March 29, 2016)
Series: Call of the Crows, 2
Genre: Paranormal Romance

A risk worth taking… 

No one would ever accuse Jace Berisha of having an easy life—considering her husband…you know…killed her. But that was then! Now she fights for mighty Viking gods with the spectacular and vicious Crows.

But things are turning very bad, very quickly because a vengeful, ancient goddess has come into the world with just one thing on her mind—ending it. And the only way they can hope to stop her is if the Crows join forces with their one-time enemies, the Protectors. A Viking Clan created to do nothing but kill every Crow they see.

Thankfully, Protector Ski Eriksen is a peace loving kind of guy. Because the woman he is desperately trying to get close to is the beautiful and not-very-chatty Jace. Battling Nordic clans? Unkillable goddesses? Jace’s mean-spirited dog? None of these things would ever get in the way of a true Viking! 

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Jen's Review:

The Undoing has been hiding out on my Kindle for a year! It’s only when I spent some time analyzing my own book buying habits (have I mentioned the spreadsheet?!) that I remembered this book. I spent $6 on this book and hadn’t read it? I needed to fix that ASAP. It also helped that I’ve been feeling under the weather, and when I’m feeling sick, I like to read PRN. All those vampires and werewolves jumping up and continuing to fight evil even after being stabbed, shot, bewitched, or whatever---it just makes me feel like I can get over my sore throat!

This is the second in the Call of Crows series, and I’d recommend you read the first book. These books are not stand-alone, because there’s just too much backstory you’d be missing. Basically, the Crows are women who are murder victims, and literally in their last gasp of life they are given a chance to come back as warriors for a Norse god. In fact, there’s 9 clans of fighters trying to keep the Earth safe. In this installment, Jace is the Crows’ berserker---when her temper finally snaps during a fight, she will literally destroy everything in her path. Her love interest, Ski Erikson, is from one of the rival clans, the Protectors. They’re kind of like owls and apparently he can turn his head like 270 degrees, which, for me at least, also ratched his sexiness level down 270 degrees. But Jace is fine with it, so we’ll move along.

I loved that this book was funny. The humor is all about how people interact with each other. The Crows are noisy, loud, and boisterous and shout things like, “I will tear your heart out through your pussy” to their enemies. It sounds threatening, I know, but it’s just silly and fun. Even the Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse are shocked at the rude language and over the top behavior of the Crows. However, even though Jace loves her Crow sisters, she spends a lot of time hiding out from them for peace and quiet. She loves hanging out with the Protectors because they’re so quiet and chill and they just love books. In fact, the way that everyone in The Undoing loves books is just charming. As it turns out, you can be kick-ass at fighting and also love being in your library. For a story with this much bloodshed, it’s honestly adorable.

By far, the best thing about this book was the relationship between the Crows. These women love each other so fiercely. Shelley Laurenston makes a point of creating a realistic multi-cultural cast of characters---it's Los Angeles! That shouldn’t feel like something to be grateful for!---but I noticed and it was important to me. The Crows fight for each other and their common cause, and although they aren’t all the same, they are ONE when they need to be. Even better, they continue to grow and develop as characters. In this book, we get to see Kera from The Unleashing learn to trust herself and become an even more powerful Crow. I especially enjoyed the scenes that further developed her relationship with Vig. Of course as the main character, Jace is the primary focus. She doesn’t see how her own personal strength helps her sisterhood until this book. She learns to control her powers and face her difficult past, including showdowns with the women from her first life that loved or betrayed her. I loved the Crows and am absolutely sure I would be scared as hell to hang out with them.

So here’s the weird thing. I’d have a hard time really recommending this *as a romance*. Jace and Ski do get together, but it never seemed like the main point of the book. Ski is charming and observant, so he’s able to figure out Jace’s hangups and knows he just needs to be straightforward with her. There’s almost no tension in their relationship. I knew exactly what would happen: they’d get together, the sex would be hot, they’d fight along with the clans to vanquish the evil trying to enter the world. And that’s exactly what happened.

Do I think this is a fun, worthwhile read? Absolutely. But just know going in that the romance is a subplot in service to a bigger story about the Crows and the other Clans trying to prevent Ragnorak---which isn’t just a Marvel movie coming out this fall, but also the Norse mythology version of Apocalypse. Everyone's wanting to burn down the fucking world. 2017 is so weird.


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Jen bought this book.

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Thanks for the review, Jen! I had many of the same thoughts on this one when I read it a few months ago. I do enjoy this series and Laurenston's books in general but they're often a bit lite on the actual romance part of the story. Still, they are always fun and kickass and follow an interesting world!

Have you read Shelly Laurenston? Do you have a favorite from her?


Until Next Time,

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