The Unleashing

The Unleashing - Shelly Laurenston I love Shelly Laurenston... but honestly this is a bit of a dud.
Let's take a step back - Hunting Season, a book previously published by Shelly was set in the same Crows/Raven world - it was a great book and several of the characters were kind of paired up - so I was hoping they would feature in future books... unfortunately that is not the case here.
With The Unleashing, we start in a new city - L.A, with a whole new raft of characters and for some reason the author treats us like newbies to this world and dumps information on the reader that we already learnt in Hunting Season (though with little sign of the deft touch she used in that novel) and proceeds to dump a whole lot more info on us about nine other clans, an other groups that kind of didn't sink in because it was too much too soon.
But that was just the starting point with this novel.
- The main character Kera, starts off all kinds of kick ass and we are told her special Crow power is extra strength. Okay, but then Kera quickly becomes this rudderless wishy washy mess, unsure of herself, harping on about her past with the Marines but seemingly unable to move on in this new second life she's been granted. Considering all her training, you'd think she'd pull herself up by her bootstraps and take over the whole damn mess of Crows.
- And the Crows! What a bunch of vapid bitches. They treat Kera so very badly from day one, they refuse to answer her questions or provide her any training, then laugh at her when she throws up after her first flying experience. The Crows declare constantly they are a sisterhood that have each others backs - but honestly they treat Kera 'new girl' like she's the enemy. I'm all for bitches who have your back and would die for you (Hunting Season) but in this book they're more likely to tell Kera her thighs are too big and then ignore her.
- If Kera's power is super strength then why, when she and Erin are fighting, are they so well matched? Doesn't make sense.
- Why do Kera's wings appear only after 2-3 days when it took most of the girl's 6 months or longer - is that an adjustment period it takes to be a Crow? If so, why doesn't Kera get it? And what actually brings her wings out, is it Vig seeing her bare breasts or her flinging herself accidentally out the window? Still confused on this one.
- Vig, the hero. Super large and super scary, but really just a big old marshmallow who follows Kera around like a puppy dog
- Brodie, the dog. Didn't get why this was added at all. Interesting, but adds nothing to the actual story
- Kera hesitating to kill - scared she'll turn out like her crazy mother. Problem is, to get away from her mother Kera joined the Marines, did she not think she might have to kill someone in that line of duty? So the Seer shows her the first Crow/Slave who has no name and this memory somehow gives Kera the fortitude to kill? Ummmm.... really think I missed something.
- Let's get back to the Crows for a moment, in L.A, their all superficial actresses and models, and we're to believe that's what the Goddess Skuld would want for her warriors? Then we meet all these famous dead past Crows... actresses, first lady's, etc This just felt forced and wrong.
- Lastly, too many characters are thrown at us too quickly. We get first names and last names and shortened nick names and the author jumps around those names, tossing them out faster than I can keep up and connect to which person is actually speaking. And because the women are all bitches and the men are all horny there is little to tell me who is speaking, so I had to back tread a couple of times to work out who a character was or who was speaking - never a good sign.
I've loved everything written by Shelly in the past - Shifters/Dragons - but this book - I kind of find it hard to believe the editors or beta readers didn't try to rein this in. It had the bones to be great (Hunting Season proves that) but unfortunately it's a misfire and a bit of a mess.