Book Review: The Undoing by Shelly Laurenston

Posted November 30, 2016 by Kathy Davie in Book Reviews / 2 Comments

Book Review: The Undoing by Shelly Laurenston

I received this book for free from my own shelves in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

The Undoing Published by Kensington on March 29, 2016
Pages: 400
Format: eBook
Source: my own shelves

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Second in the Call of Crows paranormal romance series revolving primarily around the Crows, women brought back from death by Skuld. Based in Los Angeles, the couple focus is on Jace Berisha, a Crow, and Danski “Ski” Eriksen, a Protector.

My Take

The Crows remind me of a hard-partying sorority house whose inhabitants are lethal in so many ways, most of which will have you rolling in laughter. I did enjoy the story very much…and I gave it a “3” because it doesn’t come up to the same level as The Unleashing, 1. There’s a flatness to the action.

There are two conflicts within the story: her husband’s freedom and Jace’s shyness. And ain’t it just too, too typical that a man gets away with it. Braddock believes that his wife is his property? What is it with any man (or woman) who sees their partner as a thing? It’s that anger of mine that absolutely adores the tragi-comic fury Braddock suffers as his Keystone Kops routine gets screwed up over and over. As for his pride…*snicker*… Nor does this so-not-Christian man redeem himself at the end. An end in which Jace insists he has his uses. Annalisa certainly thinks so…*hee-hee-hee*…

That Rachel sure is a busybody, and it cracked me up how Laurenston uses her to create the kick that forces Jace out into the world.

Ormi and the Protectors seem more low-key and easygoing in The Undoing. It certainly was a kick in the head to find Jace settling in with them so well. Haldor practicing on her head, as all the other Protectors gather around offering advice. Bear falling in love with Lev.

I do love the topics that Jace and Ski have in common: personality disorders of the Tudors, the Borgias, the Medicis… The dreams he has for Jace’s future. But Laurenston doesn’t stop there, she’s setting us up for Kera. I love what she did at the big Clan meeting, lol.

With the Protectors viewing the Ravens as “dumb oxen with no sense of restraint”, Laurenston does set up a lot of laughs over their interactions as well as the other Clans.

It kills me that Jace loves reading such depressing tomes. That she finds joy in them. Of course it could be due to her husband’s treatment of her…especially at the end!

Oh, lordy, wait’ll you hear the trigger words that bring Betty out of that coma!!! ROFLMAO. It’s a good thing we only have to wait until March 2017 for the third in the series, The Unyielding.

The Story

It’s a match made in Heaven when the Protectors rescue critical books that need translating from their original languages…and Jace happens to know those languages. It is not however a perfect match in Jace’s eyes. All she wants is to be left alone with her books, not be hovered over by…people.

Yet it’s Jace’s knowledge that may be the world’s only hope as two enemies are forced to join forces.

The Characters

Jacinda “Jace” Berisha was the wife of the Great Prophet and their Finder of the Word. She came back from the dead as a berserker. A shy lass, she speaks a slew of languages including Russian; Aramaic; Greek; German; Latin; Hebrew; Arabic; several romance languages; Ancient Egyptian; Setswana; Hausa; most of the Slavic including Albanian; fundamentals of the Scandinavian languages; and, cursing in Japanese, Korean, Hindi,and Tagalog. “Lev” Nikolaevich Tolstoy is named for one of Jace’s favorite authors. Nëna is her powerful, nasty grandmother who is an obtainer of knowledge.

Danski “Ski” Eriksen is second-in-command, the protector of the Protectors, and the Keeper of the Word with Salka as his very protective cat. (Bárðr “The Friendly” Eriksen was a 12th century ancestor.)

Jace’s fellow Crows
Chloe Wang, an historical fiction writer who enjoys emotionally torturing others, is their leader who goes nutso-whacko over her ex-husband, Josef. Tessa is her second-in-command and lives off-site with her husband. Kera Watson, a former Marine with an OCD thing about clipboards, is the latest recruit (The Unleashing) and has a huge pit bull, Brodie Hawaii. She is focused on matching up rescue dogs with veterans with issues. Former rich girl Alessandra Esparza now torments people out of their boredom, Erin Amsel (referred to as the vicious little redhead) has a fire power, the sociopathic Annalisa Dinapoli who came back with a conscience, Leigh Matsushita had been and still is a massage therapist, the hypochondriacal Maeve, and Rachel, the former bodybuilder, who is a rage-a-holic. Betty Lieberman is the Hollywood agent in a coma (and a powerful Seer) after events in The Unleashing. Yardley King is a movie star. Skylar Nosek is a defense attorney with a reputation. The house in which the sister Crows live is disguised as a rehab facility, Giant Steps, and is known familiarly as the Bird House.

”’Don’t answer her!’ another Protector ordered. ‘At least six of my patients are in prison because of her.’”

Serena is one of the Alabama Crows; Neecy is with the Tri-State Crows; Sadie is from Maine.

Skuld is the goddess (and a Fate) who brought slaves back to life and granted them super strength and extra powers as the Crows, so they could do battle for her.

Brianna had been Betty’s assistant. Now she’s repping Yardley and others in her takeover. Jenna is her assistant. Efram is a jeweler; Polly works for him.

The Clans are…

…formally known collectively as the Nine and includes the Crows.

The Protectors are…
…an owl clan of lawyers, social workers, judges, police detectives, etc., created by Tyr. They are mad keen on justice but totally clueless about living in the real world. Ormi Bentsen is the leader of the Southern California Protectors. Ormi’s unpleasant yet lovable wife, Inka, is a Holde’s Maid. Gundo; Marbjörn “Bear” Ingolfsson is OCD about books; Nedolf is a public defender; Sevald is absorbed in politics.; Fredgeir; the very quiet Haldor adores his daughter; Karl is one of the teen Protectors; and, Kilmar loves his Scrabble.

The Ravens were…
…created by Odin from the finest Viking stock and are one of the Official Nine. The feared Ludvig “Vig” Rundstöm (The Unleashing,), aka the “Pit Bull”, Stieg, Siggy Kasperson, and Rolf are some of the Ravens. Katja is Vig’s Valkyrie sister.

The Giant Killers are…
…Thor’s creations and dumber than a box of rocks. Frieda is the leader of the Los Angeles clan. Geirr Eklund.

The Silent are…
…a Clan that looks down on the entire human race. Brandt Lindgren is their leader.

The Claws of Ran are…
…water-based with Rada as the Clan leader. Norris Bystrom was the ATF agent who rescued Jace from her resurrection from the grave into which her husband was shoving her.

Dave Jennings is a naive federal prosecutor.

The Sisters of St. Mary Magdalene Convent of All Saints, a.k.a.,
…the Chosen Warriors of God, have been working in the background for millennia to protect the world and prevent the End of Days. Mother Mary Francis is the Mother Superior. Sister Theresa Marie Rutkowski is second-in-command. Sister Mary Angelic noticed the bruises. Sister Mary Typewriter gave good advice. They treat with the Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse and archangels, including Michael, Raphael, and Khamael who know Jace.

Vadim Ekimov is a Russian mobster who runs the docks in San Pedro. Pastor Bruce Maynard and his wife are scamming the public. The owner of a bar in Bakersfield is a priestess of Tyr.

The Patient Dove Congregation is…
…a religious cult started up by Martin Braddock, a con man. His son, Davis Henry Braddock, is the new prophet who took over from his daddy. Jacinda’s mother kidnapped her daughter and is a loyalist along with John, Ezekiel, and Bobby.

Loki is the Norse god of mischief and has three children with Angrboða: Hel (she calls her knife “Famine” and her bed “Sickbed”), Fenrir is the giant wolf who will begin Ragnarok, and Jömungandr is the Midgard serpent. Hel’s Carrion are invincible Vikings of old.

Gullveig, a Vanir goddess, was NOT stopped in The Unleashing. The Mardröm, “Mara” for short, are female demons who give people nightmares.

All the clans help protect the world. The gods are divided into the Aesir (the good gods, so to speak) and the Vanir (evil) gods and include Freyja whose necklace, Brísingamen, was stolen and is the goddess of fertility, commander of the Valkyrie, and a god of war; Idun; and, Skadi whose human clan are the Isa.

Tyr is the god of war, battles, and justice who has never lied and is all about self-sacrifice, integrity, and honor. Ratatosk is the Messenger of the gods…and a squirrel who stirs up mischief. The “call to the gold” spell is an ancient one that brings you to wealth.

The Unknowing are us, regular people without a clue about gods, goddesses, or the Clans actually existing.

Shapeshifters despise the Clans but will work for them. Wendy is an African wild dog who works on the side as a bartender, and she is a neuroscience major. (This reminds me of Laurenston’s Pride and Magnus Pack.)

The Cover and Title

The cover is dark with its blacks and grays and lonely path of green grass angling under the bare trees. It’s Ski with his washboard abs and distressed black leather jacket in jeans who pulls in the eye…who can blame me?? The author’s name at the top and the title at the bottom are both in white.

I’m not sure what inspired the title. I suspect The Undoing is courtesy of Nëna.

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2 responses to “Book Review: The Undoing by Shelly Laurenston

  1. This second one didn’t pull me in as deep as the first, and it is missing some of Laurenston’s usual humor…but, yeah, I did enjoy…and you may too. You’ve been reading my reviews for a bit now, so you’ll have a good idea what to expect *grinning*

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