I received this book for free from the library in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.The Unyielding by Shelly Laurenston
Genres: Mythic Fantasy
Published by Kensington on March 28, 2017
Source: the library
Buy on Amazon
Also by this author: The Unleashing, The Undoing, Hot and Badgered, In a Badger Way
Third in the Call of Crows mythic fantasy series revolving around the Crow girls and based in Los Angeles. The couple focus is on Erin Amsel, a snarky Crow, and Stieg Engstrom, the Always Angry Raven.
Laurenston’s characters are brash and full of piss and vinegar. I haven’t yet read a series of hers that isn’t, lol. And The Unyielding is probably the most cocksure and RUDE of all of ‘em. All thanks to Erin Amsel.
”’There is something I want, Crow. Something only you and your sister-Crows can provide.’
’Blow jobs?’ Erin asked.
Stieg shook his head. ‘What is wrong with you?’
’So many things,’ she admitted.”
I started out disliking her intensely and Laurenston sucked me in. The more you get to know Erin, the more you love her and wish you [I] could be more like her. That girl is so not afraid to call a spade a spade.
”It’s like my pussy is magic or something.’ She shook her head. ‘Erin’s Magical Pussy Tour.’”
It is too, too funny how Laurenston turns the tables on the men with Erin doing what men usually do. Take it, then leave it, with the most cocksure attitude.
Gods. Petty is what they do.
Between the Clans and the gods, there is more than enough snark for anyone — especially with Erin putting in her five bucks. Trust me, she “contributes” way more than 2¢.
It’s third-person subjective point-of-view, so we know what a number of characters are thinking, saying, and doing. Gotta spread that love around, LMAO.
Laurenston uses a comic the-good-guys-always-win scenario of irreverent one-liners with a good dose of give-and-take. It’s a case of turning the usual totally upside-down. I’m already wanting to re-read it!
Besides the rude humor, there is plenty of battling — verbal and action — along with adventure, kidnapping, imprisonment, “fight club”, and Erin and Stieg’s quest for what may be their only chance to stave off Ragnarök.
That’s it. The world is dead. If Midgard’s only hope is that super annoying Crow…
What’s worse is Stieg Engstrom, Angriest Viking Ever, can’t decide if he really can’t stand Erin Amsel or if he needs to kiss the smirk right off Erin’s face. Wait. What? He didn’t mean that — did he? No!
As for Erin, she doesn’t intend to let the world end. She’s having way too much fun taking the mickey out of every Viking Clan, including her own. She just didn’t expect to be shoulder-to-shoulder in battle with Stieg. Then again, he’s so easy to torment — and also kind of cute.
And don’t forget…they started it.
Erin “I’m a Pain in Everyone’s Ass” Amsel is a Crow with the power of flame and cannot be touched by fire. She earns a living as a famous tattoo artist. And most everyone is afraid of her. Her parents are just like Erin, and you’ll be LYAO.
The Bird House is…
…in disguise as a rehab clinic for all kinds of addictions and is home headquarters for the Crows who are led by Chloe Wong, a writer. The Crows serve Skuld, one of the Fates, and are feared by everyone, for they were originally a band of former slaves with a desire for vengeance.
Kera Watson, a former U.S. Marine, has only been a Crow for some few months and has been named War General (The Unleashing, 1). Brodie Hawaii is her pit bull, a Crow-Dog. She is part of Erin’s Strike Team, which also includes the hypochondriacal Maeve Gadjavo; the sociopathic Dr. Annalisa Dinapoli, a forensic psychologist; Jacinda “Jace” Berisha, who is a berserker, and Lev, who is Jace’s giant puppy; Leigh; and, Alessandra.
Betty Lieberman is an Elder Crow and a vicious Hollywood agent. Yardley King is an über movie star. Tessa Kelly had been a nurse and is now second-in-command. Ailey and Ashley O’Reily are identical twins who hate, loathe, and despise each other. Their hatred is why they’re dead.
Candy Yun is a former coworker of Tessa’s. Nëna, a.k.a., Mrs. Bashir and Mother Berisha, is Jace’s grandmother who’s on visiting terms with the Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse: Death, Pestilence, War, and Famine.
The rude, cranky, and short-tempered Stieg Engstrom, a former street kid, is a Raven with a goat, Hilda. Karen is a shapeshifter who turns into a panther and has been best friends with Stieg for years. Agnarr Engstrom had been Stieg’s abusive father. Siggy Kaspersen is Stieg’s best friend and drinking buddy. Rolf Landvik is the brains of their team. Ludvig “Vig” Rundstöm is a Raven brother, a friend (The Unleashing), and one of the most dangerous Ravens. Josef Alexandersen is their leader. Vestarr Claesson is one of the oldest local Elders. Kafli and Old Finni are also good fighters. The Ravens believe in real estate.
Mr. Matucka runs the general store near Stieg’s place.
The Protectors are…
…the Keepers of the Word and hold books precious. The Protectors are owl-like and serve Tyr, a very moral and upstanding god of war and justice…who’s got a craving for crap fiction. They are led by Ormi Bentsen. Danski “Ski” Eerksen is with Jace now (The Undoing, 2). Bear Ingolfsson is the most book-obsessed Raven of them all. Ingjard Ingolfsson is one of Bear’s ancestors. Haldor makes a good stew. Borgsten. Gundo.
The L.A. Holde’s Maids are…
…the best healers, and their Head Priestess is Inka Solberg-Bentsen.
The L.A. Giant Killers are…
…the human warriors of Thor and led by Freida.
The Valkyries have…
…the favor of all the gods and take the souls of warriors to Valhalla. Their leader in L.A. is Sefa Hakonardottir. Katja “Kat” Rundstöm is Vig’s sister.
The Claws of Ran are…
…a Clan of surfers and fishermen on the Pacific Coast led by Rada Virtanen.
The Silent are…
…politicians (and only basic fighters) beholding to the god Vidar and are led by that jerk, Brandt Lindgren. Notto had been one of theirs.
The Isa serve…
…Skadi and are led by Mist Falker.
The Vatican keeps…
…an eye on the Nine. Gabriel, Raphael, Khamael, and Michael are archangels. Rabbi Tavvi Mankiewicz.
The Sisters of St. Mary Magdalene Convent of all Saints, a.k.a., the Chosen Warriors of God, had been battling the Crows for centuries. Sister Theresa Marie Rutkowski and Sister Mary Marie are part of the sisterhood.
Jourdan Ambrosio is one of the “it” girls, a do-nothing megastar. Her father is a famous Italian director.
Tommy and Tesco “Big Tessy” are a couple of thugs. Craig owns a bar where Stieg used to work. There’s a whacko religious cult from Riverside. Junior runs an outdoor taco stand that is the best in L.A. Sadie Monroe has the worst boss ever.
Davis Henry Braddock is/was the Great Prophet and a total nutjob — a cult leader and murderer — now living at The Pacific Mental and Rehabilitation Center. He’s also Jace’s former husband. Billy and Scott are corrupt guards who’ll wish they hadn’t.
Back in the day
Thirteen-year-old Harvold must rescue his siblings. Villagers included Einddride the Patient.
Holfi Rundstöm is one of Odin’s, a Raven. Alvilda is a Holde’s Maid. Eerika leads the Claws of Ran.
The gods are…
…split into two groups: the Æsir and the Vanir. Hel, Loki’s daughter, is the goddess of the Underworld with her Clan known as the Carrion. The Key is one of Hel’s Carrion. Narfi was her half-brother. Sigyn is Loki’s wife. Heimdall guards the Bifrost Bridge, a.k.a., the Rainbow Bridge. Frigg is Odin’s wife. Forseti is the god of justice and reconciliation. Fulla is the sweet and caring goddess of fertility. Idunn is a goddess with a basket of golden apples. Freyja.
Gullveig is Vanir and has entered into an alliance with Hel. Önd is an assassin assigned by Hel to aid Gullveig. Ratatosk is an annoying and immortal squirrel as well as a Messenger for the gods. A real pain.
The Nine are…
…Viking warrior clans beholden to a god, and they represent their god on Midgard. Loki’s Wolves are no longer a part of the Nine.
Another Nine are the Nine Worlds that include: Jotunheim, the land of giants, where they run into Old Boy; Swartalfheim is Dark Elf territory; Nidavellir is the land of dwarves where they meet Báraldur and his wife, Arnóra as well as Torfinna who runs the docks in Jórunn; and, Alfheim are the Light Elves, but don’t let the “light” fool ya! Princess Uathach is a ruler in Swartalfheim; her brother, is Prince Uinseann. Dualtach the Witch is both Light and Dark who belongs nowhere. Princess Seanait is a prisoner going mad. Seanait’s father is the King Tiarnach.
The fire giant, Surtr, has a sword that can start Raganarök. Nidhogg, a.k.a., Malice Striker, is a dragon who lives near the roots of Yggdrasil, the World Tree, in Náströnd, a.k.a., the incredibly stanky Corpse Shore. Midgard is earth. The Unknowing are humans who know nothing about the Nine. A Mara is a nightmare.
The Cover and Title
The cover is quite peaceful — for such a violent book, lol. Stieg looks calm, sitting forward with his elbows on his knees, that gorgeous blond hair sticking out with a face that is so intent on looking out at us. He’s wearing a grey V-neck T and in the background is a tangle of roots, which I suspect belong to the World Tree. The title and author’s name are in a serif white with the former left justified at the top and the latter centered at the bottom. The series information is in a small yellow green oval just below the title with informational bits in white.
The title is Erin, for she is The Unyielding one.