The Undoing by Shelly Laurenston (Call of Crows #2)

The Undoing by Shelly LaurenstonAvailable: March 29, 2016 Amazon/B&N

Type: Paranormal Romance

Publisher: Kensington

My Copy: NetGalley

Reviewer: Nikki

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!

Shelly Laurenston is an author I never tire of. Seriously, the woman could write a phone book and I would probably spend $15 for it and then read it cover to cover. The Call of Crows series is her newest endevour and I must say, I’m highly enjoying it. The group of women in this series are a family by circumstance and not blood, yet they are closer than any family I know.

Having been murdered by her cult leading husband, Jace has settled into her new life as a reborn crow nicely. Sure, she doesn’t like to talk very much and is more comfortable hiding in a cabinet with a book then going to a gathering, but as the groups “berserker” she plays a vital role in their missions. Her rage is unrivaled and once it’s triggered there is no stopping the death and destruction that follow.

During book one, The Unleashing, Jace comes out of her shell a bit with the addition of the newest Crow, Kera but it’s not until this book that we actually get the chance to find out her story and what drives her. The other Crows just assume she is a loner and doesn’t like to talk, when in fact she does enjoy conversation, just not small talk. When the owl like Protector, Ski sets his unusual sights on her at first she doesn’t know how to respond. Being in a relationship generally means talking and she just has no interest. Ski goes above and beyond to learn about her and interact on a level she is comfortable with. Being a Protector means he’s extremely smart and so he learns to talk to her about subjects she’s interested in and not just mundane everyday things.

Ski is a part of a group whose sole purpose is to balance everything out. Not generally fighters, the Protectors have a thirst for knowledge and collect books that need deciphered. When angered, their owl-like qualities come in handy with heads that can turn almost all the way around, supreme eyesight and legs that can hold down just about any prey. Ski interests Jace on an intellectual level in the beginning. She agrees to work with the Protectors translating old books, hoping to find a way to send the evil God who has been terrorizing them all back to a different land that can hold her.

I absolutely love the world Laurenston has created here. She uses the stories of Thor, Odin and even Loki and weaves in her own lore to create a world that is both interesting and lush. The Crows are outsiders, having been created instead of born into their clan. The other clans both hate and need them at the same time. They serve a purpose, and that purpose is vengeance.  The other clans look to them for leadership even if they don’t realize it. Jace is a much needed component in this world because her knowledge of multiple languages makes reading outdated texts easier and her rage makes her a formidable foe to anyone who crosses her. She’s a heroine a reader can easily root for. Ski never tries to stand in her way, instead he learns her and makes her feel special, something she never had in her first life.

While Jace’s past does play a part in this book when her ex and his followers try to bring her back into their world, he is unable to really hurt her because of what she is now. In fact, I found his attempts pathetic and pitiful. I get that he thought he was a prophet but geez, how many times was he seriously going to try to get her back and get his ass handed to him every time? I found this much more of a “side story” than actually needed to move the book along. It did help to provide insight into her upbringing and personality now, so in only that respect was it warranted.

Jace and Ski don’t actually get together until over the half way point in the book, so while this is classified as a romance it focuses much more on the world building then it does the actual romance. So true to any Laurenston book, don’t be picking this one up expecting lots of sex. Instead expect an action packed story, a masterfully built world and simply put, great story telling.

I give The Undoing by Shelly Laurenston 4.50 stars! 

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