Review: The Unyielding

The Unyielding
The Unyielding by Shelly Laurenston
My rating: 2 of 5 stars

Stieg Engstrom, Angriest Viking Ever, has got big problems. The human Viking Clans of earth are in danger of being obliterated—along with the rest of the world—and the only one who may be able to save them is a super pain-in-the-ass Crow. Most people annoy Stieg, but this is the one woman he really can’t stand…

This is the second book in this series that I have read, to be quite honest with you I read this just to give the series another chance. I wasn’t impressed with the first book but I don’t feel it’s fair to write off a series based on first impression, so I gave it another shot. I have to say, I honestly do not understand all the five-star reviews.

The characters lack dimension, the dialogue is very immature, and the story-line jumps around too much introducing one unnecessary character after another. Now, what do I mean by immature dialogue? I don’t mean these characters sound like children, I mean it’s unpolished, repetitive, and boring due to these issues. Seriously, I can handle crass language…that’s not a problem, what does become a problem is continually unnecessary crass language. In my view that shows a lack of imagination on the writer’s part.

Why insult when there’s no reason to insult? I don’t care if the character does have a chip on her shoulder for whatever reason (her motivation for that chip really never was made clear), there are thousands of words in the English language to choose from rather than constant profanity. And when a character is supposed to be smart and sarcastic it seems to me it would be more in her character to get creative with her sarcasm rather than continually crass with it…but that’s just my opinion. I have to say…the portions of the book where Erin did take that route (which was very rare) were much more fun to read because what she said was pithy and it sounded more realistic than a constant stream of unimaginative obscenities.

Okay, I will get off my soapbox on that issue…lets move on.

This story is built around a main character no one really likes at all. Her “sisters” are only loyal to Erin because of the fact she is a Crow, that’s it. There is no bond that is discernible between her and her “sisters” so why would they have her back? Why wouldn’t they just sacrifice her to stop Ragnarök when that is an obvious option given to them. That would be the easy and logical thing to do considering how everyone seems to view her. Granted the story does finally roll around to an opportunity for her to redeem herself a bit but it’s a long time in coming and you really can’t stand her by the time it finally arrives. I would have found it easier to root for Erin to make some changes and redeem herself if there were more of a background to understand her, instead I was rooting for her to die.

As for the “love story” between Erin and Steig, (rolls eyes) that wasn’t even luke-warm. Once again the author leaves an integral part of the story undeveloped. There is NO reason for Erin and Steig to be together, none, nada, zip! There is more of a relationship between Steig and his goat (yes, I said goat). Granted, the goat was much more likable than Erin. But once again the author just throws them together and the reader is supposed to accept things with no foundation or chemistry to it….(yawn!)

Another big issue I had with this book is that Ms. Laurenston packed in too many unnecessary characters that have absolutely nothing to do with the story, she did this in the first book as well. This time we are introduced to twins who for whatever reason cannot seem to stop fighting for two seconds. Why were they there? Apparently they fought so much in their previous life that they actually killed one another and were then selected for a second life (uh, okay), so now they go around wrecking places as they attempt to kill one another again (there’s a second chance well spent.) The problem is I know too much about them. I know more about them than I do about the rest of the story yet they had nothing to do with the plot…so why were they even introduced here? Why do some authors feel compelled to do that? It only detracts from a story, which could have been interesting if it had been tightened up and polished more.

The extraneous characters are accompanied by extraneous “filler” scenes too that have nothing to do with what is going on within the story, for example; a supposed Goddess is ranting away about how all-powerful she is in the middle of an apocalyptic battle (taking place on the 405 in the middle of Los Angeles) and the scene is stopped so that Erin and Nidhogg (a dragon) can pause to discuss the differences between dragons, snakes, and lizards…huh? It was totally pointless and interrupted the flow.

Wrapping up this review I want to try to say something that I did like about the book/series so here goes. I do like the idea behind this series, I like the Nordic theme and the use of Norse mythology; that is always something that interests me. I also found her use of other religions during Ragnarök to be potentially very interesting as well. So she really does have something interesting to work with, I just wish she had taken the time to really forge a solid foundation for the characters and their motivations.

As I mentioned earlier this was my second attempt with this author and this series, I can safely say…I’m done now.

Next review coming soon for The Night Stalker (Detective Erika Foster, #2), by Robert Bryndza

View all my reviews

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About Anita Dugan-Moore

This blog gives me the opportunity to talk about the book covers I create for some wonderful authors and share my thoughts on movies and books that I love. Who knows...I may even share some of my own writing on here...or whatever else happens to pop into my mind.
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