cover image The Undoing

The Undoing

Shelley Laurenston. Kensington, $15 trade paper (374p) ISBN 978-1-61773-509-7

Laurenston’s second Call of Crows contemporary paranormal (after The Unleashing) expands on the premise of rival clans who serve the Norse gods in exchange for power and glory. Jace Berisha is one of the Crows, warrior women resurrected by the goddess Skuld, and easily their most standoffish member. She’s introverted and antisocial in general and a berserker in battle; she doesn’t let anyone get close. That is, until she starts working on a translation project with Ski Eriksen of the Protector clan, who shares her love of books and hatred of small talk. As their friendship grows into romance, they have to focus on the larger picture: a long-forgotten goddess has snuck into the mortal realm and is causing trouble, and it’ll take a unified effort from the normally uncooperative clans to handle this problem. Laurenston adeptly blends humor, romance, and action, her sizable cast fully fleshed out and always entertaining. Laugh-out-loud moments (usually involving large Vikings and small animals) balance the more serious emotional beats and the ongoing looming crisis. Jace and Ski’s romantic arc is thoroughly satisfying, as is the story as a whole. Agent: Ethan Ellenberg, Ethan Ellenberg Literary Agency. (Apr.)