Unleashed | Nancy Holder & Debbie Viguié | Book Review

Reader friends, I actually still really like paranormal books even though the trend is over. While I tend more toward vampires than werewolves, I still love reading books about paranormal creatures that live right under our noses. I came into Unleashed by Nancy Holder and Debbie Viguié with a few expectations — namely that it would be an absorbing, darkly romantic sort of read. Unfortunately, Unleashed failed to deliver on that front, which is unfortunate because I really liked the previous book I had read by this author duo, Crusade.

Unleashed by Nancy Holder & Debbie Viguie | Good Books And Good Wine

Katelyn McBride’s mother dies during an earthquake. Katelyn is then uprooted from everything she knows in LA and sent to live with her grandfather in Wolf Springs, Arkansas, right by the Ozark Mountains. It’s kind of culture shock for her. However, Wolf Springs isn’t quite so bad and isolated as it seems. She even manages to make friends with this Russian guy who goes by Trick and a girl named Cordelia, who also has a lot on her plate. Yet, there’s something strange about Katelyn’s new digs. She’s not even allowed to go outside when it’s dark out. Turns out, Wolf Springs is a town of many secrets. Chances are that you as the reader can easily guess the secrets as it shows you right on the cover and also you can infer it from the name of the town. While the plot summary of Unleashed is interesting, it’s a rather long and drawn out book that upon closing left me feeling as though nothing had really happened.

Unfortunately Katelyn is not a very compelling heroine. When the book opens, she’s actually quite interesting, so much so that it seems like her potential was squandered. At the beginning of Unleashed, Katelyn is a gymnast and she’s very dedicated to her sport and to excelling. I was excited by the prospect of a character with a hobby. Yet, when she goes to Wolf Springs, we do not hear another word about Katelyn’s sport. Instead, she mopes about living with her grandfather in the middle of nowhere which is understandable. Then she spends an awful lot of time trying to figure out why she can’t go out at night. Also, Katelyn ends up in a love triangle of course. Rather than being swoon worthy, it’s all kind of boring. It felt like ground that’s already been tread with nothing new or interesting added. As a reader, I was not invested or engaged by Katelyn as a character.

As one would expect, Wolf Springs is a lupine obsessed town. The school’s mascot is the wolf. In fact, in the school there are actually stained glass windows that depict wolves, which is kind of interesting. Further, some of the town folklore focuses on this creature called a Hellhound. Yet, whenever Katelyn tries to get more information on the Hellhound, she ends up getting the brush off. I liked how the lore was woven into the store, but I wish that it was less shallow. It is done in a pretty superficial way and it seems like we never really get to explore Wolf Springs’ deep dark secrets aside from the various girl being eaten by wolves (this happens twice in Unleashed).

On the upside, I was unable to tell where Nancy Holder’s writing ended and Debbie Viguié’s began and vice versa. That is probably the only positive thing I can say about the writing style. The dialogue in Unleashed comes across as very stilted. I thought the interactions between Cordelia and Katelyn were painful to read, even though the two are friends. The pacing of the book really drags. This young adult book took me forever to read and usually I am the type who happily gobbles up paranormal reads. I just feel that the interesting elements were muddled in a story that basically went nowhere.

If I am being honest, I probably would not recommend Unleashed. It’s not very exciting. The romance is boring. The characters are uninteresting. There are definitely better paranormal young adult books out there.

Disclosure: Received for review via Amazon Vine

Other reviews of Unleashed by Nancy Holder and Debbie Viguié:

Feeling Fictional – “I did feel that it was a little slow getting to the supernatural part of the story

Xpresso Reads – “I didn’t feel any sort of chemistry between the characters

Reading Teen – “Ok.  I loved this book.

About April (Books&Wine)

April is 28 years old and created Good Books And Good Wine. She works for a non-profit. In her free time she can be found reading, working out, or eating junk food. She often wears her sunglasses at night.

Comments

  1. I was not a fan of this book, either. Katelyn was *so* mopey — and I wondered what happened to her dedicated gymnast self, too. I mean, that’s one of the reasons she bitched so much about going to Wolf Springs! Gah!

  2. Yeah, this one really looks like it left much to be desired. I read a book about a year ago that was supposed to be a paranormal romance for teens. But it wasn’t well written, either. It’s always kind of disappointing.

    Have you read Touched by Corinne Jackson? I thought that was a good paranormal romance. It’s not about werewolves or vampires, though.

    Anyway, see you Sunday!

    • Well, I like these sort of books and based on the cover I thought more swooning and sexytimes would happen. Also, more excitement.

      I actually haven’t read Touched, but I will add it to my TBR.

      YAYYY!

  3. Bleh, I HATE when characters have no interests outside of the thing they’re doing in the book. I mean, yeah, I understand that no-one would want to read about some kid hanging out on Tumblr when there’s ghosts eating his classmates or whatever (for example). But if you establish a character as loving/being very dedicated to something at the beginning of the book and don’t carry it through to the end (or work it into the plot, even!), then what’s the point? They come off as a shallow person and the characterization/book suffers.

    Think of Buffy (both movie and TV show)! She was a cheerleader before she was a vampire slayer, and she wanted to keep being one after. But she couldn’t! And that made for some compelling episodes/character development. And THEN she used her awesome cheerleading skills to kick vampire butt. THAT’S the kind of thing that I’d like to read about– a character who has hobbies and interests outside of the supernatural whatsit they’re dealing with, and how using or losing those interests affects them/the story/etc.

    Le sigh.

    • Right, I wouldn’t be into a book about a kid who was just reblogging GIFs all day, but I would love reading about characters who have hobbies and actually maintain those hobbies for mot of the book I was reading.

      I love your example of Buffy — because it really does work. I loved how they gave her a very legitimate reason not not be a cheerleader anymore, yet those skills carry through.

      Super great point, and I loved your post about this as well!

  4. I’m glad I read this review — thank you for sharing it. Main characters are really important to me, if I can’t connect with them I won’t enjoy the story and Katelyn sounds mopey. I am also not a big lupine fan, though the Hellhound concept sounds a little interesting.

    • Thank you! Yeah, main characters are kind of the most important part and for real if you can’t connect, what is the point. Katelyn is blah.

      The Hellhound thing was so cool but like all the good parts seemed kind of overwhelmed but the BLAHHHH stuff.

  5. I admire the time you took to write this review. I love an honest review. Thanks for sharing.

  6. Oh dear, another werewolf/wolf book? I’ve had pretty decent experiences with paranormal novels before, so I think I’m going to stay away from this one to prevent that from changing. It sucks that the character “lost” her hobby so early on in the book (or in general, actually).

    • Yeah, yuck. I mean, I am okay with werewolves, but this one just is not that great.

      I feel like her losing her hobby is a bit like losing an established identity and so when that was dropped like a sack of potatoes, I was super disappointed as the gymnastics thing could have made for a compelling story.

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