Release Date: 1st December, 2011
When Katelyn starts at her new school the only person she knows is the handsome and intriguing Trick Sokolov, an acquaintance of her grandfather. She's surprised when the popular Cordelia Fenner invites her home and when she meets Cordelia's hot brother, she begins to think her new life might be ok after all. But as she spends time with the family, she realises that the Fenners are harbouring a deep dark secret. Every bone in Katelyn's body tells her that the Fenners are mad, bad and dangerous to know - but how can she give up her only friend, and how can she ignore the way Justin sets her blood on fire with a single look? Katelyn finds herself caught between three major werewolf clans who have been at war with each other for centuries - a war, it seems, that Katelyn is destined to end.
A big thanks to Dorothy from Random House Australia for sending a review copy of this book!
If you're looking for your classic paranormal story filled with lot's of tension, suspense and a good old-fashioned romance, then this is definitely the book for you! Katelyn McBride comes to live with her grandfather after her mother suddenly dies in an earthquake. As she adjusts to her new home - away from the life she used to live back in Santa Monica - and learn to get along with a grandfather she hardly knows, Katelyn must also deal with the small town's murder mystery of a girl who was mauled and killed in the local woods. And on top of all that, there's two boys that are a mystery all on their own.
After finishing the story, I have to say . . . while I found it, on a whole, a little cliche but it was the great kind of cliche that we love to read in paranormal young adult fiction. Not to mention that it helps already being a huge fan of Nancy Holder and Debbie Viguie's work - the Wicked and the Crusade series that is. When it comes to the characters themselves, I really liked Katelyn and she definitely grew on me as the book progresses, and when the several mysteries start to unfold by each chapter. One of the things I admired in Katelyn's character was that she was your typical teenage girl - someone who is still trying to find herself in the world and learning to deal with the current loss of her mother. Sure her character makes wrong decisions and trusting the wrong people, but it's completely understandable in her circumstances and it's no wonder why her emotions are over the place. But another quality that I loved was her funny side, which is always a plus in my books. Also, there's a great supporting cast of Trick and Justin, the boys Katelyn begins to have explainable feelings for.
Now I'm all for love triangles when they're done right and I found in UNLEASHED it was written well enough to be likeable. Trick in particular had great potential as a future love interest. He's not a loveable boy to Katelyn when she first meets him and he definitely comes across as the protective big brother that you don't want hanging around all the time, but Trick was a dear favourite character of mine. He's funny, always dependable - well, most of the time, and he isn't afraid of anything which helps us readers see major sex-appeal. *winks* Then of course there's the boy with the piercing blue eyes, Justin, who doesn't have as much appeal as Trick has. I could alone on that but whatever. *waves hand* Justin is the bad boy with a mysterious past and rides a motorcycle. Now I love boys who ride motorcycles but for some reason I couldn't connect with Justin. Maybe it's because I found him too creepy or it's because we have so very little details surrounding him except that he has a weird family and he definitely is one of the weird people IN his family. Anyway on a whole, Trick is the boy girls should be rooting for in the case of potential love triangles.
Overall the most enjoyable part of the book was the writing itself and if you love legend stories in small local towns that are at its best, then the book is clearly a winner and I highly recommend this title. Especially if you're a fan of the author's other books. If you're one of those readers unsure about reading yet another wolf-like story, I completely understand your views on that. But UNLEASHED is definitely one to keep you entertained on all sorts of levels. With plenty of action sequences, romantic scenes and intriguing mythology to keep you guessing until you reach the last pages of the novel, UNLEASHED is something you should be looking out for on the shelves because you'll be pleasantly surprised by it.
4 1/2 /5 stars