Reviewed by Lynn Crow for TeensReadToo.com
Daniel Morning has a beautiful girlfriend, an early acceptance to Cornell, and the world at his fingertips. So why does he feel so trapped?
When he gets to know Misty and her friends, he realizes how much freedom lies beyond the rules and restrictions set down by his parents and teachers. Misty's group is a pack in the most literal sense of the word. At night they eat a mushroom sacred to the god of decay, and shape-shift into wolves to prowl the streets and mark their territory.
At first disturbed and disbelieving, Daniel finds himself sucked into this shadow world of magic and defiance. His grades slip and his girlfriend ditches him for another guy, but with Misty, he doesn't care. Still, he can't bring himself to tell her the truth--that despite their connection, he's planning on leaving come fall. But then the pack's activities cross over the line between conscious rebellion and wild destructive abandon, and Daniel realizes he has to make a choice: between Cornell and Misty, between safety and freedom, and between the perfect life he used to have and all the lives that now stand to be lost.
Kristopher Reisz's UNLEASHED has one of the most unique takes on an established mythology that I've ever seen. Its twist on the werewolf tales will keep readers guessing right until the end. Daniel is not always likable, but his motivations are easy to understand, and his growth throughout the story is well-developed. The descriptions of shape-shifting and being wolves are so vivid readers will wish they could experience it for themselves. It's an intense, can't-put-it-down read that will have readers turning pages long after they should be asleep.
Highly recommended to all fans of urban fantasy and the supernatural.
Daniel Morning seems perfect -- handsome, charismatic, intelligent. But living up to everyone's expectations has cost him the right to make his own decisions. The urge to shatter those expectations is beginning to gnaw at his insides.
Then Daniel meets Misty. She's smoky, rebellious, tender...and much more. She decides to let him into her pack of outcasts -- and in on their little secret: She and her friends have learned to shapeshift, and have been prowling the night as wolves.
Daniel soon falls in love with the primal sensation of shifting, just as he's falling in love with Misty. The freedom to follow his most basic instincts is like nothing he's ever felt. But Daniel will slowly come to realize that such freedom comes at a price....
You know the kids in school, the outcasts. They're the kids who wear dark clothes and combat boots. They don't quite fit in, and everyone in school treats them like they are trash or don't exist. At least that's how it was when I was in high school. If you weren't a popular star football player or cheerleader you were on the outside looking in. That's what Misty and her pack are, the outcasts. They protect each other from the "hand lickers," and stand up for each other when they are in trouble.
What an original tale Kristopher Reisz has written for our enjoyment! This is probably the first time in a long time that I don't know what to say for one of my reviews. I thoroughly enjoyed this story, and had trouble putting it down in order to get some sleep. I just had to know what path these teens would take, and what problems would arise for them next. Daniel isn't always likeable, but his actions lead him in the direction he needs to take in order to find out where his life is going. Misty is troubled and just wants to be loved, and believes that Daniel wouldn't hurt her. Which is something we can all relate to.
I must praise Reisz on giving a fresh twist to the Werewolf. You also really get a glimpse into the life of high school students. There is drugs, sex, and fear. Fear of what their future's hold for them. Some are scared of leaving gritty Birmingham, and some are afraid they will be stuck there forever. The characters are real and relatable. You know what they are going through. You can even understand why they would want to consult the mushroom god in order to be turned into wolves and prowl the night. I think we all would like to escape our own realities, and that's why we read.
This is a strong story with a good ending all wrapped up in a one hit book. It's nice to not have to wait for a sequel, and I'm looking forward to reading Reisz first book, Tripping to Somewhere.