Book Review: Unleashed

By: Rachel McClellan
Release date: July/August 2014
Genre: YA sci fi
 331 pages
Buy links coming soon
Source: ARC kindly provided by author

I love getting the chance to support indie reads. Thank you so much, Rachel, for offering up your latest project. I sincerely appreciate the opportunity. I enjoyed reading Unleashed, even though I do have a bit criticism to share.

 Let's start with our villain: Gage is SUCH a good villain!  Opening with the scene with the girl in the locker room cements his evil nature, leaving no room for doubt. Once it's revealed that Gage is actually someone who Claire knows well, things get pretty creepy pretty quickly. Smith, as well, is such a wonderful character. In these two characters alone, Claire has a perfect balance of a good guy and a bad guy in her life.

I was bugged by what I saw as some inconsistency in characterization; if Claire, the main character, has become a fighter, why is it that the first emotional scene we see with her is of her freaking out and crying? This scene makes her seem quite normal; her reaction is fairly typical for anyone going through that experience. I wish her background was more solidly established before this scene. Also, what happened with her dad is not well-explained; it is a major part of her character development, so I think it merits more attention.

The local evil corporation could have used some fleshing out. We see very little of the actual facility, and meet very few employees, other than Creepy Guard. The effect of the superficial treatment of this organization results in it seeming far less formidable than it should.

My favorite part: I LOVE the dichotomy between Ethan and Logan. The best friend and the boyfriend are both perfect suspects, and this story will keep you guessing which of them is the problem until the very end. I also love the device of Gage calling his other self by his first name, Albert. He sees his alter in a completely different way than others do, which is fitting. The mystery elements of the book are very well done.

Overall, Unleashed is a great read that I would be quite happy to recommend to a friend who enjoys either sci fi or paranormal YA. There are enough original elements and enough action to make this a great quick, just-for-fun adventure.


Seventeen-year-old Claire Williams’ tough upbringing has taught her how to throw a punch or two to survive, especially when it involves a man’s unwanted attention. But her strength waivers when she visits Bodian Dynamics, a medical research facility, and stumbles upon classified information—someone has stolen a drug that not only changes a person's appearance, but also unleashes the darkest, most evil part of their inner psyche. 

After an intimidating security guard threatens the lives of her friends if she speaks to anyone about the incident, Claire pretends the drug never existed. But when she finds a dead girl in her school and is attacked herself, she thinks the events are connected. Especially when she meets Gage, a teenage boy who doesn’t seem to have a conscience and who is hell-bent on making her just like him by unleashing her dark side. 

The police try to catch Gage, but his increased strength and speed, a side effect from the drug, make him impossible to kill. But Claire knows a secret—he can only die while in his normal state. And since Gage knows personal information about her, Claire thinks she knows who it is: either her best friend or her recent boyfriend. But this doesn’t change Claire’s resolve. Gage has backed her into a corner so Claire does what she does best: fights. And once she figures out which boy Gage is hiding behind, she’s going to kill him, even if it breaks her heart.