Review: Omens (Cainsville, #1) by Kelley Armstrong

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omensTitle: Omens
Series:
Cainsville, #1
Genre: Mystery
Source: Purchased (Hardcover)

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#1 New York Times bestselling author Kelley Armstrong begins her new series with Omens, featuring a compelling new heroine thrust into a decades-old murder case and the dark mysteries surrounding her strange new home.

Twenty-four-year-old Olivia Taylor Jones has the perfect life. The only daughter of a wealthy, prominent Chicago family, she has an Ivy League education, pursues volunteerism and philanthropy, and is engaged to a handsome young tech firm CEO with political ambitions.

But Olivia’s world is shattered when she learns that she’s adopted. Her real parents? Todd and Pamela Larsen, notorious serial killers serving a life sentence. When the news brings a maelstrom of unwanted publicity to her adopted family and fiancé, Olivia decides to find out the truth about the Larsens.

Olivia ends up in the small town of Cainsville, Illinois, an old and cloistered community that takes a particular interest in both Olivia and her efforts to uncover her birth parents’ past.

Aided by her mother’s former lawyer, Gabriel Walsh, Olivia focuses on the Larsens’ last crime, the one her birth mother swears will prove their innocence. But as she and Gabriel start investigating the case, Olivia finds herself drawing on abilities that have remained hidden since her childhood, gifts that make her both a valuable addition to Cainsville and deeply vulnerable to unknown enemies. Because there are darker secrets behind her new home and powers lurking in the shadows that have their own plans for her.

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This book was a very unexpected read for me. I had read Kelley’s books in the past and had completely expected a book full of paranormal creatures and fantastical elements. I was surprised to find out that this book is more contemporary mystery with just a few fantastical elements thrown in, rather than a full-blown paranormal book. And no romance! Still, the verdict when I finished was that this is a very exciting new series and I’m very eager to read more!

I was lucky enough to attend a reading by Kelley (a few actually!) last year where she read an excerpt from this book. I loved the fact that the main character is the daughter of serial killers — does she have it in her own blood to kill? Are her parents actually serial killers or were they framed? Right from the start, I was hooked, falling in love with the main character who definitely isn’t a soft little thing, but a strong woman who is fully capable of taking care of herself. Of course, having someone like Gabriel in the story worked well, too — sure, he wasn’t a romantic lead, but I still loved having his presence in the story. Him and Olivia just worked together! I’m really curious to see where their story goes in the next book.

There’s also the way the story was told. I was a little confused at first after reading Chapter One, Chapter Two, etc. only to come to a chapter with a name. These are interspersed throughout the novel and told from the perspective of other people in the story — Gabriel, his aunt, other townsfolk, etc. They worked really well and it was nice to see the perspective of others. These chapters helped add to the mystery of Cainsville and made me want to delve deeper into the story.

Really, this story is quite different from anything of Kelley’s that I’ve read. Like I said, there’s the mystery going on, but there’s also something beyond the mystery. I can’t say it’s a full-blown contemporary mystery because it really isn’t. There’s something sinister, something paranormal, going on in the background that we only got glimpses of in this book. I can’t wait to see what they come to be in future instalments!

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8 thoughts on “Review: Omens (Cainsville, #1) by Kelley Armstrong

  1. I got this on my ipad when it first came out and got pulled in by the second chapter, and then reading attention deficit took over and I picked up something else and never got back to this, you know how it can go. I’m now super excited to read this as I love her stuff, am excited to see her try something new, and also happy to see there is no romance in it yet. I like the romance in her YA books, but the sex scenes in her adult books just haven’t done anything for me. I can’t remember which book it is, but two of the characters are getting it on in hotel room and the female werewolf picks up a slice of ham and adds it to the goings on. If I had to pick a sexy breakfast food, it wouldn’t be ham – maybe fruit of some sort?. In fact, though I judge no one, I don’t think the word “ham” should ever be mentioned during sex scenes of any kind. No ham.
    As you can see, I’m still a little traumatized, but looking forward to Good Omen 🙂 -Tania

    • Ha ha … oh my gosh. Your comment made me laugh! Certain authors can do the sex scenes really well, but sometimes they come off as cheesy or way overdone. I do love romance in YA books, though … it’s always a little sweeter and subtler.

My home is where my books are. - Ellen Thompson

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