Wednesday, August 28, 2013

Review: Omens

Omens (Cainsville - Book 1) by Kelley Armstrong

Publication Date: 08/20/2013
Publisher: Penguin Group
Imprint: Dutton
Genre: Urban Fantasy
Pages: 496
ISBN-10: 0525953043
ISBN-13: 978-0525953043

(Received for an honest review from Dutton)

Purchase: Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Book Depository, IndieBound

Kelley Armstrong on the WEB: WebsiteTwitter, Facebook, Goodreads

Excerpt from Omens, courtesy of the author's website.


#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 fiancĂ©, 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.


Urban Fantasy writer Kelley Armstrong wrapped up her highly acclaimed Women of the Otherworld series, much to the regret of her many fans. Now readers are set to be drawn in by Armstrong's first book in the new Cainsville series. Omens is a bit of a departure from Armstrong's urban fantasy roots and delves more into Celtic mythology than the typical urban fantasy characters, the werewolf, and the vampire. Armstrong brings readers a new heroine in, Olivia (Liv) Taylor who may prove to be more than just your average Chicago debutante. A suspenseful first book in a new series by a well respected author!

Women of the Otherworld was probably one of my all time favorite urban fantasy series and Kelley Armstrong one of my favorite authors in the genre. When that series ended earlier this year I had mixed feelings. The characters had evolved and changed and really gotten into my heart. I missed them dearly just knowing there would not be another book in the series, but I was also a little bit excited. Because when one series ends, a new one can begin. 

Omens is the first book in the Cainsville series. It is definitely a little different from other books I've read by Kelley Armstrong and I think that's a good thing. Usually, her books are very strongly on the urban and high fantasy side of things. Her characters are most often werewolves, vampires and witches. In this book she takes a different route. The paranormal elements are a lot more subtle and understated than what I tend to expect from this author. They are certainly present, but more in the background, at least for now. But I have a feeling they will become more prevalent as this series continues. 

This was really what I would call a "set up" book. As with most first books in a series Armstrong focuses on world building and introducing both the setting and the characters for the entire series, but Omens takes that concept just a little further. It goes into detail on somethings, but barely scratches the surface on others, which is basically a lead in to another long series where the overall premise of the series is developed over several books. Which is something I love. Knowing that these are characters we are going to get to spend quite a bit of time with. 

I liked the way that Armstrong starts to build this world by giving the reader a new heroine, Olivia, whose world is turned completely upside down early in the novel. Olivia learns that she is not only adopted but that her parents are serving prison sentences for murder, both of them. This shocking turn of events leads Olivia away from life as a Chicago debutante and lands her in the very small town of Cainsville. Readers start to learn about Liv much like they did about Elena in the first Women of the Otherworld book. Omens is told from the first person point of view and allows the reader to see into the life and heart of the Liv Taylor a little bit at a time, as she tells her own story. Armstrong excels at writing in the first person and pulls it off with style in this book.

Readers are quickly drawn in to Liv's life and to the town of Cainsville. She believes that people in the town have no idea who she is, but the reader soon figures out that that's not quite the case. The townspeople of Cainsville are an interesting bunch and I found myself fascinated by the town itself and it's history. I have a feeling that those gargoyles and how the town is set up with elders and that kind of thing will really play a large part in the series. Celtic mythology certainly came to mind as the world building began with this one. 

I have to say I am really excited to see where Armstrong goes with this series. I think we are only seeing glimpses in this first book of where the author intends to go with this series. I think we have been introduced to a new heroine and a new town, but there is so much potential here. I liked the thriller/suspense edge that Omens provided. The back story of the main character being the daughter of serial killer couple and how she ends up in a very strange little town. It may be a bit different from what we have seen from Armstrong before, but I have a feeling it will start to lean more toward the paranormal as it continues.

In short... I loved it!

Omens is available NOW from your favorite book seller!

I'm giving this one 5 out of 5 apples from my book bag!

About the Author:

KELLEY ARMSTRONG is the # 1 New York Times bestselling author of the Otherworld series, as well as the New York Times bestselling young adult trilogy Darkest Powers and Darkness Rising series. She lives in rural Ontario with her family.

Giveaway Details:

I was unable to host a giveaway for this title, but you can visit drey's library for a chance to win a copy of this amazing new book by Kelley Armstrong. You have until September 2nd, so get crackin'!