Kelley Armstrong: Omens (2013) The Cainsville Trilogy I


I always meant to return to Kelley Armstrong’s Women of the Otherworld series, but when I saw she has a new series out, which is a real departure from her dark fantasy series and much more of a thriller/crime series, I was very interested.

Omens is a terrific read and an unusual genre, one could call it a thriller with elements of magical realism. The only bad thing I can say about this book is that it’s not a standalone and that part II will only be out in 2014.

Olivia Talyor-Jones is a 24-year-old, rich society girl, just about to get married to her fiancé James when her world is turned upside down. Not only does she find out that she has been adopted, but her birth parents are serving a life sentence. They are serial killers who have committed four ritualistic murders.

Shocked by the discovery, haunted by the press and pushed away by her adoptive mother and her fiancé, she follows some signs and ends up in the small-town Cainsville, located not too far away from her hometown Chicago. Olivia decides to cut herself off from her former life for the time being, to look for an apartment and get a job.

Cainsville is a small town that seems to be stuck in another time and as soon as Olivia arrives, she encounters signs and omens which lead her to different interesting discoveries about the town and its people and her parents. Her birth parents hear that she has been found and want to get in contact with her. When Olivia meets dubious lawyer Gabriel Walsh, who was her birth mother’s lawyer during one of her appeals, she decides to visit Pamela, her mothe, and hire Walsh.

There were always doubts about her parents really being serial killers and after Olivia has met her mother and memories of her early childhood resurface, she starts to hope that they are innocent and, together with Gabriel, she wants to prove it. Their research puts them in great danger and the story we get to read is suspenseful and fast-paced.

The end of this book tells me that the supernatural elements which are toned down in this book, will become more important in the future. It seems that Olivia has been brought to Cainsville for a reason.

I enjoyed Omens a great deal and can hardly wait for the next book. This absorbing novel would appeal to people who do not like to read fantasy but enjoy a good thriller with a strong and likable heroine. There is potential for a love story here as well. I liked the description of the small town Cainsville a lot. It reminded me a bit of  Louise Penny’s Three Pines, just with some magical realism thrown in.

This is my third contribution to Carl’s RIP VIII. At this pace I will have read four books before the second month starts. So far I have covered these genres”Haunted House”, “Urban Fantasy” and “Thriller”. Next up is, hopefully, – “Gaslamp Fantasy” (don’t tell me you are not intrigued).

If you’d like to see what others have reviewed so far, here’s the link to the  RIP review site.

27 thoughts on “Kelley Armstrong: Omens (2013) The Cainsville Trilogy I

  1. Nice review, Caroline. This looks like a thrilling series. Hope the supernatural elements which come up later are more realistic than fantastic. It looks like Kelly Armstrong has made a fantastic start to the series. Hope you enjoy the second book in the series too. Looking forward to finding out how it is. It is sad that part 2 will come out only in 2014. Waiting for the next part is really hard.

    • Don’t tell me. A year seems sooo long.
      I’m so curious to find out how this will develop, whether there will be a love story, who killed who and what’s going on in the small town.
      I think part two will be darker.

  2. I really enjoyed this one as well. The small town descriptions definitely added to my enjoyment of it; that part felt to me, though, more like Stephen King than Louise Penny, more creepy than cozy, given Olivia’s situation. (Love the gargoyle bits: shall say no more.) You’re doing fine with your RIP reading. Perhaps you will set a personal record!

    • I’m glad to hear you liked this as well. I thought the small town descriptions had cozy elements. I haven’t read King, so I can’t compare. I would love to live in Cainsville, it sounded mysterious and oh yes, the gargoyles
      What an ending. Talk about cliff hanger.

    • I was tempted to wait as well but part III wil probabaly not be out before 2015 and I was way to curious.
      I think you would like this but it’s possible the series will move away from magical realism to dark fantasy.
      In any case, she’s a strong writer. Atmosphere and characters are well done.

  3. Pingback: ARC Review: Four Summoner’s Tales | A World of Books

  4. I think it’s a dilemma when a book is part of a series. I always vacillate between waiting for the last one to come out (assuming that it’s a limited number) and reading the lot all at once or just reading them when they are released…

  5. I think I would like this book…but I am avoiding series nowadays. I barely have time to read.

    When I first read the title I thought it’s Omen the movie 😉

    Anyway you’re on fire on this year’s RIP 😉

  6. It sounds wonderful but I am wary of getting involved in any series right now. My TBR is already so massive. Three books already. that’s great. I need to write my reviews for RIP.

  7. I’m moving very slowly in my RIP reading–have only finished one but am enjoying my short story reading. I’ve been having a very ‘off’ reading week this week, sadly, but maybe I will still manage for books by the end of October–this one sounds good. I am not really a fantasy reader, though often books others like do sound tempting. This would probably be a good choice for me considering the suspenseful elements–so I’ll have to at least add it to my wishlist! My reading stacks are probably already tall enough at the moment…. 🙂

    • I wouldn’t really really call this fanatsy yet. It might get there but I think you’d öike it anyway. It feels very realistic and since you like ghost stories you’re not exactöy averse to some supernatural elements. 🙂

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