Book: Omens (Cainsville #1) by Kelley Armstrong
Published: August 20th 2013 by Sphere
Genre: Paranormal, mystery
Rating: 4/5 stars
Synopsis: 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 fiance, 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.
I got this from the library on a whim. I’d heard about the series and the author before, but I couldn’t really recall whether what I’d heard was good or not. But I read the synopsis and thought it looked really interesting! I usually read fantasy, so sometimes it’s great to switch up genres. I definitely don’t regret doing so!
Alright, let’s talk about the actual story first. I didn’t really know much about this book before starting it, aside from the fact that it was about a woman called Olivia, who discovers she’s adopted and her biological parents are infamous serial killers. And I think that’s the way to go into this book! That way, you really let the story take you along while you discover strange events alongside Olivia.
I honestly don’t really know how to describe this story. It’s a mystery/crime novel but it also has some intriguing paranormal twists? I really enjoyed the crime part first of all. I didn’t see the ending coming, far from it actually. I am curious to see how Olivia will handle her biological parents’ now that this twists has come! So the crime part was really great, it definitely kept me on my toes the entire time.
As for the paranormal part, I wish that was delved into more. You get all these tiny little snippets and hints, which is a nice added mystery but so little is explained! So I’m definitely curious to see whether that’s explored more in the second book. Especially about the Cainsville town. What’s going on? I have no clue. I did like that sometimes we get alternating POVs. Sometimes it’ll be someone Olivia crosses on the street or meets, which is SO INTERESTING. And sometimes it’s Gabriel, who is a very confusing person. More on that later.
I have to admit that I think there was maybe a bit too much crammed into this book. You have the giant murder-mystery crime which turns into a detective-part, but then you also have the paranormal side to it. Don’t get me wrong, I love the mix of mystery and paranormal. I think that with the crime part though, there were just a bit too many tropes involved? You’ll understand when you get to the end and discover a part of what’s happening. Because there is just so much going on, it’s impossible for Kelley Armstrong to fully develop each part, in my opinion. If you’ve read this book, let me know what you think of this!
Let’s start with Olivia, shall we? I really enjoyed her. She’s definitely a strong woman. She doesn’t just give up when her life goes to hell, but she’s not afraid to admit that she really wants some help from the people in her life. Her determination is incredible. She’s a Harvard graduate (I think) but has never actually worked -because apparently, that wouldn’t be acceptable to her mother and fiance.
When her life gets turned upside down, she wallows in pity for a few days. Which let be real, we’d all do. But then, she decides to find out the truth. And once she sets her mind on something, she’s pretty much unstoppable. I don’t want to say too much, but I just want to admit that I admire her. She’s all alone with almost no money, but doesn’t take crap from anyone. Instead, she looks for a job and a house/apartment and gets to work. I also like how she dealt with Gabriel, who let’s be real is a person who would do anything for money. But she deals with him perfectly.
One downside reading from her point of view, is that she is sometimes well, a bit heartless. And cold. Which is kind of terrifying to read really. But overall, really enjoyed her as a character!
Then there is Gabriel, who helps Olivia. I don’t know whether I like him. I truly haven’t made up my mind. He’s a very complex person! And then you have all these other fascinating characters, like Patrick, a Cainsville inhabitant. And Olivia’s biological mom! And her actual mom -who is a horrid person, just saying. Her fiance, who is also a horrid person -sorry.
Like I said before, this book surprised me! I didn’t expect to enjoy it as much as I did. I liked the plot -even though it was a bit much at times. I liked the characters, because they are all so fascinating and all have their own secrets and schemes. I’m really interested to see what book #2 has in store for me. I do hope that the paranormal side gets explored more in that one, because it was so interesting but not that present here! Besides, I’m very intrigued to find out more on the reason this book was called Omens -don’t want to spoil anything here 😉