#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.
My thoughts on the book:
I had extremely high expectations for Omens, as Kelley Armstrong is my favorite author in the world, and this book actually managed to exceed those expectations. With strange, yet endearing, characters; an intriguing and unique plot; and a rich setting, this series is set to be one of Armstrong's best. While different from the Women of the Otherworld series, this novel shows that the Cainsville series will be just as enchanting. I could not put this novel down because I was dying to know all of Cainsville's secrets, which still have not been divulged. Needless to say, I'm already counting the days until the release of the second installment.
Olivia is a fantastic main character, and I really enjoyed learning about this new world through her eyes. While she's still a skeptic (and skepticism usually ends after the first novel), it is clear that she's not completely discounting the explanations of the Cainsville residents. With her money and upbringing one would expect Olivia to be a spoiled brat, but she proves herself as a decent, albeit morally flexible, person. I feel that the moral flexibility is due to the fact that she's trying to find herself along with the fact that the situations that require the moral flexibility are ambiguous. There really is no right or wrong answer for many of these occurrences, and while the reader may be quick to jump to a judgment, Armstrong does an excellent job of playing devil's advocate through Gabriel. Speaking of Gabriel, I think I'm in love with him. No romance really developed in this book. Armstrong seems to be focused on building friendships before romance, which is a nice change in literature. However, I am totally shipping Gabriel and Olivia, and I really hope they get together. Gabriel makes some decisions I don't agree with, but overall, he seems to be a decent person in his own way. He's a strong and unique character, and I enjoyed getting to know him. The other Cainsville residents are mysterious, and I am not quite sure what's going on with them. I'm going to wait and see it through at Armstrong's pace instead of utilizing the hints in other languages that she places along the way. I feel that she knows this world best and knows when to reveal its secrets. Olivia's adopted mother is a useless waste of space (what you'd expect from an heiress - and what I expected from Olivia), and James is just a shallow skeeze, in my opinion. I really didn't like him at all. Yucko.
The pacing for this novel is perfect, and the mystery will keep you guessing until the very end. Armstrong throws in so many twists and turns that I got literary whiplash! I couldn't put this book down, and I spent 2 nights staying up until the wee hours of the morning reading it. I am obviously paying for that today, but it was well worth it. I love the setting and that part of the novel (and series) is set in Chicago. Living in the area, it's easy to picture what Cainsville would look like. I love how the city seems to have a life of its own. I also found it interesting that there are no churches in Cainsville because the gargoyles (who are supposed to protect against evil) also protect against organized religion. This sounds like an idea I can get behind, and again brings up a lot of existential thoughts regarding right and wrong. Also, Armstrong touches on, and challenges, settler colonial ideals a couple of times, which I enjoyed. This novel has many layers and will keep you engaged on many different levels.
Overall, I'd recommend this book to anyone. If you love mysteries, New Adult, or Paranormal novels, then you will enjoy Omens.