I actually got this book to review from the publisher nearly a year ago (hangs head in shame), when the publisher contacted me to give me the 2nd book in the series last week, I figured I better read this book before accepting another book in the series. It ended up being a very interesting and engaging read. I enjoyed the world and characters. The 2nd book in the Cainsville series, Visions, comes out in late August.
I have read the first four Otherworld novels by Armstrong (which were okay, but I wasnt a huge fan) and Armstrongs Darkest Powers YA series (which I also thought was okay but nothing special). Armstrong is one of those authors I want to like, so I keep reading her stuff...however I am never really enamoured with her writing style. Cainsville has changed that, I liked this book much better than her previous novels.
Olivia Taylor Jones is a society girl, daughter to an elite Chicago businessman. She is engaged to a handsome CEO with Senatorial ambitions and lives a life of luxury, volunteering with the less fortunate because she needs something to do. That all comes crashing down when she finds out she was adopted and is actually the daughter of two convicted serial killers, Todd and Pamela Larsen. Now ostracized by her friends and family, she struggles to find a way to survive. She ends up working with her mothers former lawyer, Gabriel Walsh, in an effort to find out the history behind the Larsens and if they really are guilty of the crimes they committed.
Olivia is forced to flee the aggressive media frenzy of Chicago and ends up in Cainsville, the Larsens home town. However Cainsville is not quite the simple small town it first appears.
This is a well done novel that is more of a mystery than a paranormal read. There are some very subtle paranormal elements throughout (premonitions, second-site is real, etc). I have a feeling these paranormal elements will be expanded in future books.
Cainsville, the town, really makes the story. There are all these little mysteries in Cainsville that really keep the reader interested and guessing. By the end of the story you really want to know more about this town.
Olivia is an interesting character and has some interesting background. She is well educated and very smart, but hasnt really had to work for much her whole life. She is outgoing and wants to take responsibility for her life. I thought her reaction to discovering her real parents were serial killers (and the reaction of those around her) was a bit overdone. I mean Olivia goes through a serious identity crisis. I also thought it was pretty unrealistic that the mother (adoptive mother) and fiance who loved her would abandon her because of her true parentage. The whole thing was a bit contrived.
The above being said I did enjoy the mystery behind her real parents conviction as it unraveled. The story got more and more interesting as it unwound. My only other complaint is that this was a long, long book and it felt long. I really felt like things could have moved a bit faster and been a bit tighter.
Not a lot was resolved in this book, this book was very much here to set up the story and introduce the characters. There are a ton of interesting and quirky characters throughout the story.
Overall this was an engaging and well done book. I loved the town of Cainsville and cant wait to see what other mysteries the town holds. I enjoyed Olivia as a character and am eager to see how her ability to see omens unravels in future books. I will definitely be reading the next book in this series. This was my favorite Armstrong book yet. Recommended to those who love mysteries with some subtle paranormal elements.
I was so excited to hear that Kelley started a new series, and this one sounded remarkable. I dove into it not long after it arrived and only came up for air when I had to. It's just that fantastic.
With a first book in a series, I knew that there was going to be a lot of world-building. I expected it and I wasn't disappointed. From Olivia's posh life to when she has nothing but the clothes on her back to Cainsville, a picturesque town with a lot of secrets, the attention to details by Armstrong bring each scene to life.
There are quite a few characters and not all of them are introduced in Omens. I'm looking forward to meeting Olivia's birth father, who is currently in prison. Many characters just cameo'd and their actions didn't make a lot of sense to me, which I'm hoping is revealed in an upcoming installment. I like the premise of Olivia having a talent for Omen's and how she starts to know who she is and come into her own. But, while Armstrong gave a few answers, by the end, I had more questions.
Page-turning, rich in suspense, impeccable character development and amazing world building, I couldn't get enough. I need more and I fear it will be a long wait for the next one! While I couldn't stand Gabriel at first, the lawyer helping Olivia find out what really happened to the murders her birth parents were accused of, by the end, I found him charming, yet dangerous. I can't wait to see what those two get into next! Highly recommend!