Review: Omens by Kelley Armstrong

Posted November 16, 2020 by Sophia Rose in Reviews / 4 Comments

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Review: Omens by Kelley Armstrong

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Series: Cainsville #1
Genres: Mystery Romance, Romantic Suspense
Published by Dutton
Released on August 20, 2013
Pages: 496
Format: eBook
Source: Library
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The Delight

After devouring the Rockton series up to its latest release, I was hooked on the darker, gritter settings, the character development, and how the author brought along an exciting suspense plot.  The older Cainsville series caught my eye on the library shelf and, with excitement, I began with Omens.


Omens opens with a short prologue that grabs the reader and then jumps many years ahead to when a woman gets a shocking revelation and her world falls apart.  Olivia Taylor-Jones knows she lives a life of privilege as the only child of wealthy parents though her father has recently passed and affianced to a likeable handsome man of her own social set with ambitions for politics.  Olivia has plans to occupy herself with her own career and has no intentions of being a trophy wife.  Then, she gets hit with the news that not only is she adopted, but her birth parents are notorious serial killers and in prison.  The news media is having a field day, her mother distances herself, and James seems intent on staying clear.  Olivia learns in this moment that she is on her own and takes a stranger’s help to get away from all the accusing eyes and the frenzy.  She lands in Cainsville- a town she little understands has a connection to her family history and has deep secrets that she is part of especially now that she sees ominous signs and omens everywhere.  If this weren’t enough, her birth mom wishes to see her and begs of her to believe in her innocence and to look closely at the last murdered victims.  Olivia is determined to get to the truth even while suspecting Pam Arden is a master manipulator.  Her mom’s former lawyer, Gabriel Walsh an opportunist wants to be her partner.

Omens sets up a cast of characters, a suspense line with the murder investigation, but also a paranormal intrigue that builds behind all that.  Some parts of the book were slow build while others were action-packed.  It was obvious this book was laying the groundwork for the long-haul when it came to revealing the secrets of Cainsville and how Oliva’s parents and herself fit into that.  I thought this all paced out well and had a delicious atmosphere.  The unique supernatural elements in some of the revealed psychic gifts and fae magic are understated in Omens, but that is because they are slowly part of the reveal process.  Can’t wait to see what comes of it all.

Olivia’s life goes through an upheaval and she is the central figure.  She works hard to get a grasp on her emotions, deal with a shattered reputation at no cause of her own, transition from former life to something new, wrestle with the supernatural elements going on, and deal with the danger that comes with opening her parents’ cases again.  She has some sharp, rough edges, which got on my nerves at times but on the whole, she was an amazing and strong, smart woman.  I like her as a heroine.

Now, Gabriel is a fascinating sidekick for her.  He has a tough past that he overcame by protecting himself behind a wall of money and power that have pretty much been his end goals.  He’s ruthless and he definitely buys into the ends justify the means.  Olivia is a troubling new aspect in his life and she forces him to look after more than himself.
The side characters introduced from Gabriel’s psychic-reader aunt, to Oliva’s landlady, the scary ravens, the gargoyles, the regular patron at the diner who inspires caution and of course the old residents whispering about the newcomer.  Olivia broke things off with her fiance, James, and walked away from her old life and her adopted mom when they let the side down, but I have a feeling they are going to be a large part of the story still.  The villains were ruthless, but I loved discovering there are a shadowy group of villains behind them that are even scarier still.

All in all, the opening salvo of Omens was great and I can’t wait to keep going with the series.  Suspense, romance, and the paranormal all woven together so well.  Definitely a recommend!

Challenges Met

Library Love #14

About the Book
Omens by Kelly ArmstrongOMENS BY KELLY ARMSTRONG

Olivia Taylor-Jones is shattered to learn that she’s adopted. Her biological parents? Notorious serial killers. On a quest to learn more about her past, Olivia lands in the small town of Cainsville, Illinois. As she draws on long-hidden abilities, Olivia begins to realize that there are dark secrets in Cainsville—and powers lurking in the shadows.



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I was born and raised near Sacramento, CA. I have read since I was four years old and developed tastes that run the gamut of literature. I went away to college and have a degree in education, a certificate in family history research, and a certificate in social work. I worked for a non-profit agency with low income families for 20 years which included being responsible for the children’s library and promoting/teaching adult literacy. I have lived in Southeast Michigan for the last 18 years and I am currently a book addicted homemaker with a cat and husband who keep me grounded. Recently, I made it a challenge to review each book that I have read as a favor to author friends who said reviews are important. I have done reviews for Good Reads, Amazon, eBay, and Smashwords, but mostly at Goodreads and Amazon.

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Anne - Books of My Heart

I have always wanted to read this one and in fact have checked it out from the library a couple of times without managing it. I need to try harder! Great review!

Sophia Rose
1 year ago

This was one of my library waiting list books that I had to put off because it was going to come in while I was on vacation. It is a very intriguing world so far. I won the second book from Angela for a Library Love month and I just got the third book at book sale. 🙂 I’m hoping to work on the series through next year.

1 year ago

I loved the series and the first book sure did a good job of setting everything up and only later in the series will you discover the full extent of everything. I like the subtle magic and paranormal vibe of this world and the suspense feel. I hope you’ll continue to enjoy the series and I look forward to reading your thoughts on later books!

Sophia Rose
1 year ago
Reply to  Lola

Ooh, I like the idea of seeing how things play out. I’ve got the next two books ready to go.