|Omens by Kelley Armstrong|
|Reviewer: Loralei Haylock|
|Summary: A fantastic start to a new series that may disappoint Otherworld fans, but for those looking for a superb crime novel with a supernatural undercurrent, they don't get much better than this.|
|Buy? Yes||Borrow? Yes|
|Pages: 496||Date: August 2013|
|External links: Author's website|
Olivia Taylor-Jones has a charmed life. Her family is rich, her fiance perfect and though she has some questions about her career, she knows that things will work themselves out. Until she learns that she's adopted - her true parents America's most infamous serial killers. Suddenly on the run from the media, Olivia finds shelter in the small town of Cainsville. It's a strange sort of place - full of oddball characters and gargoyles that seem to only appear at certain times.
When Gabriel Walsh, the lawyer who represented her mother during her latest appeal, comes to Olivia, he brings with him the tantalising prospect that Olivia's birth parents might be innocent. Olivia doesn't want to get her hopes up, but she feels she can't rest until it's been fully investigated. Because if her parents didn't commit the murders, then who did?
Omens is an apt title for this book. All throughout the narrative, there's a creeping sense of danger just around the corner. It's a crime story that borrows a lot from horror - moving gargoyles, ravens, mysterious Omens - and though it's not overtly frightening, there's a definite sense of tension and unease ringing through every page.
The characters are deftly drawn - despite her upbringing in a privileged family, Olivia is utterly relatable. She has the confidence and naivety of riches, but she has an integrity and desire to prove herself that gets you behind her from the opening pages. Her relationship with Gabriel is also well done, the slow burn of build up to trust and then to friendship over this book promises that the probable love story between them will be all the more satisfying when they eventually get there.
Unlike Armstrong's Women of the Otherworld series, the fantastical side of the story isn't overt. There are lots of hints and suggestions peppered throughout, but readers looking for another werewolf story are going to be disappointed. Instead, this is a fast paced crime thriller with an undercurrent of the fantastical which I imagine will come more to the fore in the next instalment.
The only slightly jarring aspect of the book was the switch between Olivia's first person narrative and the third person narrative of other characters. I can see why being inside Olivia's head was necessary to truly empathise with her, but the transition did take a bit of getting used to, though not enough to truly impact on my enjoyment of the book.
A fantastic start to a new series that may disappoint Otherworld fans, but for those looking for a superb crime novel with a supernatural undercurrent, they don't get much better than this.
My thanks to the publishers for sending a copy.
For slightly more fantastical serial killers, check out Elysian Fields by Suzanne Johnson.
You can read more book reviews or buy Omens by Kelley Armstrong at Amazon.co.uk
You can read more book reviews or buy Omens by Kelley Armstrong at Amazon.com.
Omens by Kelley Armstrong is in the Top Ten Fantasy Books of 2013.
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