Review: Omens by Kelley Armstrong

Omens by Kelley Armstrong, UK edition cover.

Title: Omens (A Cainsville Novel, #1)
Author: Kelley Armstrong
Genre: Urban Fantasy
Publisher: Sphere (20th August 2013)

A life shattered in one moment

Olivia Jones has lived a life of privilege and good fortune. But on the eve of her wedding she discovers two shocking facts. One – she was adopted. Two – her biological parents are notorious serial killers. And now the secret’s out, she’s in immediate danger.

A young woman forced on the run

Running for her life, Liv must face reality in the most brutal and terrifying way. But then she is confronted by a tantalising hope – is it possible that her parents weren’t guilty of the murders after all? And if so, who did commit them?

And the mysterious town that gave her sanctuary. At a price.

Arriving at the remote town of Cainsville, Liv believes she has found the perfect place to hide while she uncovers the truth. But Cainsville is no ordinary town – and Liv’s arrival no accident.

Kelley Armstrong’s brilliant new novel is a gripping and atmospheric thriller about a town where secrets are soaked into every stone – and omens should never be ignored . . .

Rating: **** (4 stars)

OMENS is the first book in Kelley Armstrong’s exciting new adult series CAINSVILLE. In it we follow the story of Olivia Jones the only child in a wealthy family who discovers that she is adopted just as the story of her origins breaks. Needing time and space to get her head together, Liv finds her way to the remote town of Cainsville through a series of coincidences (which might not be quite so coincidental after all).

I’m going to preface this review by saying, for those who don’t know, that I am a HUGE Kelley Armstrong fan. I loved reading her adult series WOMEN OF THE OTHERWORLD and its young adult spin-offs. It would therefore be fair to say that I was going to have one of two reactions to this novel and series: a) I would absolutely adore it, or b) I would detest it. I fell firmly into category a.

One of the things that I enjoyed about OMENS is the author’s note that Armstrong gives at the beginning of the book. In it she gives the reader a couple of choices about how they could approach the book. I chose to have things unfold as they do in the book – although I do have a few guesses about what is to come in the series. For me, the beginning of OMENS was very reminiscent of BITTEN the first book in the WOMEN OF THE WORLD SERIES. Not in terms of the setting, or the characters per se, but in the actual mood of the chapters and the main character. Like Elena, Liv exists in a world she finds a little small and constricting but she desperately wants to fit into it. Armstrong gives us a very strong impression of Liv within the first couple of chapters that sets the scene for the rest of the book.

Most of OMENS is narrated by Liv herself, however there are the odd few chapters which are narrated by outside characters instead. This was a really interesting technique, and Armstrong used it to great effect within the narrative. With the story only being told from Liv’s point of view, the narrative of the book is actual quite restrictive – the reader can only know what Liv herself knows. By adding these extra narrative voices Armstrong really expands the story, so that as the reader we get glimpses of the bigger picture of the novel and series. Quite often these glimpses left me with more questions, especially about Cainsville and its inhabitants, than they did answers.

If you are a fan of Kelley Armstrong, or a lover of urban fantasy with a little bit of mystery wrapped in there then you should give this book and series a go. Having read OMENS I am left with more questions than answers, and I am looking forward to reading the second book in this mysterious series.

4 thoughts on “Review: Omens by Kelley Armstrong

  1. I haven’t read much Kelley Armstrong since Bitten (which I did love) strangely enough. This sounds like a nice place for me to start over – fresh series, genre etc. The glimpse into other’s p.o.v. seems interesting – will the rest of the series be focused on Liv or switch to one of these other characters?


    • Looking at the blurb for Visions, the second book in the series, on Kelley Armstrong’s website the next book will be focused on Liv too. So maybe the series will focus on her, I don’t know.


      • I hope it does. I think that’s why I didn’t get far beyond Bitten in her other series. Changing up the lead is a bit confusing, I usually only read ‘companion’ novels in romance series. 🙂 I know, I know, I should change, lol.


  2. Pingback: Review: Visions by Kelley Armstrong | The Flutterby Room

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