Book Review: Omens by Kelley Armstrong

omenskaSynopsis: Olivia Taylor Jones has the perfect life. At twenty-four she can boast of wealthy parents, an ivy league education, and a handsome fiance with political ambitions… at least until she finds out she was adopted. When Olivia discovers that her birth parents are notorious serial killers, she decides to find out the truth about the Larsons. Meeting up with her mother’s former lawyer, Olivia starts to investigate what really happened and finds herself drawing on abilities that make her both a valuable asset and vulnerable to her enemies. The dark secrets lurk in the shadows have their own plans for Olivia.

Note: Kelly has left some “literary Easter eggs” of foreign words and phrases within the text. You can either continue reading past them, learning things as Olivia does, or you can look them up online to translate and get the answers earlier.

Cover: The artwork isn’t eye-catching in a bright way, but will still grab attention for its stark darkness. Plus it ties in with the novel, as isn’t always the case with cover art. It is rather impressive how the horror-suspense vibe is portrayed without being cheesy or clichéd.

Format: A little wonky with some chapters titled and others numbered.

Plot: Olivia doesn’t find out she’s adopted until she’s twenty-four, which is bad enough, but learning that her birthparents are notorious serial killers changes her life completely. While running from… well, everyone, Olivia ends up in a very peculiar town called Cainsville and meets the lawyer who represented her mother. Olivia accepts Gabriel’s help to investigate her parents’ case in the hope she will finally learn the truth: Did they do it?

POV: The perspective bounces around a bit. Mostly Olivia in numbered chapters, but titled ones follow a different perspective, which allows the reader to learn things Olivia cannot know. This keeps the book interesting and keeps from being confusing as to who’s world you’re seeing.

Romance/Relationship: Olivia is engaged to James, but you know he’s not going to last as he has no depth of character –both in personality and how he is written. Kelley manages to portray James in such a way that you know he is written with purpose and skill. When Gabriel enters the picture you assume he will replace James as a love interest but that’s not quite the case. Instead, Olivia and Gabriel form a partnership that is fairly asexual. While it is possible Gabriel could become a romantic lead in the future, for now it is a relationship built on trust rather than chemistry.

Character Development: Gabriel is a character you want to like and are willing to give the benefit of the doubt despite his actions. It could be just as easy to hate him, but only Kelley’s skill keeps this character from being despised. The way Gabriel goes from being cold and antisocial to being protective and enjoying Olivia’s company takes the course of the novel, so as you see this growth develop it feels natural and keeps you rooting for Gabriel to be the hero you know he can be… though as a reader you have more faith in him than Olivia does.

Pondering: At the end I’m left with these questions. (1) What’s with Eden’s medical records? (2) Who really killed all the victims? (3) When will Olivia meet her birth father? And bonus question (5) What other gargoyles will be found and how many are there?

Quotes:  Let’s play follow-the-omens instead. The game’s afoot.

Verdict: I was a bit slow to begin this book because, as much as I love Kelley’s stories, the premise wasn’t really “my thing.” Yet before I even finished the first chapter I was hooked. Omens is one of those books you can’t put down and would willingly blow off other commitments just to keep reading. Waiting to get the next book is going to be torture…

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Author: JaimeKristal

JaimeKristal is a freelance editor and writer. She started her book review blog "Tales of a Booklover" for the enjoyment of sharing her love of reading.

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