Review: Omens by Kelley Armstrong

August 20, 2013 5 stars, Book Review 13 ★★★★★


#1 New York Times bestselling author Kelley Armstrong begins her new series with Omens, featuring a compelling new heroine thrust into a decades-old murder case and the dark mysteries surrounding her strange new home.

Twenty-four-year-old Olivia Taylor Jones has the perfect life. The only daughter of a wealthy, prominent Chicago family, she has an Ivy League education, pursues volunteerism and philanthropy, and is engaged to a handsome young tech firm CEO with political ambitions.

But Olivia’s world is shattered when she learns that she’s adopted. Her real parents? Todd and Pamela Larsen, notorious serial killers serving a life sentence. When the news brings a maelstrom of unwanted publicity to her adopted family and fiancé, Olivia decides to find out the truth about the Larsens.

Olivia ends up in the small town of Cainsville, Illinois, an old and cloistered community that takes a particular interest in both Olivia and her efforts to uncover her birth parents’ past.

Aided by her mother’s former lawyer, Gabriel Walsh, Olivia focuses on the Larsens’ last crime, the one her birth mother swears will prove their innocence. But as she and Gabriel start investigating the case, Olivia finds herself drawing on abilities that have remained hidden since her childhood, gifts that make her both a valuable addition to Cainsville and deeply vulnerable to unknown enemies. Because there are darker secrets behind her new home and powers lurking in the shadows that have their own plans for her.

Mystery, Mayhem and a touch mystical – Omens will keep you reading late into the night.

Packed full of mystery and whodunit, OMENS is a wonderful mystery novel featuring a strong willed young woman coming into her own. Olivia makes quite a few miss-steps along the course of this novel but I couldn’t help but root for her.

Olivia is an ivy-league educated, volunteering member of the upper class social elite.  Being the only child of very rich parents, I found it no surprise she’s engaged to a future politician. Then one night her mother informs her – she’s adopted. But her birth parents aren’t just your run of the mill parents that couldn’t take care of her – Nope – they are convicted serial killers! I’d flip the freak out – wouldn’t you? Talk about a massive identity crisis. When everyone in her life doesn’t react the way she expects them to, Olivia hightails it, and ends up in a very peculiar town that is somehow connected to her family’s past. She starts seeing omens and portents everywhere.

All these years of hiding my superstitious side, and suddenly I was blurting weather omens to strangers. A cat washing its ears meant rain? I’d never heard of that before, no more than I remembered hearing that killing spiders was bad luck or that a black cat was good luck. Even people without a superstitious bone in their body knew that black cats were supposed to be bad luck. – pg 113

The town is strange, and both it and the residents seem to have many secrets worth discovering. Now things start to get really interesting for Olivia when a certain man walks on the scene. So with the help, well maybe help is the wrong word…with the paid services of Gabriel, an intimidating lawyer who just happened to previously represent her mother, Olivia is searching for truths about her parent’s alleged crimes.

The yummy but extremely offputting Gabriel really has a way of getting a person’s back up:

I’m upset, and you see that as weakness, which you make very clear, however inadvertently. You say, ‘Take a moment,’ but what I hear is ‘Good God, not this again.’ – pg 234

Gabriel is a guy that will leave you wondering at first: is he a good guy or a bad guy? Or maybe just “What the hell is with this guy?” I like him, but then I adore the villains of stories just as much as the heroes. So figure out for yourself what he is. I must say one thing I’m very much of a mind lately that good guys often do bad things.

Olivia and Gabriel have a sparky chemistry that you rarely see done well.  I could not get enough of these two!

“You’re not shooting the cat. It would leave a mess.”

“True. Also, the killing of small animals is the entrance ramp onto the serial killer superhighway.” I paused. “Damn. I bet the cat knows that. He picked me because I can’t hurt him, or I’d be fulfilling my biological destiny. So I’m screwed. The cat stays. Unless you’ll kill him…” I glanced at him “How does fifty bucks sound?” – pg 266

Omens is very much a mystery novel. If you are hoping for your next new urban fantasy from Kelley Armstrong you might be disappointed by how very on the light side of fantasy OMENS is. What it lacks in fantasy it kicks you in the butt with for suspense mystery. Don’t get me wrong it has a strong vein of fantasy and mysticism running through it, but that is by no means the driving force behind this book. I loved the fact that it was all about the mystery and whodunit. For those of you that love that genre but also love your bit of fantasy this is definitely the book for you and indeed isn’t a book to miss at all!

Read my interview with Kelley Armstrong!!


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• A copy was provided by the publisher for an honest review. Quotes are from an unpublished edition of this title and are subject to change. All opinions expressed are my own. Please note that this post also contains affiliate links. View our full Blog Policy

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Tabitha (Pabkins)

When I'm in the zone I can flip book pages faster than the eye can see - screaming "More Input!" I'm a book, yarn, & art supply hoarding goblin who loves to draw, make toys and craft all sorts of creepy cute things. My current habit is to listen to audio books while I'm arting it up!
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13 Responses to “Review: Omens by Kelley Armstrong”

  1. Mandy Earles

    I’m not usually a fan of mystery/suspense novels, but this sounds really good. And I love Kelley’s writing, so I’m gonna have to check this one out. Great review!

    • Tabitha the Pabkins

      Thanks! I went through a big phase of mysteries and suspense books ages ago. So I still really enjoy them from time to time. But this was so wonderful because it mixed so much of what I loved about mysteries and added a splash of fantasy – its marvelous!

  2. kimbacaffeinate

    I am glad I read your review, I love the mystery aspect and knew it was going to be different after seeing an interview with her, but I have read several unfavorable reviews and thing your thoughts will more align with mine. Great review Pabs 🙂
    kimbacaffeinate recently posted…Along Came a Spider by Kate SeRineMy Profile

    • Tabitha the Pabkins

      Thanks Kimberly! Mystery once used to be one of my fav genres years ago I went thru a big phase. So this was excellent because it was heavy on that end and light on the fantasy. I haven’t read any unfavorable reviews but then…I haven’t read any reviews yet LOL. I do know that in my interview with Kelley she said she was concerned of readers coming to this book expecting Urban Fantasy and that isn’t what it is. Its Mystery/Crime with a very small dash of thriller/fantasy.

      I know you’ll love it!

  3. Jaime Lester

    This sounds AWESOME. I don’t read a ton of mystery and suspense, but I tend to thoroughly enjoy them when I do. This one makes me curious. I love that the MC is an older gal. Still not quite as old as little old me, but still! And I am intensely curious about Gabriel. I will definitely be adding this one to my TBR. And thank you for the review!