Review: Visions by Kelley Armstrong
by Kelley Armstrong Series: Cainsville #2 Published by Random House Published on:
August 19, 2014 Genres: Urban Fantasy Pages:
496 Format: eARC Source: First to Read
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In the second book in bestselling author Kelley Armstrong's exciting new Cainsville series, Olivia's newly discovered power to read omens leads to the discovery of a gruesome crime with troubling connections to her hometown.
Omens, the first installment in Kelley Armstrong's Cainsville series, introduced Olivia Taylor-Jones, daughter of notorious serial killers, and Gabriel Walsh, the self-serving, morally ambiguous lawyer who became her unlikely ally. Together, they chased down a devious killer and partially cleared her parents of their horrifying crimes.
Their success, however, is short lived. While Olivia takes refuge in the old, secluded town of Cainsville, Gabriel's past mistakes come to light, creating a rift between them just when she needs his help the most.
Olivia finds a dead woman in her car, dressed to look like her, but the body vanishes before anyone else sees it. Olivia's certain it's another omen, a sign of impending danger. But then she learns that a troubled young woman with a connection to Cainsville went missing just days earlier--the same woman Olivia found dead in her car. Someone has gone to great lengths to kill and leave this young woman as a warning. But why? And what role has Olivia's new home played in this disturbing murder?
Olivia's effort to uncover the truth places her in the crosshairs of old and powerful forces, forces that have their own agenda, and closely guarded secrets they don't want revealed.
As a long time Kelley Armstrong fan, I hate to say this but I didn’t like OMENS. I just couldn’t connect with the characters, it was more psychological thriller than urban fantasy, and readers were left with an exorbitant amount of unanswered questions. I honestly expected the worst when I started reading VISIONS, instead… I absolutely freaking LOVED IT! I instantly clicked with Olivia, Gabriel & Ricky, the plot was more closely tied to the main story arc & the town of Cainsville, and we get answers—not many, but enough to make me feel like we’re making some progress. My do-I-really-want-to-read-this dilemma was transformed overnight into an unrelenting craving for book 3. VISIONS is 500 pages of 5-star epicsauce!
I was immediately sucked in by the quality of Armstrong’s storytelling and writing; between the influx of lore surrounding the Wild Hunt, and the murder mystery—this novel was near impossible to put down. It’s apparent that the victims, town, and mythology are somehow linked, but what it all means is still anyone’s guess. There’s a game afoot, and Ricky, Gabriel & Olivia are the pawns however, it still remains to be seen who the actual players are. I liked how I was never quite sure whether the clues were real or just another one of Taylor-Jones’ omens; it made the puzzle even more intriguing because it was near impossible to tell fact from fiction. I won’t go into the lore seeing how none of it is mentioned in the blurb, but I will go so far as to say that I’m no longer doubting this book’s urban fantasy status.
I found myself loving Gabriel more and more with every new page I read. In OMENS, he was stiff and prickly, and although he is still both of those things, he’s also cocky, brave and intelligent. His actions say one thing, but his body language says another, and I really liked how Armstrong was able to capture the minute changes in his posture and facial expression. I don’t believe that I have ever met a character quite like Gabriel which makes him a real joy to read about because he’s just so unpredictable. Olivia grew on me quite a bit in this installment as well; she still makes a couple of stupid mistakes—like following her cat into a creepy, abandoned house—but otherwise seemed to have wised-up.
There was even a bit of romance in this novel which surprised me while also being a welcomed addition. It’s a love triangle, but not. There’s definitely something going on between Liv and Gabriel; I’m just not exactly sure what it is yet. It’s still early in the series, so it’s hard to say for sure what the author has planned. The off-scene sex helped bring some much needed heat to an otherwise dark narrative, and Armstrong’s foreplay is better than most writers’ on page romp sessions anyway. I really liked Olivia and Ricky’s relationship; he’s exactly what she needs at this point in her life, plus he’s damned fine. There’s a Harley scene that’ll have you calling up your friends with bikes just to give it a try. I suspect that this thing with Gallagher is only a fling, but that doesn’t mean that I can’t enjoy the ride while it lasts!
Double-entendres, twists, lore, secrets, and hunktastic men—VISIONS was everything I wanted book 1 to be, and more!
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