Review: Visions by Kelley Armstrong

Posted August 15, 2014 by Carmel in Carmel, Reviews, Urban Fantasy / 60 Comments

Review: Visions by Kelley Armstrong
Visions 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.

topread Astonishing love_triangle

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!

Cainsville Series

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Owner, designer and main blogger behind Rabid Reads. Avid book reader, snowboard bunny, video gamer and Supernatural fan. I love all things paranormal, werewolves especially. Oh, and I’m Canadian, eh!

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60 responses to “Review: Visions by Kelley Armstrong

  1. Oh I’m sooo curious about this series! I heard many great things about the first book and now the second one and I coness that I really want to read them now. It sounds so good and perfect for me. Great review!

  2. Your site is like a drug paranormal junkies! I’m not a big fan of PNR before and now look at me. Adding books here and there that are PNR. Also, wolves are my newest obsession. Thank you so much!! HAHA.

    I haven’t read this series 🙁 or even heard of the author! Well, now I did. Thanks and fab review!

  3. I agree I haven’t met a character like Gabriel either! I adore him. I mean yes he’s prickly but we get to learn why he is that way. I loved the revelations about him in this one and that we are learning more about the town and the people.

    I do wish however, and I forgot to mention this in my review but this freaking series needs a damn glossary I got really freaking tired of constantly looking up those welsh words and HOPING that I got the correct meaning – alot of which I did not. I do NOT like when I can’t get a words meaning from it’s context and you remember that page when there were like at least 5 welsh words on the same page. I was freaking ticked off.
    Tabitha (Not Yet Read) recently posted…Review: Shadows by E.C. Blake

    • I’ve really enjoyed watching Gabriel’s growth from book 1 to 2, considering I HATED him in Omens. I found the vocabulary a bit confusing too, but I’m sure we’ll get the swing of ’em after another installment, or two. 😉

    • No, you definitely can’t skip book 1. The world-building is so details that you’ll definitely be lost if you do. Lots of readers enjoyed Omens, it just wasn’t for me unfortunately.

  4. I’m an Armstrong fan too, Carmel, but I haven’t started this series. I’m so very glad this installment gave you everything you love in an Armstrong book. Especially after Omens not delivering. I’m anxious to get to this series now. 🙂

  5. I’m glad that you enjoyed this one. While I think I like Omen more than you did, it was probably my least favorite adult Kelley Armstrong book. I’m debating about listening to this one. I need to go listen to a sample to see if I want to listen or read. Great review. I’m thinking listen because I could get to it sooner and you’ve gotten me really excited. 🙂
    Melanie Simmons recently posted…Those Who Wish Me Dead Audiobook Review

  6. I’ve read a YA book of hers (The Gathering) a few years ago and I thought it was so-so. This one however sounds really good! I might have more luck with her adult series from the sound of it. Fab review as always!

    • I’ve read mixed reviews about her YA series, so I’m kind of glad that it was her UF that first got me hooked. I’m not sure she’d still be one of my fav authors had I done the reverse.

    • Armstrong is quite versatile in her writing; her Women of the Otherworld series changes MC’s from book to book, and each story is very different. Mind you, some are better than others. Plus, she’s Canadian!

  7. I still haven’t read Omens, but for me Kelley was always one of my fave YA authors so I really don’t know how her UF books would work out for me. It does sound great and I’m sure I’ll give it a try (as soon as I overcome my Kate Daniels addiction). Great review, Carmel 🙂
    Tanja recently posted…Silver Shadows by Richelle Mead

    • It’s always difficult to switch genres, especially when you loved your first experience with an author. You can’t help but worry that the other novels won’t live up to your already high expectations. Having not read her YA yet, I can’t really say for sure, but personally I love her UF books.

  8. I feel so out of the loop since I haven’t read any of Armstrongs books before but everyone loves her books so much! I do like the sound of this one so i think maybe this series would be a good start to start reading her books (of course–I’d read the first one first LOL)
    Lily recently posted…Some Boys: Review

  9. I was intrigued with Omens when it first came out, but I wanted to see how the rest of the series went before I picked it up. It sounds awesome, I love the omens in here which seems to have a puzzle solving flavour to it! The romance also sounds like it isn’t insta-love and will build up over the course of the series – I’m already sold. Great review Carmel!
    Jeann recently posted…Read Play Blog #2 – Favourite Gaming Genre

  10. Amber Elise  

    So I have never read a Kelley Armstrong book, I am about to remedy this! I’m assuming that Visions isn’t a standalone read so I’ll have to read Omens, even if you didn’t like it.

    Thanks for the review Carmel!

    Amber Elise @ Du Livre

  11. I know that a lot of people had issues with Omens, but I adored it. It’s making me VERY excited to hear that people are loving where the series is going now though! It’s a bit odd that there isn’t more of a focus on the Larsen murders, but I think Armstrong is planning on this being a longer series (saw her mentioning book 4 on twitter) so I’m convinced those threads will be revisited. I’m so glad you loved this, Carmel!
    Danya recently posted…Review: A Breath of Frost by Alyxandra Harvey