Wednesday, November 13, 2019

Good Start, Hopeful for More: Omens

I still haven't finished Kelley Armstrong's straightforward fantasy series Age of Legends, but that didn't stop me from picking up the beginning to another one of her series (the woman is prolific!), the Cainsville series starting with Omens.

Omens (The Cainsville Series Book 1) by [Armstrong, Kelley]The back copy says that the discovery that her parents were heinous serial killers is what brings Olivia to a small, inclusive town to hide from the scandal and perhaps discover who she really is (a person with supernatural abilities).

Which sounds great - who doesn't love a little Twin Peaks in their small town vibe? But even though this is only the first installment, I felt this story took a bit too long to get started. There was a much heavier emphasis on the question of whether or not Olivia's parents were in fact serial killers than the back-copy would lead you to believe. That meant that a majority of the story was taken up by a legal investigation into old murders, which was interesting just not what I was expecting.

The part I was expecting - the supernatural elements of the town and of Olivia herself- didn't feel as substantial to me. There was an indication of some vaguely superstitious lore, and the suggestion that not all the inhabitants of Cainsville are precisely human, but none of that felt integral to the plot of this story or tied together in any way to the main thrust of the narrative. For Olivia herself, the kinds of "knowledge" that she knows without knowing why didn't amount to much more than psychic storefront hokum - no dramatic premonitions that came to pass - and could be brushed off as coincidence. Olivia certainly did, not truly undergoing a sense of revelation about herself or her new town (or, hometown, if you like).

The interaction between the characters was all well and fine, but the plot is the thing, and that needs to get pulled together more tightly. There's a hint that the legal question of her parents' murdering tendencies hangs over the second volume as well, which I'm willing to try, but the pressure will be on for that book to deliver its promise on the supernatural front.

K. Rating: 3/5

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