Olivia Taylor-Jones is shattered to learn that she’s adopted. Her biological parents? Notorious serial killers. On a quest to learn more about her past, Olivia lands in the small town of Cainsville, Illinois. As she draws on long-hidden abilities, Olivia begins to realize that there are dark secrets in Cainsville—and powers lurking in the shadows.
“First you buy me a mocha. Then you let me help you hide a body. Now you take me to a biker clubhouse. Best. Day. Ever.”
On a whim, I decided to reread Cainsville. I couldn’t be happier at this decision. This is a favourite series of mine, and it has been a while since I read the series in full. I’m so glad to be sharing my reread with everyone reading these reviews.
Omens opens up at the start of the worst day in Olivia Taylor-Jones’ life. The night that she learns that she isn’t actually Olivia. She learned she was adopted and given a new name. She was originally Eden Larsen, and her real parents are Todd and Pamela Larsen – two of the most notorious serial killers. Despite growing up with a loving, and wealthy, family, finding out that you were adopted when you are an adult, because of the media, isn’t a pleasant experience. Especially when your adopted father is dead, and your mother running away to Europe to escape the press without you, leaving you to sort things out on your own. What a day.
Despite her luxurious upbringing, Olivia has a good head on her shoulders. Or at least she tries to have one. She doesn’t talk to the journalists, she gets out of the spotlight, she tries to get a job and an apartment she can afford. She doesn’t blow all her money in a day even though she only has a little bit. And after a bit of prodding, she ends up in Cainsville.
Cainsville is interesting. The first time I read Omens, I checked no less than three times during reading it to see if this was even urban fantasy. Because it doesn’t feel that way at first. It slowly slides from the mundane into the supernatural. Starting with Olivia seeing omens in everyday things – and she doesn’t always interpret the omens the same way others would say. But this can be written off as a superstition she has. But more and more evidence mounts, from Olivia herself and Cainsville with the town Elders and the gargoyles, and you can no longer deny something freaky is happening here.
And even then, by the end of the book you still can have a little doubt in the back of your mind. “Maybe Olivia is just crazy?” This is very low on the urban fantasy parts. Don’t worry, it grows with the story.
The story of Omens isn’t unraveling the mystery of what Cainsville is – that isn’t even on Olivia’s radar, really. No, the story is about Olivia finding out where she came from and coming to terms with it. And part of doing that is going to see her biological mother in jail. And Pamela Larsen asks Olivia to take her case to some people who work to get people out of jail. Which Olivia is reluctant to do without investigating into whether her bio parents did the crime in the first place.
So that’s what she does. Armed with a sort of sexy, sort of in-it-for-the-money and with few morals lawyer, Gabriel Walsh, Olivia looks into the deaths her parents are said to have caused. This investigation takes her to psychiatrists and biker bars, and has her doing things she never would have considered a week earlier. Also Gabriel is awesome, not only because he has a not so pleasant past we slowly learn about and not only because he is a morally gray character. He just is awesome.
I love Omens a bunch. But more because of what it sets up than because of what it actually is. It is a wonderful setup to a world, story, and characters that I will in a very short time absolutely love to pieces. However, on its own it isn’t much. It doesn’t tell a complete story, though it does give an attempt to have a conclusion to climax.