Khanh the Killjoy

Omens - Kelley Armstrong Actual rating: 2.5Missed the mark. Completely missed it.Recommended for lovers of detective novels, because that's all this book is.I feel misled---specifically by the genres under which this book is categorized. I was led into reading this book under false pretenses. It is a far, far stretch to shelve this book as Urban Fantasy or Paranormal when it is more of a mystery with some very forced and frankly, nonsensical attempts at incorporating extremely, extremely minute elements of fantasy that ultimately didn't make a dent of a difference in the overall plot.This book started off wonderfully, then it just fizzled off into a completely different direction from what had initially attracted me towards it in the first place.Don't get me wrong, this was not a bad book by any means. The writing, as per Ms. Armstrong's usual style, is great. Succinct, to the point, never overly verbose, never confusing. The characters were well-done, not always likeable, but well-portrayed enough, and it helps that our main character is a highly likeable character. My problem is with this book's promise of an urban fantasy. Of the paranormal. In the author's introduction of the book, she tells us that there are hints scattered throughout the book, and that we're free to do our own investigation as we go along. I didn't need to, the terms sprinkled throughout are common enough so that any average reader of fantasy would know what a piskie, goblin, hobgoblin, bogeyman are. There are Welsh terms sprinkled throughout the book, also of that nature, and easy enough to understand...the problem with the supposed hints is that they go nowhere towards explaining the ultimate mystery of Olivia and what's behind the strange little town of Cainsville.The book centers around a very privileged young woman, Olivia, who has recently discovered that she is adopted. To make it worse, her biological parents are convicted serial killers. With all the media frenzy surrounding her, and a broken engagement to a very eligible and privileged political scion of an old money family, Olivia picks herself up and runs away from it all. She eventually ends up in the towns of Cainsville, where she meets ambulance-chaser lawyer Gabriel Walsh. The two of them then set out to solve the mystery of her biological parents, and set out to prove their supposed innocence.A privileged young woman gets uprooted from everything she knows and encounters an asshole in a new city. Sounds like the Fever series, doesn't it? That's where the comparison ends. The world of Fever is filled with dislikeable but highly complex characters within richly imagined, well-built world, fraught with utterly frightening underlying darkness, this book just falls flat in comparison. The characters are likeable, but dull. The ones who aren't likeable, are also dull. We do not get as much of a sense of character development, and there is no world building of the paranormal or the fantasy sort that would keep me mesmerized.Cainsville is, in short, Dullsville.I really liked Olivia's character. She is privileged, but she is not a bitch. She is a little sorry for herself and the mold of a the privileged life into which she has been forced to conform, but I never got much of the poor-little-rich-girl-woe-is-me vibe from her. She is an utterly likeable character. Olivia realizes that she is fortunate to live in such a privileged world, with her work helping the addict, she understands how good she's got it, even if she wishes things were different.I live with my mother in a house bigger than the entire shelter. I have a master’s degree from Yale. I work as a volunteer, and I don’t even need to do that. Do I appreciate it? No. On good days, it chafes, like a dress with a scratchy tag. On bad ones, I feel like a bobcat caught in a trap, ready to gnaw my foot off to escape. Then I look at someone like Cathy, and a wave of guilt and shame stifles the restlessness.Out of nowhere, Olivia is slammed with the news that she is not who she thinks she is. The media, the paparazzi, have a field day. Her face is plastered all over the news: it's big news, a socialite turns out to be the child of serial killers? That's the stuff that makes the media cream their pants. Her family and her fiancée...pretty much all the people she knows, really, prove themselves to be more or less fair-weather people, and Olivia does a pretty reasonable thing in my opinion. She runs away, she disguises herself; she wants to escape from it all, just for the moment.As a privileged woman, Olivia has a hard time slumming it, but she struggles through it well enough, she is not a whiner. I really liked that about her. She may not have known what she was getting herself into, but she manages her new situation with gritted teeth, and is even brave enough to confront her nightmares...namely, her parents and their past. Naturally, her mother claims to be innocent, and seeks Olivia's help in proving it."Prove us innocent of this crime and the other evidence will be called into question. A house of cards. Pull out one and the rest topples.” She leaned forward. “Can you do that for me, Olivia?"The rest of the book comprises Olivia and Gabriel working together in the course of their quest to prove her parents' supposed innocense. I enjoyed the way Olivia went through her investigation. She never acts so foolish as to make me cringe, she never deliberately places herself in the line of danger needlessly, and I feel that her behavior was rational, and within the limits of reason.I also liked the fact that there is no attempts at a grand romance to overwhelm this book. Olivia still has to deal with her fiancée on top of her reluctant involvement with the jackass lawyer, the town swindler, the lawyer-with-a-shady-reputation jackass of an alpha-male that is Gabriel Walsh. But he's no Jericho Barrons. And dare I say it, I think I might prefer Jericho Barrons, the lord who reigns over my list of douchebags.“I wouldn’t call Gabriel Walsh if I was on fire.” She pursed her lips. “No, I might. To sue everyone responsible---from the person who lit the match to those who made my clothes. But I’d wait until the fire was out. Otherwise, he’d just stand there until I was burned enough for a sizable settlement.”It is a good book...for a mystery. Because an investigative mystery is all that it is. The investigation is well-portrayed but it feels like the paranormal hype surrounding this book is just hype. There was almost nothing of the paranormal about it. If this book was a mystery, I would have liked it just fine. It promised to be what is was not, and that's ultimately what upsets me most.