Friday, September 8, 2017

Friday #Review - Rituals (Cainsville #5) by Kelley Armstrong #Urban #Fantasy

Series: Cainsville # 5
Format: Hardcover, 496 pages
Release Date: August 15, 2017
Publisher: Random House Canada
Source: Library
Genre: Urban Fantasy

The fifth book and the exciting conclusion to bestselling author Kelley Armstrong’s “impossible-to-put-down” Cainsville series, in which she mixes hard-hitting crime writing with phenomenal world-building to create a brand of fiction all her own.

When Olivia Taylor-Jones found out she was not actually the adopted child of a privileged Chicago family but of a notorious pair of convicted serial killers, her life exploded. Running from the fall-out, she found a refuge in the secluded but oddly welcoming town of Cainsville, Illinois, but she couldn’t resist trying to dig out the truth about her birth parents’ crimes. She began working with Gabriel Walsh, a fiendishly successful criminal lawyer who also had links to the town; their investigation soon revealed Celtic mysteries at work in Cainsville, and also entangled Olivia in a tense love triangle with the calculating Gabriel and her charming biker boyfriend, Ricky. Worse, troubling visions revealed to Olivia that the three of them were reenacting an ancient drama pitting the elders of Cainsville against the mysterious Huntsmen with Olivia as the prize.

In the series’ fifth and final novel, not only does Gabriel’s drug addict mother, who he thought was dead, make a surprise reappearance, but Kelley Armstrong delivers a final scary and surprising knock-out twist. It turns out a third supernatural force has been at work all along, a dark and malevolent entity that has had its eye on Olivia since she was a baby and wants to win at any cost.

Story Locale: In and around Chicago, Illinois

Series Overview: The Cainsville Series: 1) Omens 2) Visions 3) Deceptions 4) Betrayals 5) Rituals

Rituals, by author Kelley Armstrong, is the fifth and final installment in the authors Cainsville series. Rituals picks up approximately 5 weeks after the ending of Betrayals. Eden Larson, better known as Olivia Taylor-Jones, must make a choice. Liv is caught between two rival supernatural forces, Cwn Annwn and Twlwyth Teg. Each side has played dangerous games trying to lure Liv to their side. Then, of course, there is the strange love triangle between two men she cares for a lot. 

Ricky (the reincarnation of Arawn) and Gabriel (the reincarnation of Gwynn). Liv (the reincarnation of Matilda) was granted a brief period in which to make her decision. With her time slowly running out to make a choice, with her parents appeal slowly working its way onto the docket where they hope to be freed after 22 years, now would be the perfect time to throw in everything out the window of what you've known about Liv, her parents, and the twisted triangle between Liv, Ricky, & Gabriel.

Here's where things get tricky for me. So, yes, there is a long thought dead character who returns to Cainsville and she has plans for Gabriel, and boy do those plans really end up twisted. Said dead character is a powerful cloud that hangs over nearly everything in this story. Meanwhile, a third faction, a very dangerous faction at that, rears its ugly head and demands that Liv choose their side. After all, they claim that Liv owes them, and they plan to collect. But, the fun part of this story for me, is that Liv and Gabriel finally, thank you baby Jesus, have a moment all of their own. 

So, now Liv has all sorts of serious questions and situations to deal with. Can she save her father Todd who truly deserves to be freed from prison after all these years? Can Liv truly choose the correct side, or will Liv fall in line with the power that doesn't distinguish between good and evil intentions. It feeds on chaos and destroys without mercy. And, last but not least, will Liv's choice between Ricky and Gabriel lead to a peaceful outcome, or will history repeat itself all over again? 

Armstrong brings the Cainsville series to a twisted, and action packed finale with pretty much every storyline wrapped up quite nicely. Armstrong's villain was really good, and dark, and dangerous, and gave the reader so many different emotions. I adored the arrival of Dryads Alex, and Helia who offer to help, and end up part of something that they couldn't have figured out, and offered some comic relief. How about the revelation about TC? Did anyone else laugh when Liv finds out who he really is? I was absolutely fine with Liv's choices, both between the Fae, and between Ricky and Gabriel. I was actually hoping like hell it would turn out the way the story ends.

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