Monday, September 25, 2017

A Cainsville Novel, Book 4 - Betrayals

I have been thoroughly enjoying the Cainsville series by Kelly Armstrong.  It has a bit of the Gothic feel from Dark Shadows, plus the supernatural elements of The Gates, and good ol' fashioned mysteries like Agatha Christie.  It has a strong leading character in Olivia Taylor-Jones (Eden Larsen), a woman with a mysterious past and an even more ominous destiny. It has definitely engaging supporting characters - Gabriel, the strong silent type and Ricky, the wild exciting type.  It has the perfect love triangle that has endured through the centuries.

The only thing this series apparently doesn't have - is a continuing saga.  Before I picked up this book to read it, I found out that the next book in the series, Rituals, is going to be the last in the series.  Which, is very disappointing, as I love the stories, I love the characters, and I really love ongoing series.  Yet, as with so many "series" in today's market, it has to be finite.  So, of course, knowing that this was the penultimate book in the series, it made it difficult to open it up and start that first chapter.

But I did ... and it was so worth it!

With Betrayals, Armstrong continues the destiny of Gwynn, Matlida, and Arawn - Gabriel, Olivia, and Ricky.  Are they doomed to repeat the same mistakes as their past lives?  Can they break the cycle of betrayals and jealousies?  As a new threat comes on the scene, and the three of them find themselves protecting the lives of desperate fae women who are being hunted by a rogue Cŵn Annwn and his broken hound, they find that keeping secrets from one another comes naturally, and what happens when those secrets come out?  Can their love and friendship withstand the test?

Armstrong plots a wonderfully crafted mystery, as I'll admit, I didn't see the twist coming with regards to who was really being the murders of the fae women.  And, as with the prior three books, she continues to drop more and more hints about Olivia's past, the reason her parents did the things they did, and more information on the two factions who are so desperately vying for Olivia to make her choice - will it be Gabriel (Gwynn) or Ricky (Arawn)?  So far, she has avoided making any final decisions, but it seems the time for making that decision is drawing close, as the battle lines are being drawn.

I love Olivia's strength - she has no problems standing up to those who would push her, and she certainly has no qualms about calling out others on their hypocrisy and their weaknesses.  At the same time, she can be vulnerable, like any real person, particularly when it comes to being hurt by the ones she loves the most.  But, as with any person, she has grown over the course of these first four books, and Betrayals gives Olivia the chance to really shine, particularly when it comes to her relationship with Gabriel and her love/hate relationship with her parents.  I'm still rooting that Gabriel will able to get her biological father freed - but he can leave her biological mother in prison to rot for what she did.  And while Armstrong has built up the love between Olivia and Ricky, I'm also still rooting for Gabriel to ultimately win Olivia's heart.  He's the real underdog in this series, despite his power and strength, and while this book does not yet answer that continuing question, I'm guessing the next (and last) book will.

So, yes, reading the book was most certainly enjoyable - it's well written, it's not riddled with editorial errors as many books I've recently have been, and it continues a saga of supernatural and Gothic intrigue that keeps me entranced - but that enjoyment was tempered with a bit of disappointment and sadness, knowing that soon, I'll have no more Cainsville to visit.  At least it won't be for another year until Rituals comes out in paperback, so until then, I can relish in the tales I have read and keeping hoping Armstrong and her publisher will change their minds...

RATING:  9 cans of beef stew out of 10 for showing the world that "supernatural" does not have to mean vampires and werewolves - there are other creatures of the night that can be just as scary, if not scarier!

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