Now, with Rituals, I've reached the end of the journey. Oliva (a/k/a Eden) has come to terms with the fact that she is the daughter of two alleged serial killers. She has also accepted the fact that she is the reincarnation / host to a Celtic legend - Matilda - and that her boss/friend Gabriel is Gwynn and her ex-boyfriend Ricky is Arawn. Three individuals, forever trapped in a love triangle time and time again. And Oliva ... Eden ... Matilda left with the most difficult choice of all - choosing between the two, which choice breathes life into one of the two population of fae living here on Earth.
But what if there were a third fae? And what if that third fae decided after all these centuries, it wanted a piece of the action - it wanted an opportunity to receive that breath of life, while the rest of the fae dwindled? And what if that third fae would do just about anything to get that chance - including manipulating people and events throughout the years to lead Olivia, Gabriel, and Ricky to this very spot at this exact time?
That is precisely where author Kelly Armstrong takes readers in her final installment of the Cainsville series. All the secrets are out. The truth behind Olivia's real parents - the how and why they were able to cure their daughter of spina bifida. The truth behind Gabriel's mother - why she was so heartless and cruel and how she was able to pull the ultimate con. The truth behind the Cainsville cabal - the deal they made and with whom they made it. And Olivia finally makes the choice - but it is not at all what anyone expects!
Armstrong has her usual dose of romance in the story, but it is such a small part of the overall tale. The Celtic rituals, the supernatural powers, the visions, the lies, the machinations, the calculated plans, the sacrifices - there is romance, there is adventure, there is dark horror, there is supernatural powers, there is mystery, and there is good, old-fashioned action. Let me tell you, this one has it all. While I hate to see the series end, I definitely could not think of a better way to conclude Olivia's tale. Not everyone gets a happy ending, but the reader does get a very satisfying conclusion that leaves no question unanswered and leaves you smiling as you turn that last page.
Plus - how could I not love a book and an author who has her characters engage in the following conversation:
"How about giving her the wine?" Ricky asked. "Isn't that what you used to handle Muggles who stumbled into the fae world?"
"Muggles?" Grace said.
"It's from Harry Potter," I said. "It means --"
"I've read Harry Potter, thank you very much. I just don't think a biker should use the terminology. People might think he's semiliterate."
"I'm very literate," Ricky said. "I havea huge collection of comic books. I even know what most of the words mean."
"Name your favorite DC superhero."
"I'm really more of a Marvel guy."
"No, you're really full of $#!^. I'd be better off asking your favorite Faulkner character."
"Faulkner's not much for character. He's more style-driven. I identified better with the characters in Harry Potter. As for Marvel, I'd say Kitty Pryde, but if you ask me officially, I have to say Ghost Rider, because it's, you know"-- he motioned at his Saints jacket -- "obligatory."
This series is a definite must-read for any fans of supernatural / horror / mystery - excellent writing, engaging stories, and characters that jump right off the page! I can't recommend it enough!
RATING: 10 fae retirement homes out of 10 for sending this series off with a real bang!