Rituals (Cainsville series book 5) by Kelley Armstrong (book review).

September 13, 2021 | By | Reply More

Writers who produce series are faced with a dilemma. Not everyone finds the first book and may enter the plot arc part-way through. For these readers, there must be enough to engage the attention along with sufficient information to make them feel that the action is not leaving them behind. A barrier to the understanding of relevant information can put off the newcomer when the hope is that they will go back and buy earlier books in the series.

At the same time, too much information can prove frustrating to someone who has been with the characters since book one. The further down a series, the harder it is to tread the tightrope.

Rituals’ is the fifth and final novel in the ‘Cainsville’ series. To put both facts together takes good deduction. One is on the back cover, the other hidden on the flyleaf, this is a design issue and nothing to do with the author.

Cainsville is a small town where the supernatural is almost regarded as the norm. It is a place that Olivia (Liv) Taylor-Jones ends up after, in book 1: ‘Omens’, when she discovers that she is adopted and that her biological parents are in prison as convicted serial killers. During the series, she has discovered that her father is actually innocent but her mother entered into a pact with a supernatural creature. In return for the ritual killings, the spina bifida Liv was born with will be cured.

Liv works with Gabriel, her real parents’ lawyer, to try to get them or at least her father released. Her boyfriend, Ricky, is a leader of a biker gang. In one of the books, Liv discovers that she, Gabriel and Ricky are the reincarnations of a threesome from Welsh folklore, Matilda, Gwynn and Arawn. The romantic triangle between the three is repeatedly played out through history and appears to be heading the same way again. Although Liv and Ricky have been lovers at this point in the series, they are just close friends. Gabriel is ready to claim her for his own.

Within the Cainsville community, there are forces at work that want Liv to make a choice between the two men because whichever she chooses will unleash mayhem. As she is being forced towards a choice, she still has to unravel the true facts behind her parents’ convictions and is still aiming towards a release, especially for her father who she believes had nothing to do with the crimes.

To complicate matters, Gabriel’s mother, Seanna, turns up. He had believed her to be dead but her unexpected return resurrects the cruelty and trauma she put him through. The three of them have to work through the manipulation that has been going on for well before they were born.

Although there is just about enough information to give a new reader an idea of what has happened before, the plot is complex and it is better to start at the beginning of the series with ‘Omens’ While Armstrong fans will enjoy the series, I’ve found some of her other series more satisfying.

Pauline Morgan

September 2021

(pub: Sphere/Little, Brown Book Group, 2017. 471 page hardback. Price: £18.99 (UK). ISBN: 978-0-7515-6128-9)

check out websites: www.littlebrown.co.uk and www.kelleyarmstrong.com

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Category: Books, Horror

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