Sphere, out now
Someone dumps a body in Olivia’s car – setting her on the trail of some darker secrets around the town of Cainsville…
The second in Kelley Armstrong’s new series of novels, which began with Omens, focuses its attention on Olivia (or Eve as she’s known to some of the characters, that being her birth name) rather than the crimes which her real parents were imprisoned for committing. We learn quite a bit more about Olivia herself as she goes on a voyage of self-discovery and starts to develop increased inner strength – she won’t be pushed around by any of the people in her life, whether they’re potential boyfriends, former fiancés, employers with a shady past or authors with suspiciously long publishing histories.
The titular visions become more detailed, and link to the mythology that is central to this sequence of novels; those who Googled some of the odd words in Omens will be one step ahead, but it’s all made clearer in this story. Quite how everyone fits into it remains to be seen: we move quite a few steps forward in Visions, but there’s still plenty for both Olivia and the readers to learn.
As readers, we’re already getting some insights that Olivia lacks, thanks to the third-person chapters scattered among her first-person portions; while most of these give an intriguing new slant on events, one feels slightly out of place (the confrontation between Gabriel and James). If they’re going to be used for such accounts, then some eavesdropping on Olivia’s new love and his father might be in order?
Olivia is refreshingly uncoy about her sexuality – the sex scenes are graphic in places, but you never get an uncomfortable feeling of voyeurism about them – and there are more than a few moments of dark horror.
Verdict: Dark and sexy with strong characters – Armstrong at her finest. 8/10