Betrayals by Kelley Armstrong
Published by: Random House Canada
Publication Date: August 9, 2016
Genre: Modern Gothic, Fantasy, Suspense, Thriller, New Adult
Extent: 432 pages
When Olivia’s life exploded–after she found out she was not the adopted child of a privileged Chicago family but of a notorious pair of convicted serial killers–she found a refuge in the secluded but oddly welcoming town of Cainsville, Illinois. Working with Gabriel Walsh, a fiendishly successful criminal lawyer with links to the town, she discovered the truth about her parents’ crimes in an investigation that also revealed the darker forces at work in the place that had offered her a haven. As if that wasn’t enough, she also found out that she, Gabriel and her biker boyfriend Ricky were not caught in an ordinary sort of love triangle, but were hereditary actors in an ancient drama in which the elders of Cainsville and the mysterious Huntsmen who opposed them had a huge stake.
Now someone is killing street kids in the city, and the police have tied Ricky to the crimes. Setting out with Gabriel’s help to clear Ricky’s name, Olivia once again finds her own life at risk. Soon the three are tangled in a web of betrayals that threatens their uneasy equilibrium and is pushing them toward a hard choice: either they fulfill their destinies by trusting each other and staying true to their real bonds, or they succumb to the extraordinary forces trying to win an eternal war by tearing them apart.
Note: I’ve received an ARC for an honest review. No, receiving one doesn’t affect my opinion of this book. But whatever Kelley writes will always be on my to-read list. So the point is moot. And no, I will not give any spoilers.
I never thought I’d receive an ARC for a long while, so when I found out I won a Goodreads giveaway, I nearly freaked. Thank you Random House Canada! Ahem. Now onto the book.
Betrayals begins four months after Deceptions. Olivia must now accept that she has no other choice but to help Pamela get acquitted. She’s at odds with this decision, even though releasing Pamela will ultimately help Todd with his acquittal. Gabriel and Liv’s relationship is strained from his betrayal in Deceptions. But Gabriel is willing to do anything to get Todd released, even work with Pamela, who tried to frame him for James’ murder. Reluctantly, Liv teams up with Gab when a new case potentially frames Ricky for the disappearance of a man who was stalking him.
Betrayals is a masterly written novel. The expanded mythology opens new worlds for the Cainsville series and quickly draws you in. Kelley cleverly takes legends and shapes them into her own. And while the fae world envelopes her characters and threatens to tear them apart, they have genuine vulnerabilities. She has her craft down to a science.
Throughout Betrayals, you see how Liv, Ricky, and Gab’s bond shapes them. Kelley surprises you with more backstory and mythology than the first three books. This history from the other Matildas, Gwynns, and Arawns is what anchors this book. Betrayals also breaks away from Liv’s POV; it now delves into Ricky’s and Gab’s. I was hoping for Kelley to let us see more of their perspective, and she doesn’t disappoint!
Oh, that pesky little love triangle. Some readers are bored of it, but I find it enjoyable, because Kelley crafts it in an effortless way. She doesn’t throw it in to cause tension; she uses it to its fullest potential. You get to see how their past life affects their current one. Ricky and Gab don’t become the two men Olivia must decide to choose from; they become a part of a whole. But I do want to smack Ricky and Gabriel (especially Gabriel) around, though.
I appreciated the time jump! The first three books are in quick succession of each other, so having one in the Cainsville series was needed. Betrayals illustrates each characters’ growth within this time. All three characters exhibit natural traits that Matilda, Arawn, and Gwynn had, but Liv, Ricky, and Gab evolve further. I simply adore how Liv shines in this book. And Ricky, too. Ah, Ricky. He transforms from the page to the king (and if you don’t know that reference, I may smack you as well!). Gab is an iffy character for me. Sometimes he’s an enduring man I want to protect, and other times, I’m not sure if Gwynn has a stronger sway on him. I see a part of me in Gab. And I understand why being alone for him is his ability to sidetrack pain. But his past deceit makes me question what he’ll be willing to commit, especially when he realizes his feelings for Liv. How much of Gwynn is in Gab?
The mythology in this book is superb. Kelley incorporates Welsh folklore into each book, and this one contains even more. Now Betrayals opens the world of the Cŵn Annwn and the Tylwyth Teg wide open. Finally, you discover how these fae beings survive and thrive. In Omens, I fell in love with Cainsville. Hell, I fell in love with the entire series. But Betrayals solidifies that thrill. I want to hunt for gargoyles, jump in to old books, have visions, and run with The Wild Hunt.
There is one thing I must say: I was not expecting that ending or that heart-wrenching fight. They floored me when I got to the end. My God. Kelley brings subtly to a new level. Kelley creates an action-packed universe filled with deceitful tricksters and enduring characters. At the heart of the Cainsville series, a poignant love story of three fae shapes a enchanting mystery that won’t let you go. Betrayals beautifully lays out the groundwork for the finale, Rituals. I cannot wait to have the last book in my hands. Prepare yourself for your trip down the rabbit hole.
You can find the first five chapters here.