“Rituals” by Kelley Armstrong

Rituals

asteriaiconI once had someone come up to me and ask if I have ever read Kelley Armstrong, and I told them that they were too old for her. I felt, after finishing the Women of the Underworld series, that her writing was a bit juvenile. It was good, but light, and it lacked real substance.  I have grown up  more myself a bit since then and I have realized that perhaps it isn’t so much a lack of substance, but rather a light, fun, no-thinky read, and sometimes that is exactly what you need. I find myself always drawn to Armstrong’s work, it is like reuniting with an old friend, and find myself always having fun when reading her books. I still find them light, but that makes for an easy and fast read, and sometimes that is exactly what I am looking for.

Rituals is the fifth book in the Cainsville series. This series was an interesting combination of mystery and paranormal/fantasy and romance. I believe I have done a review on previous books in this series, so some of this may seem familiar. Liv Jones is in the center of an age old love triangle. The three are continuously reincarnated, destined to find each other, and live out the lives and mistakes of their kind. Liv must choose between two men, and in doing so, determines the fates of not only themselves, but potentially the fates of each blood line. These men, you see, are fae, each coming from a different species so to speak. Ricky is Arawn, part of the Cwn Annwn, while Gabriel is Gwynn, king of the fae, the Tylwyth Teg. Whomever Liv chooses means survival of that particular fae species. And Armstrong makes sure that it is a tough choice, as each man has incredible qualities that would make anyone fall in love with them. Sure, there are a few character flaws, but that is part of the fun.

In this particular novel, Armstrong wraps up the love triangle, all while fighting a new big bad that also wants to be considered in Liv’s choice. Though, consider is really not the right word, more like ensure they are the only option. The story starts out with the arrival of a character that has already been established to be dead, someone who threatens all that Gabriel has worked for in his life, not just his money and reputation, but his security, his safety, and probably most importantly, his relationship with Liv. There are many twists and turns and surprises along the way to the ultimate conclusion of the series.

I felt Armstrong did a great job of wrapping up all of the loose ends during the series. She made sure to bring little tidbits from the beginning right through to the end. I really enjoyed the various omens that would pop up here and there, and the gargoyles that were mentioned within each book in the series. It brought the whole town of Cainsville alive, easy to picture in your mind, and I loved the mysteries that Cainsville hid within its borders. I did struggle a bit with the fae lore, but I think that is because I am just still not accustomed to reading fantasy. Still, I was able to enjoy it, I just needed to take a second to wrap my head around it all. Tylwyth Teg and Cwn Annwn are really a mouthful! I also had a hard time not mixing up Gabriel with Clay from the Underworld series, as they really have a lot in common, and are written very similar.

***SPOILER ALERT***

I have read a few reviews on this book, and some people felt the ending was a cop out. I however, found the ending to be very satisfying and rather perfect. To me it showed real character development. Each character grew through the whole series, which I love seeing, but each character also learned from their reincarnated self’s mistakes.  Liv’s final choice was…to not make a choice. To choose not to choose. In the past, Matilda was forced to choose one side indefinitely, cutting off all contact with the other side. In choosing Ricky or Gabriel, she would have to choose one side of herself over the other, when in reality, she was both. She was both Cwn Annwn and Tylwyth Teg. She wanted to be able to ride with Ricky, either on his motorcycle or a horse, and she wanted to be with Gabriel.  Yes, one of these men was chosen romantically, but there are many kinds of relationships, and Liv found a good balance with each of these men.  And personally, while I did like both men, I had a favorite in this love triangle, and my man won so I found that rather satisfying all on its own.

All in all, I loved the series. I can count on Armstrong to be a fast read, yet a read that satisfies an itch, one that she alone seems to scratch. I may not be amazing with fantasy and romance genres, but she seems to make it a little more effortless for me. I love her character building and how she carries them through the series she writes, having them develop and grow. I love her richly detailed scenery, how you can picture yourself in the surroundings the characters are in. I love the fact she is from rural Ontario, I like supporting good female writers from our region (well Ontario as a whole I suppose). I love catching up with this old friend, no matter the series, no matter the age.

2 thoughts on ““Rituals” by Kelley Armstrong

  1. I have to say no matter how old I get I refuse to think I’m too old for any certain type of book. Sometimes you just need that something different or as you said lighter or perhaps more innocent at times type of books.

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