Rituals is the final book in Kelley Armstrong’s Cainsville series so this review may contain spoilers for the previous books.
I loved the original premise of Cainsville and the first instalment, Omens, but this series has lost its way a little over the last few books. It could have easily been a trilogy and not a five book series. However I’m happy to have an ending and some answers.
I’d heard enough stories growing up to understand that the fae weren’t innocent little creatures with wings and pixie dust. They were amoral, unethical, cruel, sometimes even what we’d call evil in their complete disregard for others.
To recap, Liv, Gabriel and Ricky are caught up in an ancient fae story which replays across generations. Liv must make a choice between the two men, but that choice will condemn the people of the one she rejects. The two sides are the fae of Cainsville and the Wild Hunt. How will Liv choose?
She’s already broken up with Ricky, finally coming to terms with the fact she has feelings for Gabriel, depsite his inability to let people in. I was team Gabriel from the start, so yay. But this still leaves Liv with knowledge that she will be hurting the Wild Hunt, if she officially chooses. I thought her final choice was a good one and I’d kinda worked it out half way through that it was what she must do.
The book also fills in a lot of questions about how Liv’s parents facilitated her cure. As with all deals with the fae, nothing is straightforward and there’s always a catch. I liked the addition of dark creatures, the Slaugh who punish those that the Wild Hunt cannot. I loved the mythology behind it, but it took a while to get there.
For me, this was where it all really began, Ricky and me and Gabriel, fighting a common foe, our first taste of what life as Arawn and Matilda and Gwynn would be like. Endless traps and tricks and betrayals.
All the characters are now trying their best to be accommodating and understanding. Which is great, honestly, it’s wonderful to have considerate people looking after themselves and others. The only problem is that they spend paragraphs explaining how they are being so accommodating so it just seems forced and I want to yell at them to get on with saving the day!
There is an amusing passage where they are talking about the romance books one of the characters writes. It reflects some of the criticism that Kelley herself receives, with books going on a bit too long and lack of editing, but also that it’s not helpful to point this out to the author’s face.
I even liked the addition of a couple of new characters, which is something I usually baulk at near the end of a series. The pair of dryads add a bit of comic relief and are also lovely people, who play a role in the big ending.
Would I recommend the series? It’s tough, there is plenty worth reading but you’ve got to be OK with a slow middle to get to the payoff.
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Book Source: Purchased