Rating: 5/5 stars
Series: Cainsville, Book 4
Genres: Adult, Thriller, Urban Fantasy, Paranormal, Mystery, Fiction, Supernatural, Romance
She pointed at the dead girl. “Is that not clear enough? You stall and you play and you tell yourself this sin’t your business, and so we die.” Those strange eyes met mine. “Pick a side” (Ch. 1).
If I wasn’t already in love with this story, I certainly am now. The characters are compelling, the plot is gripping, and the world is awe inspiring. Armstrong has created a world filled with mythos that most books I’ve read haven’t even thought to touch on and has done so in a way that leaves me wanting to know more. Getting an insight into Welsh mythos – and a touch of Irish mythos thrown in for good measure – makes me realize just how little I know about the mythos from different parts of the world. The anthropologist in me is loving this.
Within the pages of Betrayals, Armstrong has made me feel both joy and sorrow – as well as everything in between. If you can think of an emotion, I’ve probably felt it while reading the Cainsville series. I can officially say I’m obsessed with Olivia and the world she’s found herself living in.
The problems in this world continue to get more and more complex, dragging Olivia, Gabriel, and Ricky further into a side of their world that they hadn’t even know existed a few short months ago. Now that Olivia has gotten her PI license she’s able to help Gabriel on a more professional level while still being able to hold her own independence. Sure she keeps finding herself in precarious situations, but she’s finally surrounded herself with people she trusts with her life and knows she can call on them for anything. Ricky is starting to come into his own as a person, pulling out of the shadow that the club and his father have cast over his life up until this point. He’s constantly being the mature one in the situation, making the tough choices for the people he loves and so that they don’t have to. And then we have Gabriel, still struggling to be honest with himself and being fiercely protective of the ones he loves.
If you’re looking for a series full of mystery and intrigue, with more than a touch of the fantastical, I highly recommend giving the series a try, beginning with Omens. You won’t be disappointed in the ways that these characters find themselves despite that hardships constantly being thrown their way.
As much as I want Olivia to end up with Gabriel, I felt pretty sad when Ricky stepped back from Olivia in order to give her the space to figure out what she wanted with her life. Ricky was amazing at being the bigger person which just made it harder to see them break up when they both so clearly loved each other. Yet Olivia’s reaction to moving in with Ricky proved that she might love him but shes jot really in love with him. Ricky was just the mature one to not force her to stay in a comfortable relationship that wasn’t necessarily going to be the best thing for her. He even admitted to himself that he didn’t expect Gabriel to get his shit together as quickly as he had, but he knew that it was going to happen eventually.
And then there’s Gabriel. He’ll always be my favourite character in the story, no matter how flawed he appears. He got Olivia’s house ready for her because he knew that she wanted it even if she wasn’t going to admit it – or give the Cainsville elders the satisfaction of knowing she craved the place. Sure he didn’t know how to express his feelings in words – heck, he could barely even think his feelings to himself – but he was trying. And that’s something that Gabriel obviously finds hard to do. Actions speak louder than words, and that’s no truer than with Gabriel. He shows Olivia time and time again that he loves her in the only ways that he can… it’s just not always enough.
It’s heartbreaking that Olivia and Gabriel keep misunderstanding each other. Olivia takes Gabriel’s words at face value, misinterpreting the meaning behind what he says because she’s looking for him to betray her trust, to betray the love she feels for him. She’s accepted that he’s never going to love her the way she loves him… yet he does. Getting an insight into Gabriel’s psyche through his mini chapters is my favourite part of this series as without these sections, the reader might misunderstand his intentions the way that Olivia does.
She’s been scorned before by him and, even if their relationship is intense, they’re both keeping secrets from the other. Neither wants to be the one to say they love the other first. It even got to the point where Gabriel attempted to get Olivia to admit to her feelings so that he wouldn’t have to be the one to change their relationship. He needed to hear why she kept putting up with his bullshit because he couldn’t fathom anyone being willing to deal with everything that he put Olivia through time and time again.
Then there’s the fact that Ricky knew about the feelings that Olivia and Gabriel have for each other and he didn’t try to shove himself in the middle of their relationship. He trusted Liv not to do anything with Gabriel while they were together, even giving Gabriel the chance to shoot him in the back should he wish to get Ricky out of the way. Yet he accepted that Gabriel was end game. Ricky helped Gabriel come to terms with the fact that he hesitated to save Ricky at the abandoned psych hospital because of the voices in his head – not his own feelings – because Ricky truly accepted that he couldn’t get in the way of their love and just wanted to enjoy the time with Olivia that he could get.
As much as I was put off of Visions because it didn’t focus on the Larsens murder case, I appreciated the fact that Betrayals moved past this – for the most part. Of course there was still an underlying connection to the Larsens’ case, but at this point the story has progressed past this story line. The difference, for me, between Betrays and Visions was that during Visions the Larsens’ case hadn’t yet been solved. Well… “solved”. Pamela was behind the murders while Todd had nothing to do with them. While I hope that Todd gets out of prison in Rituals, at this point I’m happy with Olivia knowing that her father was never a killer.
The fact that Melanie was the one behind the lamiae deaths as a way to get Pepper into Cainsville, and manipulated an outcast Cwn Annwn, was a twist I didn’t see coming for quite a while. I didn’t expect the one asking for Olivia’s “help” to be the one that caused the issue in the first place. I also didn’t expect the outcast Cwn Annwn to help save Olivia from Melanie, to wish her no harm. I am, however, glad that these twists happened as it allowed the story to progress in a unique and interesting way.
Another twist that I really enjoyed was the fact that others got to experience the visions as well. Sure Patrick got to experience visions on his own, which I found fascinating and wish to learn more about, but the truly interesting connections were the visions that Ricky and Gabriel got pulled into. While Ricky was willing to get pulled into visions to help the poor Cwn that was broken, Gabriel was against seeing how gruesome his past selves really were. While I know that Olivia didn’t force him to experience the visions with her, and wished that he hadn’t seen the one version of Gwynn kill his version of Arawn, it was something that Gabriel needed to see. He needed to see that his past incarnations weren’t going to fit into the box he’d shoved them into, that he was different from Gwynn and couldn’t be expected to make the same mistakes. Gabriel needed to see that he really is his own person, able to make his own decisions in spite of the shitty hand that life had dealt him and the past weighing so heavily on him.
Of course, Gabriel still has no confidence in himself so he’s trying to woo Olivia away from Ricky without telling Ricky that’s what he’s doing. Little does he know that Ricky can see through him whereas Olivia can’t. She’s too close to the situation and Ricky knows Olivia well enough to see what’s going on – but he’s also too smart to tell her and lose what time it is he has left with her.
Poor Gabriel, doubting Olivia’s feelings for him even after making out in that storm drain. Of course Olivia thought that it was her visions mixing with reality and thus she didn’t believe that what happened actually happened. While she wished that it had really happened, she assumed that Gabriel didn’t have feelings for her and thus it was all a part of her overactive imagination – and a concussion. And then we have Gabriel, overjoyed that Olivia was thinking about him, happily snuggling with him, even if he assumed she didn’t actually want to be kissing him. Their relationship is so complex – and this secret is a big one that I hope doesn’t blow up in their faces – that I can’t wait to see the outcome of it. Both of them are going to be shocked to find out that it’s what the other one actually wants.
Heck, Gabriel’s not one for physical contact yet he can’t get enough of it from Olivia. I wish that could show her just how deeply he cares about her, but I can understand why she has her guard up so high. After being hurt so badly by him it makes sense that she’s not going to read into anything in a positive way. Sure he held onto her hand and pulled her into hugs multiple times throughout this novel, but Olivia just assumed that he was trying to comfort her. He was, but he also felt as if it was the only way he could get physically close to her. Assuming that she didn’t have feelings for him that were more than friendship meant that he was walking on egg shells around her in order to try and prove to her that he wouldn’t make the same mistakes again.
I am glad, though, that Ricky and Gabriel agreed to not interfere with the other person’s friendship with Olivia. Especially since Ricky made sure to clarify that it was friendship, not a romantic relationship. That’s definitely going to make things easier on Olivia in the long run.
I also thought that it was sweet that Olivia agreed to put off the breakup for one more week, to go on one more road trip with Ricky. To leave things on as good terms as they possibly could, even though she was hurt at Ricky saying that they needed to step back from the relationship for a little bit. Of course, it’s much harder on Ricky than he’s letting on, but Olivia feels justifiably hurt since she would never do anything (consciously) with anyone else while she was with him. And she does love him. Thankfully, they have that final week together to act as closure.
Congrats, you’ve made it through another of my rambley reviews! I’d love to hear your thoughts and opinions on Betrayals and the rest of the Cainsville series. Were there any parts of the story that hit you harder than others? Do you have a different take on the events of this novel than I did?
I hope you enjoyed the read as much as I did.
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