Owl and the Japanese Circus
Author: Kristi Charish
It is always exciting to start a new series and especially one by a new author. I never know what to expect and that is part of the thrill and adventure of volunteering to read an ARC. I had no idea what to expect, but what I found was a gripping and nail-biting adventure in Owl and the Japanese Circus.
The story begins with Alix, though for most of the novel you know her as Owl. She is on the run from vampires but won’t let it stop her from finding a spot to stop and log into her beloved RPG. The action and tension continues to rise and fall from there. Owl seems to travel from one proverbial frying pan to another to avoid the fire. She does not always think before she leaps, but like a cat, always seems to land on her feet. Think of Alice in Wonderland, falling through one rabbit hole after another. Owl is very intelligent, but not always swift with the common sense. Although she is a bit crass, unrefined and geeky, she deeply cares about her friends. I find her more akin to an impulsive and unsophisticated Lara Croft.
I inhaled the story for the most part. There are a few lulls but there is only so much damage Owl can take before needing a breather, though like Indiana Jones, she can take a beating and keep tomb raiding. The world is very much like our own with a supernatural world that hides in shadows. The connections between the archeological world and the supernatural are strong and I enjoyed the ties made between them. What I really enjoyed is how Owl is able to hold her own as just an ordinary human. Pitted against not only tomb booby-traps, ordinary thief acrobats and sneaking, but also against supernaturally strong and fast vampires, nagas, dragons, etc. There were a couple moments when I was surprised at how she could keep going with the injuries she had sustained, but her sheer determination to never give up was palatable. Despite all the times I found myself surprised and a bit annoyed at her for failing to think before she acted, she had surprisingly sharp instincts. Her sense of loyalty and honor (for a thief) were grounding and admirable.
Another great element to the story is her friends, all three, four of them, if you count Captain, her cat. But don’t discredit Captain! He is a Mau cat, a special breed created to hunt vampires and he certainly comes in handy. I also loved the relationship between Owl and Nadya, her best friend and an archeologist of sorts, but most importantly someone who accepts Owl, shortcomings and all. I loved Rynn, the mercenary. His story took me by surprise, but the clues were there and I loved the journey Owl took with him. As the novel concluded, the epilogue gives us a great cliffhanger as to her mysterious RPG buddy, Carpe. I enjoyed the banter between Owl and all these great supporting characters. The differing dynamics and the perspective they bring helped to round out the novel.
If you enjoyed “chose-your-own” adventures as a kid, Indiana Jones or Lara Croft, you might just want to pick up this fun and gripping adventurous urban fantasy. I look forward to reading more in this new Adventures of Owl series. If you enjoy a smart-mouthed, fly by night thief with a heart, read Owl and the Japanese Circus.
Ex-archaeology grad student turned international antiquities thief, Alix—better known now as Owl—has one rule. No supernatural jobs. Ever. Until she crosses paths with Mr. Kurosawa, a red dragon who owns and runs the Japanese Circus Casino in Las Vegas. He insists Owl retrieve an artifact stolen three thousand years ago, and makes her an offer she can’t refuse: he’ll get rid of a pack of vampires that want her dead. A dragon is about the only entity on the planet that can deliver on Owl’s vampire problem – and let’s face it, dragons are known to eat the odd thief.
Owl retraces the steps of Mr. Kurosawa’s ancient thief from Japan to Bali with the help of her best friend, Nadya, and an attractive mercenary. As it turns out though, finding the scroll is the least of her worries. When she figures out one of Mr. Kurosawa’s trusted advisors is orchestrating a plan to use a weapon powerful enough to wipe out a city, things go to hell in a hand basket fast…and Owl has to pick sides.
Release Date: January 13, 2015
Publisher: Simon & Schuster
Series: The Adventures of Owl #1
Genre: Urban Fantasy
Format(s): Paperback (432 pages), e-book
Book Source: Publisher/NetGalley
Owl and the Japanese Circus (The Adventures of Owl #1)