Tuesday, April 19, 2016

Review: Owl and the Japanese Circus (The Adventures of Owl #1) by Kristi Charish

Published: January 13, 2015 by Simon & Schuster Canada
Genre: Urban Fantasy
Format: paper back
Source: won - Lunar Rainbows - Thanks Kristi and Micheline!
Goodreads Summary

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.

“I have a strict policy. No magic, no monsters, no supernatural clients. Ever.”

The Good

I was very pleasantly surprised by this gem. Alix, or Owl, is a purveyor of antiquities and as such gets on the bad side of a bunch of people. She happened across some vampires in a previous job and has to go on the run. Enter the dragon that whisks her away for a job and the story starts. Again I say, dragon. He's mostly in a human form, but that doesn't make him any less scary. Since Owl has sworn off having anything to do with the supernatural, she's not thrilled to find herself thrown smack dab in the middle of it for the rest of the story.

I was drawn to Owl. She's absolutely flawed. She's judgmental and sees what she wants to see. She's got a lot of walls built up and I'm not sure that she truly trusts anyone. Her friends in this story were some of my favorites. Nadya was both the quintessential best friend, yet she had no trouble standing up for herself when Owl is in the wrong. Rynn was charming and patient and most often the voice of reason. Captain is Owl's vampire hunting cat. Yes, he's incredibly intelligent, and yes, he is obsessed with eating vampires. He was quite fun.

My ABSOLUTE favorite thing about the story though was all the supernatural critters Charish gave us, and this is only the first one! There were vampires and incubus as well as lesser known creatures like naga. But the kicker was that there were some I hadn't heard of before, which was amazing! I loved the take on these creatures that Charish provides as well as this fresh look at magical beings I hadn't heard of yet.

The setting is a lot of fun as well. Owl jumps all over the place from her Winnebago in the beginning to a Las Vegas casino and many points around the globe like Bali and Tokyo.

The Bad

My main gripe is something that others will probably quite love. Owl is an online gamer and one of the characters in the books is someone she knows strictly through that gaming. Therefore, this gave the reader a way to meet this character. However, the game was brought into the story quite often and I became bored with these parts.

The Romance

Like I said, Owl is not the most trusting, so dating would require her to take down quite a few of those walls. She does get rather close to Rynn which was fun, he's a character that I love, but this will be a hard relationship with quite a few ups and downs. I'm interested to see where this goes.


Owl and the Japanese Circus is a fantastic start to this series. It's got fun, adventure, great characters, supernaturals galore, and a vampire killing cat. I will definitely be continuing with the series. Recommended.

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