Owl and the Japanese Circus by Kristi Charish

Just finished reading Owl and the Japanese Circus by Kristi Charish.  This is a very entertaining and fast paced archeological adventure come urban fantasy story.  It will definitely put you in mind of a female Indiana with a large dose of supernatural thrown in for good measure.  The story starts as a the hunt for an ancient artefact but along the way develops into a struggle to survive with an element of romance – only a tad though so don’t let that put you off.

At the start of the story we’re introduced to Alix, an ex archeological student who showed great promise until things went horribly wrong and she was cast out on her ear.  Forced to use her skills in the only way now possible Alix turned to a life of crime stealing from archeological sites on request – she’s now known as The Owl – an international thief and she’s not only on the top of the authorities most wanted list but she also seems to have come to the attention of a few unsavoury characters who are frankly not too concerned whether she’s found dead or alive!

Alix is an interesting character to read.  I don’t think she’s my favourite of the story as I think that spot is probably reserved for her best friend Nadya, but she is good to read.  Not always taking the wisest course of action and not afraid to stand up for herself she’s a tad standoffish, a little awkward in social situations and clearly not always the best judge of character – she certainly struggles to identify the supernatural elements of the story which makes her rule ‘of never working with them’ a little tricky!  But, I liked her and I think there’s lots of room for more character development in future instalments.  At the moment, yes, she could probably learn when to hold her tongue but I like that she has a bit of sass.

So, Alix, despite her best intentions becomes involved with Mr. Kurosawa, owner of a casino in Vegas and more importantly a powerful and incredibly old and strong dragon.  Why is Alix breaking her own rules and agreeing to work with this character – well, he’s agreed to negotiate a deal to get the vampires off her back.  Kind of feels like jumping out of the frying pan into the fire but…. that’s the deal – and it’s signed in blood.  Now it just remains for Alix to find an incredibly ancient artefact with very few clues and a host of enemies who appear more often than not to be one step ahead!

I really liked the setting for the story and the archeological elements plus there were some very interesting supernaturals thrown into the pot along with the more regular vampires.  Obviously the dragon, a few angry ghosts, a demon and a naga!

In terms of criticisms, nothing major really.  I think there were a couple of threads in the story that remain unsolved but this is the first in series so that’s probably not an issue at this point.  We are told that Alix is the best in her field but I’m not quite sure why – it feels a little bit flimsy at this point and I’m not a fan of simply being told that someone is the best – I’d like a little ‘show’ along with the tell.  But, having said that, I don’t think I would have been too interested in the story being bogged down with massive amounts of technical detail – so, yeah, it is a fine line.

On the whole though I really enjoyed this, it kept me reading into the early hours to complete and I will definitely continue with the series plus we ended with the perfect set up for the next story!

I received a copy of this courtesy of the publishers through Netgalley for which my thanks.  The above is my own opinion.

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20 Responses to “Owl and the Japanese Circus by Kristi Charish”

  1. Genki Jason

    Reading your review makes me think that this Alix must be a bit of a loon. All the people I meet who studied archaeology are nice and harmless! I want to know what she did to get kicked off the course!

    • lynnsbooks

      Well – and spoilers ahead – she kind of got scape goated to be honest! Alix certainly isn’t perfect for sure – she could learn to keep her mouth shut every now and again or occasionally make a plan but this was definitely a fun read and a good set up for the next book which I will continue with.
      I liked the whole archeology set up – it felt different to other UF.
      Lynn 😀

  2. Tabitha (Not Yet Read)

    Agreed why she’s the best would be good to know. Admittedly she annoyed me quite a few times but I think that was totally the point. I really enjoyed it and devoured the 400 plus pages in a day 🙂

    • lynnsbooks

      Yeah, I think she’s supposed to maybe be a little bit irritating. She’s certainly got her flaws but I still liked her and I’m interested to see how she develops. I must have only taken two or three days to read it – it just flew by – one day though – you smashed it!
      Lynn 😀

  3. Mogsy

    Haha, yeah she’s definitely quite loony for an archaeologist — the life is not half as exciting as Owl makes it sound. I was an Arch student in college, most of our digs involved sitting in the hot sun sweeping away dirt with paint brushes and finding boring tiny shards of flint 😛 I do want to know why she is best in the field as well, so good point there there about telling not showing. Owl seems intelligent, but how on earth did she get so good when her temper gets her in so much trouble all the time!

    • lynnsbooks

      I think it’s great that you were a arch student – how intriguing! Did you uncover anything really exciting??
      Lynn 😀

  4. jessicabookworm

    I haven’t really read much urban fantasy but I love the idea of the archaeological elements. Glad you enjoyed it 🙂

    • lynnsbooks

      It was good fun for sure and a bit different as well.
      Lynn 😀

  5. Tammy

    I loved this too, my review just went up today. I definitely did not love Owl all the time, but I appreciated how unique she is!

    • lynnsbooks

      yeah, she could be a little bit irritating every now and again! But, then I also liked that she’s not perfect and think it will be interesting to see how she develops.
      Lynn 😀

  6. samoak

    Yay! Glad to hear you enjoyed this one. I have it pre-ordered. Can’t wait to give it a try!

    • lynnsbooks

      It’s a very entertaining read not to mention fast paced and incredibly easy to get through!
      Lynn 😀

  7. Danya @ Fine Print

    Ooo I’m looking forward to this one! I think it’s pretty standard fare to have a UF heroine make some pretty rash/questionable choices, so at least Alix is in good company. I’ve heard lots of good things about her cat but nothing about Nadya so far…can’twait to read about all of them for myself!

    • lynnsbooks

      Aw – the cat is lovely – Captain!! I really liked Nadya – a friend in need. It’s getting very good reviews although Alix can have her moments which I think left a few people wanting to shake her. I just think it’s a really good start to the series and a really good idea with the archeology – and the gaming aspects too. Good fun.
      Lynn 😀

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