Can’t Wait Wednesday : Owl and the Tiger Thieves (The Adventures of Owl #4) by Kristi Charish

“Waiting On Wednesday” is a weekly meme that was originally created by Breaking the Spine.  Unfortunately Breaking the Spine are no longer hosting so I’m now linking my posts up to Wishful Endings Can’t Wait Wednesday. Don’t forget to stop over, link up and check out what books everyone else is waiting for.  If you want to take part, basically, every Wednesday, we highlight a book that we’re really looking forward to.  This week my book is : Owl and the Tiger Thieves (The Adventures of Owl #4) by Kristi Charish.  This is a great series and the last one was my favourite so far – it also left me desperate to find out what happens next.

owlandOwl—a modern-day Indiana Jane—handles supernatural monsters, temperamental dragons, and slippery ninjas as she races to stop a brewing supernatural war in this fourth novel in the Owl series.

The Silk Road was an ancient trade route paved with fortunes and tears in equal measure—the tears part mostly due to the distinct chance of being gutted by an opportunistic supernatural lying in wait.

Somewhere among the trade cities lost to the ages, the Tiger Thieves—assassins who once guarded the Silk Road against the supernatural monsters that preyed on ancient caravans—still hide.

Shame no one has seen one of them in over five hundred years, since they’re the only ones who might be able to help Owl stop the reign of the Electric Samurai and the descent of the world into supernatural chaos in all its eviscerating glory.

From a Peruvian jail to Venice to Timbuktu, Owl searches for the Tiger Thieves in the hopes of convincing them to help her—all while fetching artifacts and weapons for Mr. Kurosawa’s brewing supernatural war. Considering diplomatic negotiations aren’t exactly Owl’s strong suit, she has her work cut out for her. Not to mention, her sidekick on this adventure leaves a lot to be desired and little to trust.

Poking a tiger is never a good idea, and tangling with the ancient assassins will take everything Owl has. Eventually, she’ll have to decide whether she’s a wayward archaeologist or just another cold-hearted thief.

Due for publication May 2018

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Owl and the Electric Samurai (The Adventures of Owl #3) by Kristi Charish

owlWithout doubt Kristi Charish’s third instalment of the Adventures of Owl definitely took this series to the next level for me and was my favourite so far.  If you haven’t read the previous novels then be aware that spoilers may be lurking below.

In the latest instalment Alix Hiboux, or Owl as she is better known, really finds herself between a rock and a hard place with conflicting priorities and demands.  If you haven’t read the series, Alix, with a promising career in archeology to look forward to, was used as a scapegoat by the IAA (The International Archaeology Association who regulate  and keep under wraps anything and everything related to the supernatural).  Finding herself with zero job opportunities to look forward to Alix resorted to the one thing where she could put her skills to use – acquiring, or stealing if you want to put it another way, antiquities.

As the Electric Samurai begins Alix is given an assignment by her boss Mr Kurosawa, who happens to be a dragon with something of a volatile temper.  His assistant, Lady Situ is a Naga who can and will hold a grudge and currently seems to hold one against Alix. Basically, there’s no way that she can refuse this job even though it’s far from ideal and involves finding a magical suit of armour that transforms to fit into the period in which it’s used.  It seems the suit gives the wearer great powers, although it does require a high price in return.  The elves are keen to get their hands on the suit and in order to prevent war in the supernatural world the Dragon has agreed to their request.  It’s not going to be easy to find the Electric Samurai.  It’s last location is unrecorded and nobody has a clue what it looks like.  And, to make matters worse Rynn is very unhappy with the involvement of the elves as through past experience he has learnt that they are sometimes economical with the truth.

At the same time, the IAA are pushing Alix to find the location of the World Quest designers.  They’re keen to question them about human magic and think Alix stands the best chance of finding them.  Alix is keen to find them, not least to give them a warning.  World Quest has become an invaluable tool for her in mapping out antiquities around the world.  Again, the two are not going to be easy to find.  They seem to have disappeared into thin air and rumour has it that they’ve found the legendary city of Shangri-La.  What a temptation for Alix – to go after the lost city.  Unfortunately, time is short and the IAA, not content with coercing her have seen fit to hire mercenaries by way of additional encouragement.

There is plenty going on in this book.  There’s a lot of supernatural politics that left me not really knowing who to trust or if I should trust anybody at all.  There are plenty of exotic locations. There is a deal of cat and mouse type activity and nothing is as it first seems.

So, why is this book my favourite so far?  Well, I felt it had more depth than the previous instalments – which isn’t a criticism of the previous two at all, just that this one has a different tone somehow.  It could be related to the fact that Alix seems to be becoming more notorious and in doing so seems to be really entrenching herself amongst the supernaturals, it could be to do with the fact that Rynn and Alix seem to have reached a different stage in their relationship where things didn’t always seem to be going so well, or it could simply be that the stakes were so much higher. But, this definitely had a different pace and feel.

The usual characters are not all as evident.  Nadya is off dealing with issues at her bar and Captain starts the story in the custody of the Naga although his release is eventually negotiated.  This time around the story focuses much more on Alix and Rynn.  There is a very good reason for this which I won’t go into here but this new focus helps to shine a light on some of the cracks that are starting to show in the relationship.  We certainly learn a little more about Rynn which I thought was really interesting.  I’m not going to say that it answers everything but it certainly makes a good start.  In terms of Alix.  She’s still as reckless and impulsive as ever but again there was something different in her character.  I can’t quite put my finger on it but it felt like the relationship is becoming more serious somehow, it’s passed the giddy infatuation stage and is at the point where they’re both starting to really question each other.

In terms of criticisms.  I don’t really have any to be honest. I think the only thing that occasionally popped into my mind is a random feeling of surprise that the majority of Alix’s archaeological work seems to require more research on a computer than actual field work.   That being said she does then jet off to Nepal, China and Tokyo!

I won’t say too much more.  I just really enjoyed this one, it felt less fun maybe than the previous two books in that the stakes are higher and Alix and Rynn felt more vulnerable somehow, almost desperate, the settings were great to read about and the author throws in a few unexpected surprises in relation to both of the quests.

Finally, I have to mention the ending.  The earlier parts of the story may have enjoyed a gentler build than previous books but the ending certainly comes out all guns blazing.  I just loved the route that Charish took, not least because I really hadn’t seen it coming and it was such a shock!  Literally, I had to stop reading and have a little reread and I don’t mind saying that inside my head I was saying ‘nooooooo’ –  and that was right when the book ended.  Yes, it ends on a cliffhanger, I can admit I’m not a lover of cliffhangers but I think I was still so surprised by everything that I had barely a chance to register anything beyond the sound of my mouth flopping open.  This wait is going to be so hard – no pressure Ms Charish but when is the next book due??  Enquiring minds need to know.

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

Friday Firsts : Owl and the Electric Samurai (The Adventures of Owl #3) by Kristi Charish

FridayFirsts
Friday Firsts
 is a new meme that runs every Friday over on Tenacious Reader. The idea is to feature the first few sentences/paragraph of your current book and try and outline your first impressions as a result. This is a quick and easy way to share a snippet of information about your current read and to perhaps tempt others.  Stop on by and link up with Tenacious Reader.    This Friday I’m reading : Owl and the Electric Samurai (The Adventures of Owl #3) by Kristi Charish

owlHave you ever had a deep-seated feeling that the world is out to get you?

And I don’t mean for doing something where you might actually deserve it: I mean the kind that happens despite your best intentions to be a good person, turn over a new leaf, and potentially make up for a possible – though clearly not intentional – slight you may have done others…

And even though you may be doing your damnedest to fix things, including crossing the globe twice in the last month, you could feel that the universe still decided it was going to tell you that you could royally fuck off?

You know, that kind of “out to get you” feeling?

Because from this side of the backpacker hostel picnic table, sitting across from my Nepal contact, Dev, that was pretty much the vibe I was getting.  To be honest, it was the vibe I’d been getting all month, like gum getting tangled in your hair.

My First Impressions

I think that beginning is a perfect start for the book and a great reflection of the series as well.  You can tell already, even from those first few lines, that things are going to go horribly wrong.

What you reading this Friday??  What are your first impressions??

*The above excerpt was taken from an advanced reader copy and it is possible that the final version may have further changes.

Owl and the City of Angels by Kristi Charish

Last year I read Owl and the Japanese Circus, the start of a new fantasy series combining archaeology and the supernatural.  The series main protagonist is Alix Hiboux, otherwise known as Owl – an international antiquities thief.  Owl wasn’t always a thief, she was a grade A student until her work and reputation were left in tatters by her professor and she turned to a different route to stay afloat.

The world here is full of supernatural creatures all hiding in plain sight and although Alix has no love for the supes her natural lack of ability to detect their presence means she now has a boyfriend who is an icubus, a boss and his sidekick who are a dragon and naga respectively, a gaming buddie who is an elf and a bunch of vampires out for her blood (pun intended!) after she accidentally killed their main ‘poobah’.

The focus of the plot here boils down to the fact that a number of ancient items have been stolen from the City of the Dead and due to her previous reckless behaviour the Owl is the chief suspect. In order to mollify her new boss, and prevent him from toasting her alive, Owl undertakes to try and retrieve the aforementioned items and also to try and uncover the real thief who seems hellbent on framing her. Now, these items are cursed, which is bad enough as anybody who touches them usually drops dead within the week, add to that the fact that they are owned by a siren and have also drawn the attention of the vampires and you can see that things are about to get intense!

i do like this series. So far it’s a bunch of fast paced adventures among temples and ruins with mummies and other critters coming out of the woodwork. The author has a great imagination and a crazy sense of fun. She’s not afraid to chuck anything into the mix and the constant sense of anticipation, fast flowing plot and comedy-esque type capers make an excellent combination.

I really enjoy the concept and the Indiana Jane feel of the books.  I love that we have a series that takes us to all sorts of exotic places and brings to the pages mummies and curses and other weird and wonderful things.  There’s also such a lot of scope yet for the series to develop and whilst I wouldn’t say Owl develops massively this time around I do think the cast of supporting characters are coming together very nicely indeed and I also enjoy the way that the author is slowly revealing little pieces of Alix’s past whilst at the same time revealing more about the supernatural world that she is now surrounded by.

in terms of criticism. Well, oddly, Alix is the main one.  I have a hard time seeing her as an international thief. Everybody recognises her, she rushes blindly into any number of situations and, frankly, she’s about as subtle as a hippo on skis.  Don’t get me wrong, I like the comedy aspect that her bungling brings to the novel, I quite like that she’s a bit of a beer guzzling potty mouth who isn’t about to kiss ass even if her life is under threat but her ‘whoops I’ve triggered a death trap so better run at great speed’ mantra does puzzle me sometimes’.  That being said, this is very much a tongue in cheek type read, it isn’t intended to be deep and meaningful but more a whole bunch of crazy running about and causing turmoil. If you go into the series with that in mind then you’re in for some fun.

I enjoyed the plot and the whole inclusion of pirates and other elements that I won’t go into.  I had a bit of a wobble at one point where everything did seem to become a bit convoluted but on the whole I thought this was a great second in series with a surprising ending, that I really didn’t see coming, that provides a great set up for the next book.  Treat yourself to some fun.

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

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.