Fans of Kim Harrison, Jim Butcher, and Linda Hamilton will flock to the kick-ass world of Owl, a modern-day “Indiana Jane” who reluctantly navigates the hidden supernatural world.
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.Paperback, 432 pages
Four stars: A solid beginning to a new UF with interesting characters and exciting story lines.
Owl quickly scans her surroundings. The coast is clear, no vampires in sight. She heads into the gas station to grab supplies for the long road trip ahead. At the cash register, she is accosted by a giant, tattooed Japanese man who insists she accompany him to see his boss, Mr. Kurosawa. Owl has no choice. When she meets Mr. Kurosawa, he insists that the ancient egg she recently sold him is missing something. Owl assures him that it is intact. His eyes glow red and he threatens to eat her. Owl had no idea she was dealing with a dragon. Now she must make a hard choice. She can either work for Mr. Kurosawa, a dragon, and retrieve the missing scroll to the egg, or continue to press her luck with the vampires who are hunting her. Will Owl survive?
What I Liked:
- I am pleased to report that I have found a satisfying new UF series. I enjoyed the wide cast of paranormal characters, the story lines, the action, danger and even the online video gaming world. All in all, I was satisfied with my introduction to Owl and her interesting world.
- I was thrilled to see not only a large and varied cast of paranormal entities, including some that are lesser known like the naga. I also appreciated that Ms. Charish brought many new ideas to the table especially when it came to vampires. It was refreshing to encounter so much variety and originality.
- Owl is an archeologist turned thief. While I am not sold on the idea of her being a thief, I liked all the nods to archeology. You don't get too many books that feature archeology in the UF/paranormal genre, so I was thrilled to explore a new topic. I had to laugh, there was even a nod to one of the most famous archeologists on film with a line about hating snakes.
- Owl is a character that takes time to warm up to. I like her, but I know that she has a long way to go. She tends to make rather rash and sometimes stupid decisions, like mouthing off to dragons and vampires. She gets her ass handed to her time and time again. She has lots of issues and few friends. However, I know that she is going to be a character who will grow and mature as books go on, at least I hope so. I think she will be molded into a great character. She is a character that requires time and patience, but I think it will pay off.
- The romance is slow and hesitant and it moves at just the right pace. I thought the chemistry was terrific and I liked how it played out. It was one with lots of stumbles and hurdles to overcome, but now that it is established, I think it will be terrific. I appreciated that it was not a big focus and that it moved at an appropriate pace.
- I was surprised at how much I ended up enjoying the scenes where Owl is immersed in her video gaming world. I a not a video gamer, but I found the parts in the book when Owl is playing her World Quest game to be very entertaining.
- Captain the Cat is all kinds of fun. He is a great side kick. He is a Mau cat, a cat trained to hunt down and attack vampires. I loved the originality of Captain.
- I enjoyed the humor. Some of the scenes between Owl and Alexander, the vampire hunting her, are hilarious. I am hoping that there will more banter between them for many books to come.
- Once the story hits its stride, the action is terrific. There are also lots of big reveals, exciting twists and some jaw dropping revelations. I loved all the surprises in this one.
- I appreciated that the ending drew to a satisfactory close. After a thrilling climax and exciting ending with lots of action, I got most of the big answers. There are still some smaller things to follow up on, and the last line was definitely one to ponder. I am most eager to read the next book.
And The Not So Much:
- The pacing early on is a bit slow going as Ms. Charish takes plenty of time to introduce the characters and the plot. It took a bit of time to settle into this one, but once the story starts moving, it doesn't look back. The ending is jam packed with shocking surprises. Worth the wait.
- As much as I loved Captain the sidekick cat, it was a bit ridiculous that Owl had to haul him around in a carrier. Heading into an archaeological dig with a cat in a carrier was a little weird. Furthermore, always having to haul around the carrier presented some interesting challenges, and sometimes the author didn't quite pull it off. For instance, there is a scene where Owl and her friend, Nayda are going to break into a museum. Owl breaks in and moves around, and there is no mention of the Cat, or hauling his carrier in, in fact both hands are empty, then suddenly a few pages later, Captain and his carrier are there? What? Again, the whole cat sidekick thing didn't quite work.
- There is this big storyline regarding a powerful vampire who is after Owl. Then it is revealed who this vampire is and why she is angry with Owl. I never understood though how she became a vampire after what happened to her. It wasn't explained. I am guessing there was something in that tomb?
- As I mentioned earlier, there are many different paranormal entities introduced throughout. Unfortunately, the author assumes that everyone is in the know when it comes to all the paranormal creatures and sometimes there aren't many details on the creatures. A bit more explanation on some of the paranormal characters and their abilities would be helpful.
Owl and the Japanese Circus was a solid intro to what I hope will be an outstanding UF series. I enjoyed the originality with this one, and I appreciated that it features archeology. I loved all the action, danger and plot twists as well. I most eager to continue this series. I can't wait to monitor Owl's growth.
I received a copy of this book from the publisher in exchange for an honest review. All opinions are my own and I was not compensated for this review.