Owl and the Japanese Circus

Owl and the Japanese Circus - Kristi Charish *An ARC was provided by Simon and Schuster in exchange for an honest review.*

If I had to sum up Owl and the Japanese Circus in one word, that word would be fun. Just reading the synopsis was all I needed to know that this was a book for me: a modern day 'Indiana Jane', called Owl, who's a thief and archeology buff, navigating a supernatural world - in spite of herself. A world which includes insanely unique creatures like Dragons, Nagas, Incubus, Vampires (legit vampires - not the romanticized sparkly variety), Nymphs and Kami...to name a few. Oh, and did I mention Owl has the best sidekick ever: a truly amazing Egyptian Mau cat, that goes by the name of Captain...and whose personality totally lives up to his name. Yeah. This book had my name written all over it.

I went into Owl and the Japanese Circus pretty pumped, and for once, my high hopes didn't end up falling flat. Owl's adventures start off in Vegas, and she consequently journeys across the globe, from Japan to Bali and back to Vegas again as she hunts down an ancient stolen artifact, for one of the most fearsome dragons I've ever come across! I truly enjoyed the mix of globe-trotting adventure, mystery and action blended into this supernatural world. Plot-wise, the story hits the ground running as Owl navigates through one escapade after another. Some bits resolved themselves a bit too conveniently for my taste but honestly, I had no problem suspending my disbelief and just going along with the ride - and it is one hell of a ride from start to finish.

As a character, Alix Hiboux, better known as Owl was a breath of fresh air to me. Why? Because she was equal parts awesome and flawed, and to me that made her all the more real. Owl is a smart mouth. She dives into danger head first and asks questions later. She's got an attitude and she knows how to use it - usually at the worst possible moments. I could see her penchant for trouble rubbing some readers the wrong way, but I found it refreshing to read about a heroine who wasn't perfect, flawless or admirable to a fault. Don't get me wrong: Owl is also brave, caring and smart, but her qualities are perfectly balanced with her flaws in a way that makes her incredibly human; especially when mixed in with the variety of supernatural beings found in Owl and the Japanese Circus. I was also pleased that Owl seemed to learn from her mistakes as she went along. She never truly loses her inclination for diving head-first into trouble though, but hey, where's the fun in that?

Owl's reckless nature is tempered by her more level-headed companions, notably her best friend Nadya and Rynn, an attractive mercenary slash bartender. Both of them were compelling and entertaining in their own right and I found them to perfectly complement Owl. Let's face it, Owl needed all the help she could get from these two on more than one occasion. Their friendship wasn't without its bumps along the way but they were a solid trio and I enjoyed them all immensely. However they all took a backseat to Captain, Owl's feline companion who easily steals the show. Captain has a strong personality all his own and he isn't afraid to use it. He's clever, cunning and as stubborn as his human which made me (of course) love him all the more for it. It's clear that author Kristi Charish is a cat-lover herself, as she develops Captain's personality perfectly, as well as his relationship with Owl, as the story moves forward.

Being the first book in a planned series, the story does take a bit to settle into it's stride, which I find is mostly always the case when entering a new book series. Nonetheless, Owl and the Japanese Circus does a good job of setting the stage for our characters and the world they navigate. I'm hoping the sequel will delve deeper into the exploration and mythology of it all but regardless, I'm already looking forward to following Owl as she gets into more trouble the next time around. Side note: Owl also has a penchant for RPG gaming, caffeine and the occasional Corona. I can't imagine readers having a hard time relating to her in the least!

This review was previously featured on my blog: Photobucket