Sunday, 5 April 2015

Book Review: Owl and the Japanese Circus by Kristi Charish

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.

My Review:
My friends online know that I was in two minds about this book when I added it to my wishlist. The plot sounded different which is why I took a chance on it but I felt it came up short.

There were things to like about the book so lets start there. I was fascinated by the Japanese Circus and Mr. Kurosawa. He was dangerous and intriguing and I liked Owl's extended stay there as she tried to research the scroll and avoid the vampires. I liked his bitchy assistant and it would have been fun to send her off with Owl to find the scroll! I'm not really a cat person so I didn't find the cat as interesting as other readers but having the cat sense vampires nearby was a useful and interesting plot device. I liked the Indiana Jane vibe and the talk of ancient artifacts and that is part of what led me to the book.

I didn't have any great like or dislike for Owl but I did like that she had interests like gaming instead of just buying shoes and talking about makeup. The opening of the book where she is evading vampires and unwanted clients was fun to get us into the story. After the first few chapters, I was thinking 'this is ok so far'.

Yeah and then she arrived in Japan and it went downhill when we met Nadya and Rynn. Frankly Nadya is a bully and I didn't like her at all. She forces Owl to sit and drink when she doesn't want to, when it is clear that Owl can't function when drunk AND she is being chased by dangerous people. Yes Nadya, get her drunk and leave her on her own to fend off your drunken customers and be easy meat for any passing enemy. Owl is weak and whiny when she is with Nadya, drinking as ordered. Don't you have a mind of your own you stupid girl? Say no and don't drink it!

The story then slows down while we explore the boring relationship between Owl and Rynn. Basically they were friends, he kissed her, she ran off, he's all offended. *yawn* The amount of angst we get from both characters over this relationship and whether there should be one was really boring. There was no chemistry between them and nothing to suggest them being suited as a couple. What was the point in it? It added nothing to the story and spoiled the plot which had been moving nicely until then. As soon as we get to Japan, everything slows and we go into Owl in whiny mode. Authors are obsessed with throwing in the romance element even if it doesn't work or isn't needed. Can't we just have the guy working with the girl for once???

So I didn't follow Owl beyond Japan which is a shame when the book had real potential for me. I'm getting frequently frustrated by bad romance plots ruining decent stories and I don't stick with such plots when they occur. Such a pity! 
star rating photo: Two Star Rating 2stars.png


  1. Oh darn. I have this to read too. Hopefully I'll get on better with it!

    1. I think you probably will. There was a lot to like in this book and if I was more patient, maybe I'd have got by the love issues and got to the meat of the story. It's certainly not a bad book.