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Giveaway and Review: Owl and the Japanese Circus by Kristi Charish

Giveaway and Review: Owl and the Japanese Circus by Kristi Charish
Owl and the Japanese Circus
Author: Kristi Charish
Series: The Adventures of Owl #1
Publisher: Simon and Schuster
Published on: January 13 2015
Genre: Urban Fantasy
Format: 432 pages,Provided by: NetGalley
Amazon | Kobo | B&N | Book Depo | GoodReads

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.

FED-THE-NERD fangtastic paranormal


A lot of you know that Urban Fantasy is my go-to genre—I can go (and have) for a straight six months of reading it and nothing else.


This can be a problem, b/c compared to others, UF is kind of a small genre, and an even bigger problem is that a LOT of the big series have been concluding over the last few years, and while many of those authors are starting new series (eventually), some of the new players often leave something to be desired.


I cannot tell you how many times a new series has caught my eye in the last eighteen(ish) months, only to leave me feeling MEH on a good day, and downright frustrated or misled on a bad day.


Enter 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.

Let’s take a minute to dissect this claim.


1. I have no idea who Linda (Laurell K.?) Hamilton is, but Kim Harrison and Jim Butcher . . . those are mighty big shoes to fill.
2. The original Indiana Jones movies are (IMO) some of the BEST movies ever made.


Publicists have been doing this sort of thing a lot lately. I’ve been lured into reading books by claims of “perfect for fans of insert-Big-Deal-author-here” or “dark debut reminiscent of random-Genre-Defying/Ground-Breaking-novel” and, sadly, these carrots have always left me feeling like a put-upon donkey.


I don’t like feeling like a jackass.


So when I saw the above comparison . . . I admit it . . . there were a few squints, and perhaps a snort of disbelief (or three).


BUT “Indiana Jane” was too fantastic a possibility for me to bypass.


Which is a good thing, b/c for the first time ever, a book has actually lived up to it’s hype.

Owl is a . . . procurer of rare things . . . old things . . . artifacts, if you will.


She got into this line of work after being laughably expelled from her doctoral studies when she discovered things that ought not be discovered, and true to her tenacious nature, refused to bury said discovery.


This made her understandably bitter.


Now most “normal” people in this situation would probably find a teaching position at some third-rate institution. After all, one must complete a Masters degree before starting work towards a PhD . . . but not Owl.


What she didn’t realize at the time, was that frequently the “people” with the means and inclination to hire her for her services are the same “people” who destroyed her dreams of becoming a legitimate archaeologist, and after one such job goes south, Owl finds herself living on the run, in a Winnebago, with her cat.


As it turns out, an angry vampire is just as tenacious as Owl herself.


SO. No working for supernaturals. Ever.


Unless a dragon sends his goons to track you down to the parking lot of an abandoned service station, toss you unceremoniously into a helicopter, and deliver you to his Las Vegas doorstep for a face-to-face chat . . . then, you know . . . you do as you’re told. B/c DRAGON.


If you missed my Interview with Kristi Charish, my first question was “is Owl really 100% human?” b/c humans don’t tend to hold up well in the supernatural world. BUT through a combination of cleverness, tech savvy, and friends (supernatural and otherwise), Owl does quite well for herself.


I have two concerns. The first is (like the Special Snowflake MC) the Human-among-Creatures character has a list of stereotypes they can easily fall into, the foremost being serendipitously-rescued-by-bigger-stronger-b/c-NOT-human-friends. However, this type of character is typically relegated to sidekick status, and Charish is determined that Owl stand on her own two feet.


The second is habitual use of an extremely offensive term. Owl isn’t great with people. She also has trust issues, and the resulting incredibly small circle of friends. When one of these friends reveals previously unknown (and admittedly important) information about himself, Owl is both shocked and hurt, so she lashes out, and says something . . . so far over the line that I had a flashback to adolescence of my mother saying, “Don’t speak in anger, b/c once you say something to someone you love, it can never be unsaid.”


Stuff happens, and they reconcile, but afterwards that same ugly word is used as a sort of joke. Friend calls Owl something not nice in return, but it’s the equivalent of a friend calling you a hot mess, and you calling them a hideous skank or a stupid cow in return. Over and over again. Maybe this is just one of my trigger words View Spoiler »whore « Hide Spoiler, and it won’t bother anyone else. Regardless, to me, the “joke” only served as a reminder of the terrible thing Owl said to Friend that can never be unsaid.


BUT of those two concerns, one will hopefully not be an issue, and the other . . . maybe part of Owl’s new gig will include a required class on workplace sensitivity that will bleed into other areas of her life. *crosses fingers*


Overall, Owl and the Japanese Circus is the surprisingly good first installment of an Urban Fantasy series that has made my inner cynic shut her mouth about publicity plugs in book blurbs. Charish is the cool new kid you don’t want to miss, and Owl just might be the human to make the creatures sit up and pay attention. Highly recommended.


And now for the giveaway:


I’m lazy and hate rafflecopter, so this is how it’s going to work. Charish has generously offered up a signed copy of Owl and the Japanese Circus for a winner from the US or Canada, OR a digital ebook for a winner from anywhere (US, Canada, or otherwise). I have pre-selected a comment number as winner, and if you are that commenter, and are from the US or Canada, you can tell me which you want when I email you. If you are from somewhere else, you get the ebook, but HOORAY for international giveaways, right? Right. *winks*


Was this review helpful to you? If so, please consider voting for it on Amazon or like it on Goodreads!


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Source: http://rabidreads.ca/2015/01/giveaway-and-review-owl-and-the-japanese-circus-by-kristi-charish.html