Book Review: Owl and the Japanese Circus
ashley | When the postman unexpectedly delivered to me a copy of Owl and the Japanese Circus by Kristi Charish, I was beyond thrilled. Not only because I love surprise mail, but because this book looked awesome. It described Owl as an “Indiana Jane” and promised plenty of archeological adventures. I don’t think anything could be more up my alley.
I really loved this book. One of the best books, not to mention best debuts, I’ve read this year. It was full of adventure and sarcasm and wit with a clever and unique plot. Owl was a strong female lead, but a deeply flawed character who always got herself into trouble and had to dig herself out. She has a big mouth and a short temper, doesn’t let people in and she’s pretty much a train wreck, but she’s great at what she does and the adventures we follow her on are really interesting.
The book is full of overdone supernatural beings like vampires and dragons, but there’s such a refreshing take on this entire world that I actually got excited about them again, which I honestly never thought would happen. Charish reinvents the supernatural with a good mix of modern influence, allowing them to seem right at home in our world.
The background characters are all so well crafted and interesting, I wanted to know more about them and see more of where their lives take them, which is uncommon for b-characters. And I had a lot of empathy for the bad guys in this as well, which is also uncommon. Like I said, really well crafted characters.
While I thought her cat sidekick was going to be a little cheesy and get old quick, this was actually a really charming part of the book and like all the other supernatural elements, it didn’t seem out of place at all. And that’s the beauty of this book, it could have been terribly cheesy and ridiculous, but it’s written in such a way that it doesn’t take itself too seriously, but also doesn’t come off as a joke. It’s the perfect balance that a lot of writers try and fail at but Charish does it so, so well.
I also really loved that Owl is a huge gamer. The game World Quest (which to me sounds like World of Warcraft), played a big part in her life and in the book, which could have been an unnecessary and boring tangent, but it worked really well and introduced us to another really interesting character. It also helped bring out more of Owl’s personality, she seemed to let her guard down a bit more when she was safely hidden behind a computer screen.
There are a lot of elements to this book, a lot of different creatures and tangents and while it might go a bit long, it’s fast paced, full of interesting characters and flies by quickly. The ending has an intriguing revelation that leaves this open for a sequel and a series, and for the first time in a while I can’t wait for more. I will follow Owl on any adventure she stumbles into and I know I will never be disappointed.
* We had the pleasure of speaking with Kristi and are excited to share that she will be doing a guest post and giveaway with us, so stay tuned for that! *