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Owl and the Japanese Circus by Kristi Charish eARC {4 Stars}

Owl and the Japanese Circus by Kristi Charish is the start of a new urban fantasy series starting an ex-archeology grad student turned antiquities thief with a cat that can smell vampires! This is a very useful kind of cat to have since Owl has managed to piss off some vampires and soon finds herself in business with a JAPANESE DRAGON *hyperventilates*. I don’t think I’ve honestly read a fantasy with a clearly eastern dragon before and I’m so pumped that I now have and that he won’t be going away in future books ;-). Oh and there is a slow burn romance that I’m completely shipping!

Note: I received an advanced copy of Owl and the Japanese Circus from the publisher. Some things may have changed in the final version.

Owl and the Japanese Circus by Kristi Charish eARC {4 Stars}

Owl and the Japanese Circus by Kristi Charish (The Adventures of Owl #1)
Published by Simon & Schuster Canada on Jan. 13th, 2015
Genres: Adult, Urban Fantasy
Page Length: 432 pages
How I got my copy: NetGalley
Amazon - Book Depository - Goodreads
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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.

4 Stars


  • Owl is an archeologist! An antiquities thief! I.e she really is Indiana Jones except she doesn’t teach history, just full time thieving ;-). She is also quick to point out that she is an archeologist that happens to thieve at times, not a thief that happens to do some archeology. She works hard at those dig sites!
  • Our lovely heroine is also so awesome because she is just the right combination of spunky and smart for me. Urban fantasy heroines are often strong and sassy but solve things by being clever with a mystery or just punching through. Owl is much more a research-focused heroine who prefers running from scary things ;-). This was a delightful change of pace.
  • I think my favorite thing about Owl and the Japanese Circus is probably the amount of research that is clearly packed into it. I learned a lot about historical sites in Bali and I love that (at least as long as it was mostly true, otherwise that will make for an amusing cocktail party conversation >.>). Beyond the archeology research, Owl plays a massively-multiplayer online role-playing game that, as a former gamer, I was quite impressed with. I don’t think I want to play it because it sounds hard, but I suspect Charish has dabbled in her share of games, hehe.
  • I mentioned the awesomeness that is Owl’s cat, Captain, right? Well, if you need to know more, just check out the wanted ad that Charish supplied me with when Owl was looking for a cat sitter. Yeah, that cat is awesome.
  • The writing of Owl and the Japanese Circus is really fun and fast (though does involve a fair number of f-bombs for those wondering!). However, my favorite part is that it breaks the fourth wall and Owl at times mentally addresses the reader directly. It very much felt like I was having coffee (or maybe Coronas, ha) with her and she was recounting this tale of adventure.
  • I can have multiple favorite things right? I said in a review recently that I hadn’t read enough books based on Japanese myths and I’m so happy to be fixing that without even trying! Owl and the Japanese Circus feature a number of unusual creatures for urban fantasy, several of which are clearly straight from Japanese legends and I really enjoyed guessing what they were!


  • When I first started Owl and the Japanese Circus, I thought I’d fly through it since it was so fun. However, it did end up getting a little long in the middle for me with too much searching and not enough epic ending happening soon enough. I do want to include the disclaimer that I was on cold meds for all of it though so it could have been that >.>.
  • While I liked some of the ways that Owl’s gaming got tangled with her work, there is one element that ended up making me feel rather uncomfortable since she basically gains a stalker for a period of time. Not cool dude.
  • With the amount of epic build-up in Owl and the Japanese Circus, I knew that it was fifty-fifty whether the ending would bring it all together in just the way I was hoping. It didn’t quite manage that and mostly I was disappointed since I felt some potential was wasted. Still worked, but not to the level of epic I was hoping.


Owl and the Japanese Circus is SO MUCH FUN! If you’re looking for a new urban fantasy series to read while waiting for sequels to Kate Daniels and Mercy Thompson, Owl is the series for you. Kristi Charish is on my auto-read list now and I am so so excited to see what she comes up with next (she’s starting a new series already too!!).

Anya from On Starships and Dragonwings

Have you read this one? What did you think? Are you excited for it if you haven’t gotten to it yet?
– Anya


 Owl and the Japanese Circus by Kristi Charish

© 2015, Anya. All rights reserved.


  1. Having read your review, I am now REALLY looking forward to it! It sounds amazing. Archeology and Dragons and Vampires and a subtle ‘ship? I need to track this one down immediately!
    Stephanie recently posted…Saturdays in the Garden – Local Food for When the Zombie Apocalypse HitsMy Profile

  2. OK, I really need to jump on the bandwagon and read this one. Sounds like a lot of fun!
    Lisa (@TenaciousReader) recently posted…Interview with Brian Staveley, Author of The Providence of FireMy Profile

  3. Yay! Glad to see this get a good review! I just bought it yesterday. Very excited to start it now.

  4. We rated this one the same! I had so much fun with this as well :D I adored Owl and how she wasn’t as perfect as some heroines tend to be -which to me is unrealistic anyway. And of course, I adored her cat (♥), the fresh take on DRAGONS and all the other supernatural beings that popped up! And yeah, the romance was perfectly slow-burn and I shipped the hell out of it ;) Can’t wait for book 2!
    Micheline @ Lunar Rainbows Reviews recently posted…ARC Review: Owl & the Japanese CircusMy Profile

    • Yes exactly! Owl definitely had flaws, but that made me believe her so much more. And instead of conveniently becoming better when the plot needed her to, she was still herself and screwed things up, haha. I totally actually used the word ship while reading!!!

  5. I agree, this was so much fun! This is probably the first review I’ve read that doesn’t talk about how frustrating Owl can be sometimes though, with her impulsiveness and smart mouth that always gets her into trouble :)
    Mogsy @ BiblioSanctum recently posted…Comment on 2015: Most Anticipated Science Fiction & Fantasy Books Written by Women by Tabitha (Not Yet Read)My Profile

    • Ha, yeah she just didn’t bother me for some reason. I guess I felt like her actions were true to her character and I liked seeing that she had weaknesses?

  6. I’m intrigued. Although I do get disappointed when endings fall short of their potential. I’m going to have to add it to my list
    Jen recently posted…Atlantis Rising by Gloria Craw #BookReviewMy Profile

    • I feel the need to couch that point by saying that it was still really entertaining, I just had such high expectations by the end because the whole book was so good, haha

  7. A Japanese dragon! A slow burn ship! A Blunt protagonist! So much to recommend this one. I haven’t heard anyone mention the fourth wall thing yet but that sounds awesome! My copy is on its way and I’m super pumped to read this one. Definitely can’t say no to a Mercy Thompson comparison.

    • Yey!! I’m jealous you’re going to have a physical copy soon, I’m being good and just putting it on my birthday wishlist haha. So pretty!!

  8. You had me when you compared it to Kate Daniels series. I need another great uf while I wait for a sequel. And I love my romances slow-burning…
    Dragana recently posted…Top Ten Books Published in 2014 that I MUST READ in 2015My Profile

  9. I had never heard of this book till now. I am going to have to put in a request for my library to get :)
    Felicia the Geeky Blogger recently posted…Snagged @ The Library Review: Pride Mates by Jennifer AshleyMy Profile

  10. Totally agree! I had a blast with this book. I had not heard about that ad for the cat sitter so I’m going to check that out. I did love Captain!!
    Tammy @ Books, Bones & Buffy recently posted…Waiting on Wednesday [133] SPLINTERED by Jamie SchultzMy Profile

  11. Agreed. Great book, a lot of fun, with some really unique mythology and locations, but the gaming element was a weak spot for me too. Not just the stalker behavior, but the fact that Owl was so slow to catch on to the fact that he was more than just an in-game stalker.
    Bob (@beauty_in_ruins) recently posted…Waiting on Wednesday: The Border by Robert McCammonMy Profile

    • Wasn’t that so creepy?? I was just like uh Owl, this is really not a safe situation! I mean he could hack into her hotel room!!! I’m excited to see what happens next book though :D


  1. […] around trouble-creator, Owl! If you want to read my thoughts on book one, check out the review of Owl and the Japanese Circus. Overall, I found this sequel to be a bit lacking compared to book one, but I have hope that […]

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