Published January 2015 by Gallery Books
We should start by getting something out of the way: If you’re looking for the story of an anthropomorphic predatory bird that runs away from home to join the circus, you might be a little disappointed. There are no actual owls in this book.
If, on the other hand, you’re in the market for a fun, fast-paced supernatural adventure story that’s reminiscent equally of Indiana Jones-style adventure stories and Whedonesque banter and self-aware humour, then you’re in luck, and Owl and the Japanese Circus is the type of novel you might want to check out.
Owl…, the debut novel from BC author Kristi Charish, is the story of the eponymous Owl, an antiquities thief who tries to live her life by one simple rule: don’t get caught up with the supernatural. This is, of course, a perfectly sensible rule, and like many perfectly sensible rules in life, it gets completely ignored as she gets mixed up with vampires, dragons, and other supernatural creatures in a globe-trotting, temple-robbing adventure. Owl is a rough-around-the-edges protagonist with an interesting backstory and a quick wit, and her adventures are cinematic in pace and scope, while still containing enough depth and complexity that the reader isn’t left wanting.
This is the first book in a series, and in it Charish establishes an interesting character and status quo for the rest of the series while also telling a story that stands well on its own. Without venturing into spoiler territory, this works somewhat as an origin story for Owl, both in terms of the backstory that’s provided for her and the path that she’s set on in terms of future adventures that she will no doubt be having. For fans of urban fantasy, pulpy classic adventure heroes, and compelling, sharp-tongued protagonists, Owl and the Japanese Circus is a title that’s definitely worth picking up.