Book Review: Owl and the City of Angels by Kristi Charish
A review copy was provided by the publisher in exchange for an honest review. All opinions are my own.
Mogsy’s Rating: 3.5 of 5 stars
Genre: Urban Fantasy
Series: Book 2 of The Adventures of Owl
Publisher: Pocket Star (10/5/15)
Length: 423 pages
Owl is back, and things are more fun and explosive than ever in this sequel to Owl and the Japanese Circus, Kristi Charish’s debut featuring the eponymous former archaeology student turned international antiquities thief. I’m sure those of us who have read the first book are familiar with the character’s smart-alecky, rabble-rousing ways, and true to form, Owl gets into a heap of trouble again—except this time, it’s actually not her fault! Well, not all of it, anyway…
Alix “Owl” Hiboux has always prided herself on being the best at what she does, but having a reputation isn’t always what it’s cracked up to be. Right now, someone out there is using it against her, plundering off-limit dig sites while trying to make it all look like her work. This has landed her in hot water with the IAA, the governing body that regulates archaeological sites worldwide, but our heroine has even bigger problems to worry about—the supernatural kind.
Now Owl has got everything from vampires to sirens howling after her blood, and even her boss, the red dragon Mr. Kurosawa is not entirely convinced of her innocence. To prove that she had nothing to do with the thefts, Owl will have to go and recover the stolen artifacts herself and catch the real tomb raiders responsible, taking her on an adventure through some of the most dangerous and unstable places in the world, from the pirate-infested coast of Somalia to the mysterious City of the Dead in war-torn Syria.
Fans of Owl and the Japanese Circus should find plenty to love again in Owl and the City of Angels, which brings back all the high-speed action and entertainment that made the first book so great. I was pleased to see that my favorite things about Japanese Circus—the archaeology, paranormal elements, supernatural baddies, and of course Owl’s favorite online game World Quest—are all reiterated in this sequel. Furthermore, Charish sets an even faster pace, and there’s no question about it, City of Angels is also bigger and more ambitious in pretty much every aspect.
Perhaps the biggest improvement I noted was Owl’s character herself. Being a cheeky, foul-mouthed thief who makes impulsive, spur of the moment decisions, her personality was a sore point in a lot of reviews I saw for the first book. In my own review of Owl and the Japanese Circus, I also noted Owl’s complete lack of self-preservation skills and her tendency to spout insults at friends and enemies alike when she feels like she is up against a wall—which made it tougher for her to grow on me. However, I had a lot less trouble connecting to her this time around. Owl is still prickly and impetuous, but she has toned down her volatile attitude, becoming a lot more aware of her actions and even experiences an introspective moment or two. Love her or hate her, the fact that she is an ever-evolving and dynamic character scores huge points in my book.
Granted, the story still has lots of over-the-top, far-fetched moments where you’ll have to suspend your disbelief, but if you didn’t find this to be an issue in the first installment, I doubt it will affect your enjoyment here either. Personally, the only reason why I rated this book a half star lower than its predecessor is because I felt the supernatural conflict dragged on a little too long for my tastes, and I was a little worn down by the time we hit the three-quarters mark. Still, while the plot could have used some tightening up, other than that, I could find few other faults with this wild sequel.
In the end, it’s all about the fun. When it comes to delivering pure and unadulterated entertainment, Kristi Charish has scored another hit with Owl and the City of Angels, and you can be sure I’m looking forward to the next adventure starring its plucky “Indiana Jane” heroine and her group of fearless friends.
More on The BiblioSanctum:
Review of Owl and the Japanese Circus (Book 1)