Series: The Adventures of Owl #1
Genres: Urban Fantasy
Published by Pocket Star on 13 January 2015
Owl, international antiquities thief extraordinaire, lives by one motto – no supernatural jobs, ever. She unfortunately catches the attention of a red dragon called Mr Kurasawa who makes her an offer she can’t refuse. All she has to do is find a rare object that has been missing for 3000 years and in return, she gets to live. Simple, right?
Owl is a deeply damaged individual who steals antiquities in between avoiding the host of vampires hot on her trail. She has a penchant for blithely striding where sensible people, including supernaturals, fear to tread and deserves kudos for being a human that can survive in such a world. Owl is used to being betrayed and this colours all of her relationships (such as they are). It should come as no surprise then that she has a grand total of four friends which includes her cat, Captain, and a guy she plays a game with online. Her friendship with Rynn and Nadya is interesting as while they accept that she is ‘broken’ but she is so afraid of being hurt, she uses any excuse to push them away and can be pretty nasty at times.
This is one of those ‘yes but…’ kinda books. Yes, the protagonist isn’t a very nice person but… she is aware of her issues and slowly tries to change when she sees the effect her actions have had on her friends. Yes, there are several editing errors that could easily have been remedied but… they are minor in the grand scheme of things and the rest of the novel is quite well written. Yes, the relationship between Owl and Rynn is a bit stilted in parts because of the secrets between them but… the foundation is there and I want to see where they end up. Rynn’s past is suitably mysterious and if you are like me, you’ll be a tad frustrated that more wasn’t revealed.
The double-crossing and hidden agendas aspect however was very nicely executed as was the world building. There are a huge range of supernatural creatures from nagas to nymphs and dragons to demons, and Owl manages to tick off just about all of them which is no mean feat. It’s pretty ironic that Owl refuses to work with any supernatural creatures when the really slimy characters are often human. I really appreciated how Charish dripped information about the world to us as she avoided info-dumping but still managed to give quite a bit of detail. The fight sequences and temple exploring were a little Perils of Pauline-ish as they had me gripping my eReader tightly and racing through the pages to find out how Owl would get out of the latest deadly situation.
If you judge the book by the sum of its parts then its easy to see that it needed a little more polishing but… taken as a whole, it was highly entertaining and I relish the opportunity to read more in the series.