Tuesday, January 05, 2016

Review: Owl and the City of Angels by Kristi Charish

Owl and the City of Angels
Author:  Kristi Charish
Series:  Owl 2
Publisher:  Pocket Star, October 5, 2015
Format:  eBook, 304 pages
List Price:   $5.99
ISBN: 9781476779881
Review Copy: Provided by the Publisher
Trade Paperback available March 1, 2016

The wild second adventure for unforgettable antiquities thief Owl—a modern-day “Indiana Jane” who reluctantly navigates the hidden supernatural world—from the pen of rising urban fantasy star Kristi Charish. For fans of Kim Harrison, Jim Butcher, Jennifer Estep, Jenn Bennett, and the like. The series also includes Owl and the Japanese Circus and Owl and the Electric Samurai.

Alix Hiboux, better known as Owl, international antiquities thief for hire, is settling into her new contract job for Vegas mogul Mr. Kurosawa, a red dragon with a penchant for ancient, supernatural artifacts. And now he has his sights set on some treasures of the mysterious Syrian City of the Dead that are sitting in a recluse’s private collection.

There’s just one wrinkle. To stop the resurrection of an undead army that could wreak havoc on Los Angeles, Owl must break into a heavily guarded archaeological sight [sic] in one of the most volatile regions in the world. A detour through Libya and a run-in with Somali pirates sends the clock ticking hastily toward total paranormal disaster.

Meanwhile, Alexander and the Paris vampires have stopped stalking Owl’s apartment, but they have by no means forgotten their death grudge against her. To top everything off, Owl finds out the hard way that there is nothing heavenly about the City of Angels...

Doreen’s Thoughts

In her second novel, Owl and the City of Angels, Kristi Charish brings back her character, Owl, working full-time now for the dragon who hired her in the prior book. As an international antiquities thief, Owl reminds other readers of Indiana Jones, but I have always thought of her as Lara Croft. She is still on the run from the IAA, the group that monitors archaeological sites across the world, particularly those with a supernatural twist. In between avoiding the IAA and performing jobs for Mr. Kurosawa, Owl likes to keep her hand in with picking up treasures of her own.

The story starts in Egypt, with Owl attempting to steal a Medusa head, when the IAA appears to up its efforts to capture Owl. Apparently, someone else has been impersonating Owl and stealing antiquities from banned sites, those with supernatural elements that are too dangerous to be exposed to an unsuspecting world. The unknown thief chooses targets and uses techniques that are too similar to Owl’s to be coincidence, and the IAA is determined to shut her down for good. Her research brings Owl to a dig site in the Middle East, where Owl must face the professor who double-crossed her and set the IAA on her trail in the first place.

Owl and the City of Angels is a rollicking story, with adventure after adventure being thrown at Owl. She faces mummies, Somali pirates, and zombies. She still games heavily with the elf, Carpe, and we find that the World Quest maps are key to her finding where certain antiquities are hidden. Her friends, Nadya and Rynn, are more heavily involved in her life these days, which is a good thing, because Owl needs more people in her life. In addition, she still has her cat Captain, the Egyptian Mau that hunts vampires. She also meets Rynn’s cousin, another incubus but seemingly less benevolent than Rynn himself. These people all help the readers figure Owl out through her interactions with them.

Charish does a great job with descriptions, not only of the archaeological sites and treasures themselves, but more importantly, of the actual physical adventures. One can picture how Owl dangles above a sarcophagus, with rats running over her legs and water rising to cover the Medusa head she must rescue. Sometimes, Charish’s inventions run almost too comical, as with the Somali pirates kidnapping Owl and a zombie apocalypse in Los Angeles, but somehow Charish is able to pull it off.

As a strong female character competing in a male world, Owl is a great role model for young girls. This book can probably be read as a standalone, because Charish does a great job of reintroducing characters and stories from the earlier novel; however, I enjoyed seeing the character development of Owl from one novel to the next. She started out as a solo thief, alone but for her cat, and has grown into a key member of a team, including Nadya and Rynn. I look forward to seeing what other adventures Owl can have.


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