Tuesday, June 20, 2017

Review: "Owl and the Electric Samurai," by Kristi Charish

In her third adventure, “Owl and the Electric Samurai” ($18, Simon and Schuster), things get even more sticky for Kristi Charish’s antiquities thief Alix Hiboux, better known as Owl.

As the book opens, Owl finds her loyalties divided and about to be divided further. She’s trying to retrieve artifacts for her dragon boss, Mr. Kurosawa, being pressured by the IAA to find the two creators of the World Quest game and being tempted by the possibility of stumbling into the fabled land of Shangri-La.

All of those things come together when she’s called home and given a new assignment by Kurosawa, to retrieve an ancient and magical suit of armor last worn by one of Genghis Khan’s generals. Dubbed the Electric Samurai by Owl, the suit has been missing since that time, and the faction that now wants it raises concerns about the stability of supernatural society.

Charish’s tale takes an interesting turn in this third book in the series. While it’s still focused firmly on Owl, she begins to peel back the veil a little bit on the secret supernatural society that exists around her. We don’t get incredibly deep into the intrigue and politics going on there, but we do start to get a better picture and realize that not all of the supes are on the same page. It also gives Owl a larger mission than just saving her own skin, which has been her driving motivation through the first two books.

I’m also pleased that our heroine seems to be getting a little smarter as the stories go on. Even though I really like Owl, she often frustrated me in the first two books by doing things that I thought were just plain dumb, like walking into obvious traps. She’s still reckless here, but seems to be learning to stop and think for a moment before acting. That’s not to say that she still doesn’t walk into traps, but at the least, she’s being compelled to do it.

Though she’s getting smarter in some respects, she still has trouble getting control of her mouth, and I wouldn’t have her any other way. Her wisecracks liven up the book, and her tendency to let her mouth overload her rear end is one of her more endearing qualities to a guy who used to have a bad case of that same problem.

I’m interested to see where Charish goes with the story after this installment. The events of this book promise some darker days ahead for Owl, and I’m wondering if the tone and attitude will change as we head into the fourth book.

Once again, “Owl and the Electric Samurai” doesn’t really break any new ground in its genre, but it’s fantastic fun, and that’s all I really ask from urban fantasy.


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