Today is Carrie Vaughn's birthday. I've previously done a birthday review focussing on her short fiction, so today I've assembled four very brief looks at some novels in the long series that began her book career: stories about Kitty Norville, a late night DJ who becomes a werewolf.
Kitty and the Midnight Hour
Carrie Vaughn is a fairly new writer whose short work I have quite enjoyed, so I was happy to see her first novel, which does not disappoint, though it's not quite a masterpiece.
Kitty and the Midnight Hour is expanded from a couple of stories that appeared in Weird Tales, about Kitty Norville, a werewolf who works as a late night radio DJ. One night she gets a call from someone who claims to be werewolf, and she runs with it. Before long, her secret is out, and so are some details about the supernatural creatures, mainly vampires and werewolves, who live among us.
The story concerns Kitty's uneasy relationship with her pack -- she is supposed to be subservient to the leaders, and her new prominence threatens the pack's hierarchy. Also, there are threats from the vampires, who don't get along with the werewolves, and who fear exposure. And, finally, there is a "preacher" who promises to "turn" werewolves and vampires back into humans, but who seems to do more harm than good -- maybe.
The novel is very good on depicting Kitty's difficulties with her pack relationship -- which has both good and bad sides; and on her ambivalence about her new nature and her original "human" nature. Would she want to change back? Maybe yes, maybe no. And so with many werewolves and vampires. Plotwise it's a bit slack and episodic. Some key issues are resolved, others are tabled for upcoming novels. It's a decent piece of work, not great, but I'll be looking for the sequel.
Kitty and the Dead Man's Hand
Carrie Vaughn's Kitty novels center on Kitty Norville, a Denver DJ who is also a werewolf. As related in the previous books, she has become a celebrity after she started a radio show dealing with the problems of supernatural beings -- werecreatures, vampires, and more -- and especially after she "outed" herself as a werewolf. By the time this book opens, she's the leader of Denver's "pack" of werewolves, having ousted the abusive previous pack leaders, and she's ready to get married to her former lawyer, Ben O'Farrell, who has been turned to a werewolf himself (not by Kitty). They decide to run off to Las Vegas to get married -- so as to avoid the hassle of putting together a big wedding -- and then Kitty's producer hits on the idea of a one-off TV version of her show, to be filmed in one of the Vegas hotel auditoriums. Plus Ben has realized his were-senses give him an edge at the poker table, and he has an itch to play in a big tournament.
Once in Vegas, besides getting ready for the wedding, and besides winning at Poker and putting on a TV show, Kitty and Ben investigate the local scene. This includes the surprising shallow vampire Master of Las Vegas, Dominic. Also there is a magician whose tricks appear possibly to be real magic, not just illusion. And there is a tiger/leopard show at one hotel in which, Kitty quickly figures out, the animals in the act are actually weres. Moreover, there don't seem to be any wereWOLVES at all in town.
It's a short, fast-moving novel. Perhaps kind of a side-branch in the series as a whole. It's a good solid read, with an exciting and scary climax. And a slingshot to the next book ... which is as I said due in quick succession, in March.
Kitty and the Silver Bullet
I've also had lots of fun reading Carrie Vaughn's series about Kitty Norville, late night DJ and also werewolf. The books so far have introduced Kitty and her condition, and have also revealed that there are lots of magical beings out there -- werefolk of many types, vampires, skinwalkers, and more. Kitty has become a celebrity, and the world has become aware of the other humans among them.
In this latest volume Kitty is back in her hometown, Denver. As things open she has a miscarriage, and learns that a nasty side effect of being a werewolf is that you can't carry a child to term. Even more pressingly, her mother has been diagnosed with cancer -- and she isn't interested in Kitty's idea for a cure -- turning her mother into a werewolf. In the wider world, there is a serious threat to the stability of the paranormal folk in Denver -- the ruling vampire is under challenge, and Kitty's former pack leader, who she hates, has been embroiled in vampire politics. Kitty also is pressured to get involved, which is the last thing she wants ... but of course she can't stay out.
It's nice work -- a fairly typical entry in a template series, advancing the overall plot arc nicely while also setting up and resolving a single-book plot quite well. These remain good fun books.
Kitty Raises Hell
It's been a while since I read Kitty Raises Hell, and I don't have much to say about it. This came hard on the heels of the previous Kitty novel, in which she went to Vegas and got involved with some scary were-tigers and a really scary vampire. Now she's back in Denver, but the enemies she made in Vegas are still after her, and they seem to have sent a supernatural creature to harass her and her friends.
In the process of figuring out what's up with the curse, Kitty gets involved with the crew of a TV show that investigates supernatural stuff like haunted houses. The crew members are a mix of hardcore skeptics and people who think there's something to all this weird stuff, and over time Kitty wins them over somewhat. She also deals with a vampire from out of town who has a possibly interesting offer ... It's enjoyable as all these books have been, indeed I'd rate it one of the better entries in the series, though the basic review has to be: "If you are reading these books, of course keep reading them. If not, try the first one and see if they work for you." (Though probably any of the books can be read standalone with enjoyment.)