Book Reviews 2009 #10-13: Carrie Vaughn’s Kitty Novels

Disclaimer: I received these four books (and two more, as yet unread) from the publisher in exchange for reading and reviewing them.
Kitty and the Midnight Hour, Kitty Goes to Washington, Kitty Takes a Holiday and Kitty and the Silver Bullet are the first four books in a series about a talk radio host who is a werewolf, written by Carrie Vaughn.


Kitty Norville’s universe is one very similar to ours and very similar to other urban fantasy novels of this particular subgenre. Things do go bump in the night but (especially at the beginning of the series), their official existence kept from the public.
Kitty Norville is a Denver DJ who turns talk show host for a late night show dealing with vampires, werewolves and other things that go bump in the night. She’s good at it, and she should be.
Kitty, you see, is secretly a member of the werewolf pack of Denver.
In the course of the four novels, Kitty’s fan base grows, her existence as a werewolf (and the existence of these sorts of creatures in general) becomes known, and poor Kitty has to deal with all of these changes. Where Vaughn is the strongest and the novels sing is not necessarily in the metaphysical and magical implications of all of these creatures, but in the characterizations. Specifically, Kitty. Kitty Norville is a fully fleshed and formed character who lives and grows in these four novels in a believable and understandable way.
Too much of the oeuvre of urban fantasy novels border on smut fan fic (Laurell K Hamilton, I am looking at YOU) or are really just romance novels with a bit of paranormal feel, or are slap and dash rewritings or derivatives of White Wolf’s World of Darkness. Vaughn manages to avoid these pitfalls. While these novels are not high art that will win Hugo Awards, the novels have enough heft for my taste. She doesn’t go deeply into the origins and nature of the various supernatural creatures, but we do get slow and steady reveals of what the paranormal side of the world is like in Kitty’s universe. It satisfied me.
The books are a quick and easy read that I devoured in a couple of days each on my commute. None of the books outstayed their welcome, and all were more than satisfactory in keeping me entertained.I enjoyed the four novels, and have two more recent ones to read in the near future, after a short break from Kitty and her world.
I recently complained that there was too much urban fantasy as opposed to science fiction and other kinds of fantasy.(and readers of this space will recall my negative experience with some of the urban fantasy out there). It’s good to see that some of the tidal wave of urban fantasy is actually worth my time, and yours.