Book Review: Kitty and the Midnight Hour
November 09, 2007 01:07 AM EST (Updated: November 10, 2007 01:51 PM EST)
The first book I'm reviewing is Kitty and the Midnight Hour, a novel by Carrie Vaughn, published by Warner Books.
Kitty Norville is a young woman in
That success, however, is not without its complications. As a werewolf, Kitty is a member of the local pack. Therefore, she has a place in the pecking order, and a low-ranking place at that. She is also by default at odds with the local vampire Family, and the two groups are as bitter rivals as street gangs. Having her own, successful show brings Kitty into conflict with her own werewolf superiors, as well as with the vampires on the other side of town. Luckily, in addition to enemies, Kitty has friends on both sides as well.
Kitty is dedicated to her program, which not only helps thousands of people across the country, but is also quite lucrative. However, holding onto her show in the midst of pressures from all sides proves very dangerous. Kitty must negotiate these dire straits if she's to stand up for her show, her status, and her independence.
I was enchanted with this book from the moment I started reading it. Vaughn's account of werewolf life is captivating. I got chills when I learned of the freedom that Kitty and her friends feel when running through the woods in wolf form. Conversely, I was horrified to learn of how they have to struggle with each other, vampires, werewolf hunters, and the police.
The fight scenes in this novel are breathtaking. As a woman, Kitty is petite and not at all imposing. But as a wolf, she is not only terrifying but awe-inspiring. Over the course of the story, Kitty moves up the hierarchy of her pack, transforming from a cringing little subordinate to a confident, competent contender. Vaughn's descriptions of Kitty's battles with other werewolves are wonderful. The characters fight as humans, as wolves, and even in a form part-way between the two. Their skills as fighters are superb, and the way they dispatch their foes is amazing. This brutality contrasts with the subtlety of the turf war with the vampires, and the interplay with the police force, but Vaughn weaves all these elements together into an engaging and memorable story.
This novel also puts forth some fascinating ideas about the origins of lycanthropy and vampirism, using interesting agencies such as the "Center for the Study of Paranatural Biology" as a mouthpiece – a delicious blend of fantasy and science fiction.
I really enjoyed Kitty and the Midnight Hour. It is not a "literary" novel with a particularly thought-provoking theme, but then, it doesn't pretend to be. Rather, it is an enthralling fantasy about a loveable protagonist who is on a journey of growth and maturation. This is a welcome twist on an old legend, and I am glad I found it.
Kitty and the Midnight Hour is the first novel in the Kitty Norville series. The second book in the series is Kitty Goes to Washington, and I am looking forward to reading it, too.