7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
on 16 August 2012
The Kitty werewolf series must be one of the first urban fantasy ones I started to read as the original 'Kitty and the Midnight Hour' came out in 2005. 'Kitty Steals the Show' is her 10th outing and as you might expect there have been peaks and troughs along the way (Vegas Kitty - 'Kitty and the Dead Man's Hand' was more trough than peak for example). However, Kitty is now back to top form with the story arc regarding the Long Game and it's leader Roman. In this novel we find Kitty in London and I was more than pleased to see that Carrie Vaughn really gets the UK/London. Perhaps this is because she lived in the UK for a year, but it is most refreshing not to see the Dick Van Dyke version of cockney. In fact, CV goes one better providing the Shakespearean English actor Ned Alleyn as a key character and vampire (of course). The action all takes place at a conference - I've been to some pretty deadly conferences in my time but this one definitely takes the biscuit. Another high is Kitty's relationship with Ben which is as strong as ever (despite naughty were-Jaguars) and is now a key part of the novels - this of course goes to make Kitty's inability to have a child all the more poignant and CV covers this with great subtlety and sensitivity. If you like Kitty then I highly recommend that you read it - Kitty is back on track and definitely steals the show. Only downside is the horrible UK cover - so not Kitty but I wouldn't mark down the content for that.
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on 10 April 2013
This is the tenth Kitty Norville book, and is definitely not the place to start if you haven't read any of the previous books. So much of what happens in this book depends on the events of previous books that anyone who hasn't read the previous books is going to be hopelessly at sea.
Other reviewers have commented on the lack of a really effective 'bad guy', or even a problem to solve. I agree. The 'bad guy' for this book could have been omitted entirely without damaging the story - and, in fact, I think it would have been a better book if he had been cut. Most of the book was about the long-running series events, and the bad guy du jour simply wasn't convincing, or bad enough, to be really effective. The bits with him in felt more like interruptions to the plot than the allegedly major action.
We get a bit of Kitty's reaction to London - I liked those bits; she's a first-time traveller outside her own country, and that country is a young one. First time abroad, first time in a city with so much history. Others have commented that there wasn't enough London-specific scene-setting, to make it clear that Kitty was in London rather than some other city, but I didn't feel the lack. To be fair, in most books cities come across as pretty generic unless the action is centred around a famous monument - and there's only so many ways you can do that without being contrived. Besides, it's supposed to be urban fantasy; if you want a detailed description of London, buy a Lonely Planet guide. (However, American authors please note: British people do not talk about 'blocks'! Most of our cities - as Kitty notes - are not planned on the grid system, so we do not use the 'block' as a unit of distance because it doesn't make sense. We use metres or yards, or say things like "Turn right half a mile before you get to the cinema that was burned down three years ago.")
Character-wise, we see more of Cormac. I think Vaughn is setting up something special with him and his ghostly passenger; this is a good thing, because Cormac - no longer the gunslinger he was - is a bit a of fifth wheel at the moment. He needs a new role, and Cormac's bits indicate that Vaughn is going to give him (them?) one.
One thing I like about Kitty is that she is not like practically every other urban fantasy heroine. She is not some badass ass-kicker who can knock seven bells out of anyone who gets across her, without smudging her makeup. She's an ordinary woman caught in big events, doing her best to do right by the people who depend on her. She's got real courage - the kind of courage that means you don't back down from what you know to be right, even when you're scared. She's going up against beings that could rip her apart, and pretty much all she's got is a good line in fast talking and the ability to fake it really well. She'll fight, but only as a last resort. She might not be the kind of larger-than-life, flashy heroine we're used to, but she's very human.
Ben, her husband, is the kind of quiet, supportive partner that it's realistic for Kitty to have. Kitty's the more outgoing of the pair, but she'd be squashed by someone more 'rough and tough'. This series isn't about sex and lust and emotional upheaval, so if you're looking for bodice-ripper/chicklit disguised as urban fantasy, this is not the series for you. Kitty and Ben have a loving, stable relationship that sustains them for, not distracts them from, what they have to do.
All in all, this book has the feel of a book that is setting up something bigger further down the line.
On the bad side, this meant that there wasn't much in the way of suspense - it was mostly jockeying for position in the series events - and the villain du jour was a bit of a failure.
On the good side, it was an entertaining read, and Vaughn has moved some characters to where they need to be for the events of future books.
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on 29 November 2012
The Kitty books are a nice crossover series from YA to adult paranormal fantasy. More UF than PNR, the book follows Kitty's adventures in England/London with Cormac, Ben and a plethora of other supernatural beings attending a conference. A pleasant read but a little unsatisfying, the showdown was as little flat, as the was the setting. I felt London wasn't exploited enough (though might be because I am a British reader) and I was frustrated that Cormac (having finally got out of prison) kept wandering off round London 'off screen' without really achieving anything. Away from her home turf, Kitty's radio show, usually a highlight, also felt disappointing - lacking the normal comedic moments. If you like Kitty, you may like this. If you haven't come across her before try the first 3 books where Vaughn sets up her character and dilemma.
This is very much part of the Kitty series and I would not recommend new readers to start here. If you are a fan, however, I think that you will very much enjoy this instalment in Kitty's life.
Kitty has come to London to be a keynote speaker at a conference about the supernatural now that the world knows much more about them. All the way through the book people keep asking her what she is going to say in her speech and we see her trying to work out what is important. She also gets to meet some characters from previous books and to get involved with the supernatural community in London - Crmac's ghost also has unfinished business in the capital.
I do have to congratulate the author in that she has presented London as it is and not how it is usually represented in books written by Americans. Kitty doesn't meet the aristocracy and nor does she run into any other stereotype but the flavour of the historical London is part of the background to the story in a totally believable way.
Kitty is still obsessed with Roman the vampire and his worldwide conspiracy to destroy humankind. She is finding it difficult to know what to do and how to oppose him. He is not the only enemy she has but he is likely to be the last unless she does something. All the way through the story she is trying to pluck up courage to oppose Roman openly but she has the problem of not knowing who to trust and nor what the consequences will be.
I like this series of books a lot. They are an easy read but they are more thought provoking than they may appear on the surface with the author using the paranormal as a vehicle to look at how we handle difference and how to speak out against those who misuse power. This book works particularly well but it is obvious that the end is coming soon and that Kitty will be at the forefront of the war. I look forward to it