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Kitty Norville is an "out" werewolf with a hit radio show... so it's not surprising that the next step is reality TV.

Unfortunately (for her), "Kitty's House of Horrors" quickly turns from a lighthearted satire on reality TV into a supernatural version of "And Then There Were None." Carrie Vaughn's seventh urban fantasy novel maintains her tongue-in-cheek approach to the genre, but it also takes her series into even darker waters -- there's a big nasty storm brewing, and Kitty is right in the middle of it.

Kitty is approached by a couple of Hollywood reps about "Supernatural Insider," a reality show about the newly-exposed supernatural. After she agrees, she ends up in a mountain lodge with a pair of psychics, a werewolf, a wereseal, two vampires, an annoying skeptic, and the magician Odysseus Grant. Unfortunately, Kitty soon begins to worry about the tensions stirred by the show... particularly since both Grant and the ancient vampire Anastasia suspect that this is somehow entwined with the vampiric Long Game.

Then the vampires' sidekick is found dead, the production crew is strangled, and someone is shooting silver crossbow bolts at anyone who tries to leave. Someone is apparently determined to kill off everybody participating in the reality show, and they've laid elaborate traps all around the lodge. And with no way to get off the mountain, Kitty and her motley band of uneasy allies must find a way to take out their enemies, or be picked off one by one.

"Kitty's House of Horrors" sounds like a pretty standard urban fantasy, except with an Agatha Christie twist. But Carrie Vaughn is picking up some darker plot threads -- the centuries-spanning Long Game, Roman, Anastasia, the prejudice against supernaturals -- and weaving them into a dark tapestry that will stretch into future books. So not only is it a solid fantasy/mystery, but clearly the beginnings of a much more complex, epic story.

And Vaughn does an excellent job with it -- at first there's a lot of tongue-in-cheek humor about reality TV and the contrived stuff they make up; Vaughn even has some fun with Kitty's phone calls, one from an Anita-Blake-style aggressive nympho and a teen vampire wannabe ("I have the innate sense of style and superiority! I feel the music of the night!"). But the tone shifts abruptly when the deaths start.

After that, it's all claustrophobic fear and mayhem, and as the whodunnit builds up to the Big Reveal and a harrowing woodland standoff, she packs the story with guns, booby-traps, bombs, and werewolf attacks. And Vaughn's writing is up to the task -- she has a brisk, steady style with lots of details, and some really beautiful little moments (such as Kitty communicating with a pack of wild wolves).

Kitty is her usual self in this book -- strong, kind, snarky and constantly balancing out her human self with her inner Wolf. The rest of the cast is pretty odd, but Vaughn handles them well, especially Anastasia and Gemma, a pair of vampires who still have very human emotions of loss. The best work is the less sympathetic characters -- Conrad initially seems like a whiny snotty skeptic, but Vaughn fleshes him out and makes you like him.

"Kitty's House of Horrors" serves as a solid whodunnit with lots of blood, bombs and claustrophobic fear, but it also paves the way for more epic stories to come. Nice piece of work.
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on 1 April 2010
Firstly I must admit to having a bit of a soft spot for Kitty. Out of all of the vampire/werewolf paranormal romance series going around right now she is one of the few characters who tries hard to reconcile her human and werewolf natures combined with some very supernatural problems. In this book Kitty is now a happily married werewolf, husband Ben is working on getting their friend Cormac out of jail. So as things are going well this is the logical time for Kitty to put herself in a Big Brother style cabin in the woods for a reailty tv show full of other supernatural stars. So if the mix of vampires, psychics, magicians and sceptics isn't enough when all the tv crew are found dead and there seems to be no escape from the woods Kitty realises they've stumbled into their own horror movie, one which intends to kill them all.

All the horror movie cliches are here and the first half of the book is very much a case of eploiting those and using it to good comic effect, however when things start to get nasty you do wonder where this will take the characters. One of the main aspects of this book is that you can guess quite easily whats going to happen - you just aren't sure how the characters will get out of it. Vaughn is excellent at writing conversations which give you everything you need to know about her characters - handy when Kitty is a radio host! This also means that while there is plenty of action in this novel its also the conversations between characters that are most revealing and lead the book forward.

If you've enjoyed other books in this series of are looking for a new series to start then I would recommend this one. Kitty has changed a lot from her first book where she was the weakest in a bullying pack. Now she is a public werewolf out of hiding, an Alpha with her own pack to defend and her own power to get used to. It makes the next book something to look forward to.
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on 12 October 2011
Wow, I didn't see this book coming - "Kitty's House of Horrors" is a pretty depressing instalment due to the sheer number of dead bodies, but it's also one of the best. It's jam-packed with action from practically the first chapter and doesn't let up until the last page.

Kitty is invited to participate in a reality TV show full of supernaturals. As Kitty is quite fond of the lime light and revels in publicity for her show, she agrees. When she enters the house, which is situated in a gorgeous cabin miles from anywhere, she meets the other contestants. I was wondering how the book would read without her love interest, but I didn't miss her Alpha mate one bit!

It was great to see a few characters return from previous books, such as Tina a psychic and paranormal investigator, who we first meet in 'Kitty Raises Hell'; Jeremy a TV psychic who Kitty works alongside in 'Kitty Goes To Washington'; Odysseus Grant a true magician who Kitty meets for the first time in 'Kitty and the Dead Man's Hand' during her trip to Las Vegas.

There were many others in the house too: Lee, a were-seal; Anastasia, Gemma and Damian, two vamps and their human servant; Jerome, a werewolf and pro wrestler; Ariel, Priestess of the Night, talk-radio show host; and last but not least, Conrad, a human and a disbeliever in all that is supernatural.

After the introductions everyone settles in. What I noticed more than any other novel is that Kitty likes to ask lots of questions of others, but when someone asks her a question she gets annoyed. I must admit that Kitty did irritate me a little in this instalment. She puts herself out there and then wonders why people think she's an expert, she roles her eyes and gets annoyed when people look to her, but always places herself in danger - she's in danger of becoming a martyr and I didn't really like seeing that side of her. However, with such great writing and fast-paced storyline, this was a small niggle I could handle.

After a few days Kitty begins to have suspicions about some of the other participants, beings to create conspiracy theories and one morning the contestants wake up to find that the producers and staff of the show have left, there's no electricity and the phones are dead. As Kitty leaves the cabin to try and find out what's going on, she finds the first body...

However, there was a big leap of faith on my part with regards to the believability of the plot. A house full of werewolves, vampires, magicians, psychics, were-seals (who can be surprisingly violent as it happens, and have very sharp teeth) are being hunted by three mortal men. Yes they have guns, silver bullets, explosives and silver tipped arrows, but surely the fast moving vamps with their hypnotic eyes could have snuffed them out in a matter of minutes?

Despite these few niggles I thoroughly enjoyed this instalment - it was a very entertaining and exciting read. This series seems to get better and better with each novel. I really appreciate Vaughn's easy writing style and punchy storylines and her characterisation is second to none.

VERDICT:

A great addition the the Kitty series and one of the best in my opinion. I can't wait to read the next book 'Kitty Goes To War', I have no doubt it will be a bumpy, but enjoyable ride.
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Reading two of Carrie Vaughn's Kitty Norville novels back to back made for some fun and entertaining reading! Especially at the beach, Kitty's adventures made for quick reads! I went through this one in no time, reading Kitty's House of Horrors to the sound of the crashing waves at Hat Khlong Dao beach on the island of Ko Lanta, Thailand.

Here's the blurb:

REALITY BITES

Talk radio host and werewolf Kitty Norville has agreed to appear on TV's first all-supernatural reality show. She's expecting cheesy competitions and manufactured drama starring shapeshifters, vampires, and psychics. But what begins as a publicity stunt will turn into a fight for her life.

The cast members, including Kitty, arrive at the remote mountain lodge where the show is set. As soon as filming starts, violence erupts and Kitty suspects that the show is a cover for a nefarious plot. Then the cameras stop rolling, cast members start dying, and Kitty realizes she and her monster housemates are ironically the ultimate prize in a very different game. Stranded with no power, no phones, and no way to know who can be trusted, she must find a way to defeat the evil closing in . . . before it kills them all.

I don't know if it's because Kitty's House of Horrors is the last Kitty installment to be published by Grand Central Publishing and Tor Books asker Carrie Vaughn to write some sort of "interlude" before resuming the series, but this one doesn't read quite like the others. It is good, mind you, but it does feel like a gap book of sorts.

Kitty's House of Horrors is a lot more self-contained than its predecessors. It features basically every aspect that made this series what it is, but it doesn't quite reveal much in the greater scheme of things. And since the last few books, especially Kitty and the Dead Man's Hand and Kitty Raises Hell offered glimpses of bigger and better things to come, it felt a bit odd to have what is more or less a side-story.

Having said that, Kitty's House of Horrors is nevertheless a novel that will appeal to any Carrie Vaughn fan. The premise of the reality show seemed a bit unoriginal at first, but the author has a number of surprises up her sleeve, and it turns out to be quite good. It's all about execution, and Vaughn handles everything beautifully.

With Ben being absent, it's all Kitty Norville in this one. And with her uncanny ability to turn a bad situation into worse, you know there will be fireworks. Bringing a number of secondary characters from earlier books was a nice touch, and it was cool to learn more about Tina and Odysseus Grant.

Overall, the way Vaughn moved the story in the last two volumes shows that there is a lot more here than meets the eye.
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on 6 April 2010
I love this series and i think this may be my favorite one so far. Its a bit like big brother meets Friday the 13th.
It starts straight into the story by introducing you to some new characters and some that you are already aquainted with. I enjoyed the fact that they put a non believer in with all the supernaturals, Conrad starts as a whiney non believer and then keeps missing the proof which is amusing.
The action then kicks in and i like who she has put the threat down to instead of going the easy way Carrie Vaughn has made it the start of a new direction that the series can go in with more characters. The ones that are left anyway after the smoke has blown over and we lose some i grew to like in the book.
Grant is further padded out as a shades of grey character that you are not sure whether to trust him or not even at the end.
I wont tell you the story but if you have enjoyed the previous books in the Kitty series you will most definately enjoy this one, i read it in one afternoon.
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VINE VOICEon 27 March 2010
Ok this was an improvement on the last one. Not much Ben in it and not much Cormac either though he's there in spirit lol. Storyline wasn't bad, a cross between Agatha Christie's And then there were none, and some kind of horror movie like Scream, with a few what you shouldn't do in a horror movie jokes thrown in. There were also some characters from previous books including the magician Grant, the two psychics, the other radio show hostess and some newbies. I am now looking forward to Kitty Goes to War Kitty Goes to War
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on 16 February 2011
Absolutely flippin marvelous! I loved it. It was so action packed that my heart was racing. I couldn't put it down. A group of supernaturals stuck in a remote ranch being hunted was like a horror story gone wrong. It was creepy, scary and exhilarating. Kitty was witty and wild as usual. I liked that characters from other books came back and we got to meet some new players in the long game too. This book left me with both a sad lump in my throat and a happy one. This series just gets better and better.
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on 7 March 2010
Having read and enjoyed the other books in this series I bought this one despite feeling that the premise was a bit weak. However, I did enjoy it and it wasn't as predictable as I'd feared it might be. I don't think that it is the best in the series but it is worth reading.
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on 18 May 2016
Much more to my liking and largely back on form as a work of pure escapism ... with the addition of suspense and plenty of action ... was Kitty's House Of Horrors.

A novel which sees Kitty, radio host come reality tv star, in a remote location along with, amongst other 'super naturals', a .... wait for it .... were-seal.

Not an easy 'were character' to pull off but, neither a series that takes itself too seriously nor one that makes light of its characters to the point were you can't believe in them, Vaughn does so with aplomb in an episode that right up until the final chapters will have you wondering just who will escape with their lives in what I thought of as a take on Agatha Christie's 'And Then There Were None'.

Copyright: Tracy Terry @ Pen and Paper
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on 12 March 2010
An absoloutly brilliant book by a brilliant author. This latest Kitty book is definatly one of the best in the series. Thanks to Amazon.co.uk I recieved and read this book before it was available in any of my local shops for alot less, plus it was dispatched quickly and easily.
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