[Review] KITTY AND THE MIDNIGHT HOUR by Carrie Vaughn

KITTY AND THE MIDNIGHT HOUR
Carrie Vaughn

Cover Copy: Kitty Norville is a midnight-shift DJ for a Denver radio station – and a werewolf in the closet. Her new late-night advice show for the supernaturally disadvantaged is a raging success, but it’s Kitty who can use some help. With one sexy werewolf-hunter and a few homicidal undead on her tail, Kitty may have bitten off more than she can chew?

My Thoughts: Kitty Norville takes a midnight shift as a radio show DJ and ends up getting calls from people claiming vampires and werewolves really exist. Kitty would know. She’s a werewolf, but that’s a part of here that’s kept secret from humans, just as all vampires and werewolves have always done. Until Kitty’s radio show. On air, she’s supportive of the supernaturals’ existence, though she doesn’t admit to being one herself. The next thing she knows she’s got real vampires and werewolves calling her for advice.

But someone is not happy about this. Could be someone in her pack. Could be one of the vampires. Whoever it is, they send a hitman after Kitty, and he has experience terminating werewolves and vampires. Kitty is forced to give up either the radio show or her life.

I love the premise of KITTY AND THE MIDNIGHT HOUR. I love that Kitty has a talk radio show for supernaturals. I even like that her job creates conflict for Kitty with other supernaturals. But something about Kitty’s personality bothers me. She gets power hungry. She turns into a glory hound. Her place in the pack is at the bottom, so she knows she shouldn’t be making these power plays, but she does them anyway. At times she makes some very unwise decisions. I suppose this could be character growth, but it’s not working for me, because it requires me to believe that someone presented as intelligent, university educated, would make stupid decisions. I understand she wants to keep the radio show, but at all costs? Against her Alpha? Even though someone is trying to kill her? Also, I could understand Kitty’s power challenges and defiance if we were presented an alpha character instead of the weak, bottom-dweller that Kitty is.

I could see Kitty backing away from the show and being encouraged to come back by her human co-workers. Maybe someone could bring her messages to her home. Maybe she could do the show by phone from a remote location. Maybe they could disguise her voice. But to openly continue to defy her Alpha just didn’t ring true for me– not for a wolf and not for a human.

Maybe I would have felt differently about this book if I’d read it closer to 2005 when it was published, but I don’t think so. I’m not liking it because of the character’s choices, and not because the worldbuilding isn’t fresh.

There’s not a lot of action in KITTY AND THE MIDNIGHT HOUR. There is some, as werewolves are known for fighting. But the emphasis on Vaughn’s novel seems to be more on social commentary. At times I felt like lycanthropy and vampirism were being presented as diseases akin to AIDS with a similar, fear-filled reaction from society. I also felt there was some commentaries on effective leadership and the functioning of the legal system.

If you’re looking for urban fantasy to give you some food for thought, KITTY AND THE MIDNIGHT HOUR is the book for you.

Rating: B+
Series: Kitty Norville, #1
Publisher: Grand Central Publishing, 2005
Acquired: purchase

Get it — Amazon CA | Amazon US | Chapters | Goodreads | Koboicon | Sony

Free Fiction Friday

Author of the Kitty Norville series, Carrie Vaughn has a short story “Peace In Our Time” available at Feedbooks.

Mary Robinette Kowal, award-winning SF/F author, has a bunch of stories available on-line or via download.

If you like your fantasy to swap spit with the horror genre, then check out Douglas Clegg. The author of Priest of Blood, gives you a new short story every month.

Award-winning fantasy author Robert McCammon has free stories available for reading.

Rare and acclaimed Doctor Who books are now available for free in e-book format.

Release Day x5

It’s a busy day with these 5 titles being released into the wild today:

The Last Vampire by Patricia Rosemoore and Marc Paoletti
Spawned of alchemy and blood, he was the last of a brutal, ancient line. Now he has just been reborn. Deep in a Texas cave, the military unearths a five-hundred-year-old corpse, its desiccated flesh teeming with mysterious DNA that can transform mortals into beings of unimaginable power. Captain Scott Boulder, leader of a Black Ops unit that has been endowed with these superhuman abilities, is among the first to benefit from the find. But when, with the help of a voodoo priestess, the creature is conjured to life, unleashing an ancient evil bent on reinstating its poisonous kind on earth, Scott knows he must return the monster to the grave. But this is no ordinary vampire. Once a brutal torturer in the Spanish Inquisition, it can bend the laws of science and magic in horrifying new ways. Powerless to fight this evil alone, Scott grudgingly seeks the aid of reclusive anthropologist Leah Maguire, an expert in the mystical rituals of the past. To keep humanity from entering a new Dark Age, Scott and Leah will battle unspeakable horrors and will sacrifice everything they hold dear–perhaps even their own humanity–to destroy the last vampire. [Amazon link]

Havemercy by Jaida Jones and Danielle Bennett
With [the city of] Volstov immersed in a scandal that may have international repercussions, the Ke-Han devise an ingenious plan of attack. To counter the threat, four ill-assorted heroes must converge to save the kingdom they love: an exiled magician, a naive country boy, a young student—and the unpredictable ace airman who flies the city’s fiercest dragon, Havemercy. [Amazon link]

Hotter Than Hell, anthology edited by Kim Harrison and Martin H. Greenburg
[Note: I tried to track down a list of authors in this collection, but I could only find an old list posted in 2007 by Marjorie M Liu: Kim Harrison, Tanya Huff, Carrie Vaughn, L. A. Banks, Susan Sizemore, Heidi Betts, Linda Winstead Jones, Lilith Saintcrow, Cheyenne McCray, Susan Krinard, Keri Arthur.] [Amazon link]

Confirmed Stories:
“Dirty Magic” by Kim Harrison
“Ride a Dark Horse” by Susan Krinard
“Life is the Teacher” by Carrie Vaughn
“To Die For” by Keri Arthur
“Demon Lover” by Cheyenne McCray
“Curse of the Dragon’s Tears” by Heidi Betts
“Moonlight Becomes You” by Linda Winstead Jones
“Brother’s Keeper” by Lilith Saintcrow

The Iron Hunt by Marjorie M Liu
Demon hunter Maxine Kiss wears her armor as tattoos, which unwind from her body to take on forms of their own at night. They stand between her and her enemies, just as Maxine stands between humanity and the demons breaking out from behind the prison veils. It is a life lacking in love, reveling in death, until one moment—and one man— changes everything. [Amazon link]

Night Shift by Lilith Saintcrow
Not everyone can take on the things that go bump in the night. Not everyone tries. But Jill Kismet is not just anyone. She’s a Hunter, trained by the best – and in over her head. Welcome to the night shift… [Amazon link]

New Stephenie Meyer Excerpt and Free Book Friday!

Don’t forget to check out the What is Your Favorite Element in Urban Fantasy Poll. Monday I’ll post the results and move on to the next phase which is the “Why” of it.

FROM THE EMAIL INBOX: An Entertainment Weekly preview of Stephenie Meyer’s Breaking Dawn.

AUTHORS

See screenshots from Gena Showalter’s Second LIfe Virtual Book Launch on the Harlequin Paranormal Romance blog.

Minnesota Women’s Press interviews Tate Hallaway.

BOOK REVIEWS

The Book Girl reviews Romancing the Dead by Tate Hallaway.

Antick Musings reviews Kitty and the Silver Bullet by Carrie Vaughn.

The Book Smugglers review Down Home Zombie Blues by Linnea Sinclair.

Ciaralira reviews Magic Bites by Ilona Andrews.

MentatJack reviews Blood Engines by T.A. Pratt. and Touch of Twilight by Vicki Pettersson.

Lisa Damian reviews The Host by Stephenie Meyer.

FREE BOOK FRIDAY

Fantasy Book Critic is giving away two signed ARCs of Ekaterina Sedia’s The Alchemy of Stone. Contest ends June 19.

Jocelynn Drake is having a Nightwalker giveaway complete with an ARC, mug and magnet. Go to her blog and comment before June 6.