Book Reviews

Book Review: Kitty and the Midnight Hour by Carrie Vaughn – Stephanie Plum Meets Twilight

The first book in any series can sometimes be iffy. Sometimes there are problems with information dumps. Sometimes characters are totally different in the first book than they are in later books in the series. Sometimes, the story misses the mark, but manages to intrigue you enough that you continue the series. That last one is the case with the first book in Carrie Vaughn’s series about Kitty Norville.

Kitty Norville is a late-night DJ in Denver guarding a secret: she’s a werewolf.  One night she’s a bit bored with the canned lines in between her music and she invites callers to call in and talk about the supernatural.  The first few shows are about what you’d expect, but Kitty soon finds herself revealing more and more of her true nature.  Her bringing the topic to the forefront brings her popularity, ratings, and money, but it also brings down the wrath of the local vampire family as well as those in her own pack.

Cormac is a local supernatural bounty hunter who’s sent to silence Kitty.  She ends up talking him out of it and into helping her find out just who’s behind the hit.  There’s also a werewolf serial killer on the loose and the local police turn to Kitty for help.

As I read Kitty and the Midnight Hour, all I kept thinking of was how much it seemed like a supernatural version of the Stephanie Plum novels by Janet Evanovich with the supernatural thrown in.  Kitty resembles Stephanie quite a bit and Cormac reads just like Ranger for those of you familiar with those stories.

I had mixed feelings about the book. On one hand, it was a light, fun read. On the other, I got annoyed more than a few times with how light-weight it seemed.  Kitty comes off as weak at the beginning of the book and her strength and sense of independence build throughout.  I could see the strong side of her but couldn’t usually buy into the weak side. It just didn’t seem to fit her.  The politics of a werewolf pack was interesting as she attempts to grow from the weakling cub and newest member to find a place higher up in terms of strength. 

The storytelling was good, although not great. I don’t know if Vaughn was going for shock value, but I grew tired of hearing about Kitty tossing off her bra every time she changed into a werewolf.  Really, once or twice to drive the point home was fine, after that it became gratuitous.  Her descriptions of what it felt like to be Kitty with the wolf inside her bleeding through at times were really good and make the other moments excusable.  Vaughn also does a good job painting how the werewolves and vampires interact and share territory, as well as the mutual respect that goes on between the two groups.

There are other issues set up for future books (there are sixteen in this series right now), such as the traveling preacher who allegedly cures vampires and werewolves as well as the secret government agency that’s been studying them.  Vaughn has a good start to the series that was good enough to leave me interested in reading more about Kitty but I thought there was room for improvement.  Hopefully, that will come to fruition down the line.

At least the vampires didn’t sparkle.

Next book in the series (link): Kitty Goes to Washington

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