Book Reviews

Book Review: Kitty Goes to Washington by Carrie Vaughn – Outing the Werewolf and Vampire Community

When I first started looking for books on my Kindle Fire, I came across a series by Carrie Vaughn that seemed intriguing.  The lead character is Kitty Norville.  She hosts a late-night radio show and decides one night to open up the lines to allow people to talk about the supernatural.  The kicker is that Kitty herself happens to be a werewolf.  Her show brings the existence of vampires and werewolves out into the open, where it had been shrouded in secrecy and mystery for centuries.  This doesn’t gain her any friends.

Kitty Goes to Washington builds on the story from the first book, Kitty and the Midnight Hour.  Kitty has left Denver and is striking out on her own, away from the comfort of the pack to protect her but also away from the politics and jockeying for control that took place.  Each week she’s in a different city hosting her show and then she moves on.

All that changes when an ultra-religious Senator decides to hold hearings looking into the existence of vampires and werewolves and the funding of a government agency that’s been studying them.  She’s called to testify along with a colorful cast of characters that includes a traveling preacher who claims he can cure vampires and werewolves, a John-Edward-like medium, and Dr. Flemming, who’s been conducting all of the studies.

Her lawyer, Ben, joins her in Washington, but before she can meet him at the hotel, Kitty is waylaid by Alette.  She’s the vampire mistress of Washington and exerts a strong but subtle influence in the city.  Alette wants Kitty to stay with her, ostensibly to protect her.  As always, Kitty bristles when someone tries to tell her what to do, and we’re not really sure if Alette has underlying motives.  In addition, the full moon is looming shortly and Kitty has no choice but to change on that night.

The story is interesting, but I felt like too much was done in one book.  In addition to the hearings, Kitty deals with learning about the werewolves and vampires in Washington and finding out that all of them do not live the way she experienced while living in Denver.  Other creatures are introduced, such as lycanthropes who transform into were-jaguars.  There’s discovering the reality behind the preacher’s so-called “cures” and dealing with that, as well as the hearings at the center of the story and what is really behind all of it.

I have said this series reminds me of Janet Evanovich’s Stephanie Plum series albeit with supernatural overtones.  The vampire hunter Cormac reminds me of Ranger, and Kitty is like Stephanie as the central character who never listens to anyone and always seems to get in over her head.  I can’t say that the second book makes me deviate from that assumption, but that also doesn’t mean it isn’t enjoyable.  The characters are interesting and fun.  I particularly liked the were-creatures and vampires in Washington as they added more dimensions to this supernatural world.

The best thing about Kitty Goes to Washington is the development of the characters.  Kitty grows in her comfort level as a werewolf and her independence from her pack.  She’s turning into her own person quite nicely and it will be interesting to see where more books in the series take her.  Ben and Cormac develop nicely as her protectors and at the end of Kitty Goes to Washington there are fewer questions as to Cormac’s motives where she’s concerned.  It would be nice to see more in the future from some of the people she encounters here, such as the supernatural community in Washington as well as the psychic.  I have a feeling we might not have heard the last from several of the nefarious characters, either, especially the Reverend.

Kitty Goes to Washington isn’t deep, although at times it seems like it wants to be.  I think Vaughn intended for the “outing” of Kitty as well as vampires and lycanthropes in general to be akin to the outing of gays, but it just never reaches that level of seriousness.  It’s a fun, light read that won’t take too long.  It does seem a bit crowded, but it works for the most part.  I would definitely start this series from the beginning since there are a lot of backstories that are built on here.


Previous book in the series (link): Kitty and the Midnight Hour


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