Book Reviews

Book Review: Kitty Takes a Holiday by Carrie Vaughn – The Story of a Werewolf and a Skin-Walker

This third book in Carrie Vaughn’s series on radio host turned werewolf Kitty Norville takes place a few months after the end of the second one. Vaughn manages to craft another unique story in the world Kitty inhabits that’s a cross between our world and the supernatural. Rather than feeling like the same story is being told over and over again, Vaughn manages to create an original story while furthering the recurring characters.  It’s something that’s often missing in many of the “chick-lit” female detective stories I read.

After being “outed” on national television, Kitty decides she needs time to herself.  With her radio show running a greatest hits montage and a contract to write a book, Kitty takes refuge in a cabin in the mountains of her native Colorado.  Not much is happening on the writing front, however, and Kitty has become somewhat listless in her seclusion.

That is, until strange things start happening.  The locals she encounters seem to have mixed reactions to her presence, but Kitty takes it in stride as usual.  Still, she’s a bit unnerved.  Something just doesn’t seem right.  Then Cormac, the werewolf hunter who was sent to kill her in the first book but has now become a friend, arrives at the cabin with Ben.  Ben is a lawyer and represents both Kitty and Cormac.  Ben was bitten by a werewolf while out on a case with Cormac and the only one he trusts to help is Kitty.

The story develops nicely.  There’s a bit of a mystery going on with what’s happening around Kitty’s cabin and what exactly happened to Ben and Cormac, but really it’s secondary to the interaction of the three recurring characters.  Kitty is struggling with her new identity after becoming a national celebrity and all that means, including someone who seems to be copying her radio show.  Cormac is used to being able to work just outside the law, but he is at a loss here.  He is hampered by his attachments to Ben and Kitty and what has happened/is happening to them.  Ben is transforming into something entirely different and feels as if he is losing a part of himself in the process, although it does bring him and Kitty closer together.  This, however, is also the cause of friction in the triangle.

I really enjoyed Kitty Takes a Holiday much more than I expected.  When I started the series, I felt it was good, but I also expected to get tired of the theme fairly quickly.  Vaughn has done a great job changing the direction of the characters and adding some great twists to the mix that will have ramifications down the road.  At the same time, she’s not in such outrageous territory that the narrative is outside the realm of possibility.  Vaughn also manages to add details to aspects of being a werewolf that would make it seem all too real.

The characters from the town are a bit cliché.  They work, though, to advance the central characters.  I liked the detail of a new type of werewolf that Kitty, Ben, and Cormac encounter here, as well as the use of black magic in a way that is not laughable, although it can be seen as somewhat humorous.  The sheriff seems to take a small incident with Cormac a little too personal for someone in authority, but that’s about my only plot-point quibble and it’s a small one.

Kitty Takes a Holiday is a great addition to this series.  It takes the characters in different directions.  I’m really eager to see what is going to happen down the road with them as a consequence of what took place in this book.  I’m hoping Vaughn can keep the stories as fresh and exciting as she has managed to here.

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

Next book in the series (link): Kitty and the Silver Bullet

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