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Friday, November 6, 2009

'Kitty Norville' series by Carrie VAUGHN

Kitty and the Midnight Hour – from the BLURB:

VAMPIRES. WEREWOLVES. TALK RADIO. Kitty Norville is a midnight-shift DJ for a Denver radio station--and a werewolf in the closet. Sick of lame song requests, she accidentally starts "The Midnight Hour," a late-night advice show for the supernaturally disadvantaged. After desperate vampires, werewolves, and witches across the country begin calling in to share their woes, her new show 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…

One of the reasons I love this series so much is Vaughn’s fabulous character development. Over the course of six books Kitty has a complete personality overhaul, and it is a fascinating transformation to read. In the first book Kitty is living in a very bad situation – she is the runt of her werewolf pack, and subject to the carnal whims of her Alpha and constant battering by the werewolf who bit and changed her. Over the course of five books Kitty finds her moral centre and the courage to become a lone wolf and eventually her own Alpha. I can safely say that in every book Kitty reveals new facets of her personality, and the events in each new novel subtly alter Kitty’s perceptions and character. I, for one, hate it when characters stagnate and authors stubbornly refuse to let their beloved hero’s/heroine’s experience a personality renovation – it’s especially frustrating when those protagonists keep repeating the same mistakes, making the same choices as though the events of the past have had no impact on them (Anita Blake, I’m talking to you!).

Kitty Norville is a fantastic protagonist – mostly because she is flawed. In the first book she is very weak, she has outbursts of independence, but for the most part she plays doormat to the dominants in her pack. It is inspiring when Kitty finally stands up to her Alpha and exerts her own dominance. But what’s even better than Kitty discovering the depths of bravery is the fact that it doesn’t come easily for her. It’s not as though she wakes up one day and decides to grow a spine. Kitty struggles with the task she has set for herself, and she constantly battles moments of self-doubt. She is a fantastic protagonist because she is imperfect and entirely relatable. I especially loved the fact that Kitty doesn’t get saved by a knight in shining armour; she finds her own salvation.

I also love this series because of the slow-burn romance. Kitty fans are segregated into two camps – there are those who are rooting for werewolf hunter Cormac to end up with our favourite radio DJ. And then there are those who hope for a happy ending with Cormac’s lawyer and cousin, Ben. Cormac and Ben each started out in the series as secondary characters – as readers we witness Kitty’s first meeting the cousins and it is has been very interesting to read as Vaughn slowly inserted the two men into Kitty’s life and gave them a bigger role in the series.

The good news is that Kitty Norville will be around for a little while longer. Vaughn recently posted on her blog that she is contracted for 4 more Kitty books, meaning the series will end with a total of 10 books. It’s sad to know that one of my favourite series has a definite end in sight, but Vaughn mentioned in the same post that she knows how the series will end (apparently it’s going to be a doozy!). There is comfort in the fact that Carrie Vaughn isn’t blindly stumbling around her series; she knows its trajectory and the next 4 books will no doubt be an elaborate set-up for the conclusion. The 7th book in the series, “Kitty’s House of Horrors”, comes out January 4th 2010.

The front covers have a certain trash-factor and the kitschy series titles are reminiscent of the Ernest movies (‘Ernest goes to camp’ – ‘Kitty takes a holiday’). Don’t let these things put you off. This is a worthwhile series and if you love your Urban Fantasy you really need to add the Kitty Norville books to your TBR pile.

5/5




2 comments:

  1. This is one of my favorite series - for all the reasons you listed.

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  2. Danielle,

    Very nice post. I'll be honest - in the beginning Kitty was just too submissive for me. I kept thinking - you're a shifter, you should be tough.

    I am glad I stuck with the series because Kitty has toughened up and now this is one of my favorites. :)

    M

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